11 Books Strong, Independent Women Should Read

You’re an independent, badass woman. You take on the world on your own terms and live life fearlessly—at least that’s what you try to do. Sometimes even the most self-assured, confident women can use a pick-me-up or a little motivation and books are the perfect tool for that. Here are 11 books that every independent woman should have on her bookshelf or e-reader:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

Shonda Rhimes, of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fame, spent one year saying yes to every opportunity that came her way. The year was transformative, leading her out of her comfort zone and improving her career, family life, and self-esteem. If you’re looking for inspiration to fully embrace your badass self, read this one.

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson.

Maggie Nelson waxes on motherhood and identity in this book. She shatters stereotypes and makes you rethink everything you assume about gender and parenting. It’s eye-opening even if you never plan on having kids of your own.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

Sensual poetry about life and love. Rupi Kaur’s poetry will make you feel and help you face up to the good and the bad about life as an independent woman. You may have already seen her unique poetry and illustrations going around social media

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein.

Rock star and comedian Carrie Brownstein is an independent woman through and through. This memoir deals with her time in the punk/DIY scene and the huge success of her band Sleater-Kinney. Brownstein tackles sexism, mental illness, success, and failure in a hugely relatable way.

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson.

Sarah Anderson is another one that you’ve probably seen online already. Her comics show the humor in everyday situations from shaving your legs to relationship insecurity. Because even as an independent woman proving yourself to the world, it is important to occasionally have a laugh and not take yourself too seriously.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

Is everything you enjoy problematic in some way? Sometimes it feels impossible to be a good feminist while also enjoying pop culture in the modern world. Roxane Gay takes that feeling to task in this collection of essays. Read this if you’re feeling like your love of Supernatural is keeping you from joining the ranks of “Good Feminists.”

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.

Cheryl Strayed is best known for her memoir Wild, but she also runs the Dear Sugar advice column. This is essentially a Dear Sugar greatest hits collection. Strayed answers questions on life, love, and loss with a mix of deep empathy and tough love.

Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros.

Cisneros’s raw poetry touches on more taboo topics like infidelity and sex. While they might not be pretty ideas, they are things you’ll have to deal with in your life so you might as well see what another badass woman has to say about them before you have to.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.

You probably know Mindy Kaling from binge-watching The Office or The Mindy Project. She’s hysterically funny and reading this essay collection feels catching up with an old friend. Kaling talks about college and the start of her career with honesty and humor that will make you feel better about your own current career situation, regardless of what that might be.

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July.

Miranda July is weird, but she embraces that fact like the strong, independent woman she is. The short stories in this collection are unsettling and sometimes profound, giving you a glimpse into the wild mind of a creative soul. Plus their short length makes them perfect for dipping in and out of throughout the day or just before bed, motivating you to take on whatever creative task you’re dreaming of.

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock.

Transgender activist Janet Mock tells her story with breathtaking honesty. She doesn’t try to hide or polish anything in her past as she comes of age and discovers her true gender identity. Read this to gain some courage from a truly independent woman.

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