My Top Ten Recent Reads

March 14, 2018

By: Burgundy MacLeod, MA Student

As grad students, we are all constantly reading and researching for the classes we are taking or the project we are currently working on. This means that reading for pleasure takes a back seat. During the semesters, I always find time to stop at my local book store and buy a few books here and there. These are the books I save up to read, “as a treat” to myself to enjoy during the breaks in between. As a GSWS student, I always find myself going back to books on queer, feminist or LGBTQ+. I have composed for you, my top 10 books that I have recently read. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I have! These are in no particular order and I would also like to take this time to offer a content warning for several of the books. Some of these books deal with sensitive topics such as disordered eating, relationships with food, sexual assault, body dysmorphia, violence, drug use and mental health.


1)    Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright

·       iO Tillett Wright is an artist, activist, actor, speaker, TV host and writer. iO’s book is an examination of culture and identity coming of age in the 1990s of New York City; dealing with poverty, drugs and art.

2)    Hunger by Roxane Gay

·       Roxane Gay is a New York Times bestselling author. In this book, she writes about her relationship to food and intimate relationships that have forged from her struggles with food. Through these relationships she discusses anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance and health.

3)    Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

·       This is a collection of short stories in which women of vast backgrounds tell their tales of hardships, poverty, privilege, love and human connections.

4)    Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

·       Jessica Valenti is a columnist for the Guardian US. In this memoir, Valenti describes her funny, painful and embarrassing upbringing in New York City. As one of the most well-known feminists throughout the USA, she has been on the forefront of discussions surrounding gender and politics for almost a decade. This memoir reveals a Valenti that is not as confident as she is known for today.

5)    Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote

·       Ivan is best known for their storytelling and ten previous books. This book is a trailblazing memoir told in short stories about how Ivan learned to embrace their identity while also carving out a path for those who do not fit into heteronormative boxes, labels or identities.

6)    Witches, Sluts and Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollee

·       This book uses derogatory words used towards women and reclaims them; especially pointed toward millennial women as they deal with a history of misogyny. The book discusses sexual liberation through the lineage of ‘witch feminism’ through art, film, music, fashion, literature, technology, religion, pop culture, and politics.

7)    Release by Patrick Ness

·       This is a nonfiction book inspired by Forever by Judy Blume and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. It is about a boy who is coming to terms with this own release through coming of age with relationships and self-acceptance.

8)    You Only Live Twice: Sex, Death and Transition by Chase Joynt and Mike Hoolboom

·       This book is in conversation back and forth between both Joynt and Hoolboom. Both artists explore and discuss their lives before and after transitions: from female to male and near-dead to alive.

9)    Even this Page is White by Vivek Shraya

·       Vivek is a writer, musician, performance artist, and a filmmaker. This collection is her debut of poetry in which she discusses and breaks down the barriers of what it means to be racialized; her words make racism visible and undeniable.

10)  Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed

·       Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer, scholar and activist. In this book, Ahmed discusses how feminist theory is produced through every day life and experiences of being a feminist at home and work. Ahmed builds this book on theories produced by feminist scholars of colour.