It is not news that women and their contributions in all areas of study have been invisible throughout history; for female writers the experience is no different.
Throughout my student career, most of the content had an author and it was not until university that I had my first encounter with a text signed by a woman. This fact made me reflect on the invisibility of women writers, and from then until now, I promised myself to read as many women as possible.
Here are some of the readings that I recommend for the goal of books read during 2023:
Reserve bitches, Dahlia de la Cerda
A book that feels, that hurts, that touches the depths. Each chapter is a first-person story and it is impossible not to identify more than once with the protagonists. Thus, as in a horror film, women in Mexico in various situations are affected by the only constant: violence.
In barely 144 pages, Dahlia de la Cerda finds a way to give voice ––without revictimizing, without exposing and without stigmatizing–– to the protagonists, who, although fictitious, reflect the experience of many women.
Reserve Bitches is a heartbreaking portrayal, but one that is honest, fair and much needed in a country where a woman is violently murdered every two and a half hours.
“Mexico is a huge monster that devours women. Mexico is a desert made of bone dust. Mexico is a cemetery of pink crosses. Mexico is a country that hates women”, says the last story of Perras de Reserva.
Circe, Madeline Miller
A classic of Greek mythology, a story that we know, but that no one had told us so well. Circe, the daughter of Helios and Perseis, exiled and unpleasant, but reborn through the power of her, a sorceress goddess.
The novel brings to life a story that we already know the ending to, but the author makes it feel unexpected and modern. The feminist perspective with which she is written, moreover, does not distort the original story, but rather highlights details that had been overlooked.
“Above the constellations descend and rotate. My divinity shines in me like the last rays of the sun before sinking into the sea. I used to think that the gods are the opposite of death, but now I see that they are more dead than anything, since they are immutable and cannot take anything into their hands”, says Circe.
The heiresses, Aixa de la Cruz
In 323 pages, the author manages to make an intense and harsh criticism of the privatization of mental health, intertwining motherhood, precariousness, sexual violence and the different reactions to the suicide of someone close. It is a novel that gives voice and simplicity to one of the greatest complexities: human relationships.
Grandma Carmen commits suicide and leaves her house, in a town far from everything, to her four granddaughters: one of them experienced a traumatic episode there and all she wants is to sell it. Her sister sees possibilities of exploiting her for natural therapies. And her two cousins are a cardiologist who wants to understand why her grandmother took her own life and a journalist with precarious jobs who wants to give the house another use.
From diverse experiences and perspectives, the author revalues each story and shows how social and work pressures hit people’s mental health and everything goes unnoticed.
Everything I need is already in me, Rupi Kaur
This text is not just text, it looks more like someone’s diary, where you write but also draw and move the pencil creating other things that have no shape or name. But he never feels alien. It is a book that embraces you.
A hug for those who need to believe in themselves, for those who have forgotten how to do it or for those who already do it. It is particularly special for female readers because of the author’s feminine perspective and her social and sexual experiences as a woman.
From affective relationships, pleasure and violence, this book, short and fast, is read and felt.
“I’m too in love with my life to waste it on the next man to give me butterflies, when I could look in the mirror and take my breath away,” says the poet.
Cautery, Lucia Lijtmaer
This novel tells the story of two women at different times in history. A girl from Barcelona going through a break up and a 17th century British woman who is forced to migrate to the American continent carrying a secret. The reading rhythm gives you answers about each one of the stories, which are intertwined by the author and which have a lot in common even if it is not apparent.
From a feminist perspective, the novel reveals the problems that have accompanied women since ancient times and that have not been resolved. And it portrays the way in which the paths of women are traced by circumstances and the impossibility that we are the ones who trace them, but we also fight for that.
“For a long time I just wanted to kill myself”, is the entry of the book that, although it never ceases to be crude, is always addictive.
I’m missing a boob, Raquel Haro
The title track is obvious, but never unnecessary: Women who go down the road to breast cancer may lose a boob, but there’s so much more to it than that. In her own flesh, the author recounts the emotions and personal experiences that arise from the cancer diagnosis.
A text that speaks of resilience and dignity, a helping hand for the thousands of women in the world who have received this diagnosis and a high dose of empathy and respect for the rest. It portrays personal experiences on sexuality and transformation of the body and what support, family and mourning implies when cancer is present.
It is a soft book, which talks about one of the most heartbreaking situations a person can experience, but at the same time it is always fun.
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