We all lead busy lives, and it's easy to get caught up in work, family, and other commitments. We strive to be successful in every facet of our lives, and as women, we are often (unfairly) judged and expected to excel in every one of them.
Every week I try to set aside some time to turn off my phone and relax with a good book. In 2018, I have resolved to focus more on female works. These books were written by incredible authors and largely speak to female audiences. Although they use different voices and styles, they all have one common theme: they seek to inspire and empower their readers.
Whether you need a little pick me up, want to reinvent your life, or just need to be inspired, here is a list of reads that I hope will motivate you.
The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
Naomi Wolf details how the social pressures of physical beauty for women have increased as they have broken down other social barriers. The often unrealistic standards women are held to are used to punish them for their failure to achieve them. But as Wolf points out, we need to stop “debating the symptoms more passionately than the disease.” The core issue Wolf discusses is the judgement of women and the lack of choice. Although the book was written almost 30 years ago, its message still hold true today. She argues that whether or not a woman chooses to adhere to popular beauty standards is not important, but what is important is that all women find a way to feel beautiful regardless of public and media standards.
The common phrase "never meet your heroes" does not apply to Tina Fey's autobiographical comedy. The book, which reads like a collection of essays, is a reminder of why Fey has been so successful in a male dominated industry. She is insightful, professional, and funnier than everyone else.
Fey tells her story from a nerdy girl who loved theater camp all the way to her SNL and 30 Rock fame. Bossypants features the same rapid fire pace of jokes featured on 30 Rock, but also details with great honesty her accomplishments and failures. She uses her usual intelligent yet effortless style to deliver a sharp critique of the obstacles she has faced, such as the many sexist and misogynistic views in the entertainment and comedy worlds.
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Written by Elizabeth Gilbert, this memoir chronicles her post divorce travels as she seeks to find herself. Seemingly having it all, Gilbert was still unhappy and needed more. She spent the year abroad, traveling to different countries to find finsih
The New York Times described Gilbert's piece as "fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible." If you’re unhappy with facets of your life, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and search for true happiness.
Searching for more of a classic? Look no further than this semi-autobiographical novel by Louisa May Alcott. Although it was written almost 150 years ago, it still stands the test of time. The theme of family is woven intricately through the story, and the four sisters lean heavily on each other as they deal with life’s tribulations. While it is common in modern literature to have female centric storylines and strong characters, this wasn’t the case in Alcott’s time.
Ariana Huffington takes a deep look of what success is defined as in modern society in this piece. Huffington (who is the co-founder of The Huffington Post) is seemingly the pinnacle of accomplishment with her many successful endeavors. Her book, however, focuses on the struggles behind the scenes to juggle both her career and her role as a mother. She makes her readers take a step back and reevaluate their own lifestyles and pushes them to focus not only on money and power. She argues that to be well rounded and happy, we also need to foster a healthy well being to truly thrive.
Part of being empowered is knowing when to break the rules! So here’s my sixth recommendation, because you can never surround yourself with too many sources of inspiration.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
Feeling a little fiesty? Jen Sincero writes a how-to guide that is anything but common. In her refreshing and inspiring collection of advice, she pushes readers to identify and cease self sabotaging behaviors. Her words challenge you to create a life you love, and to do it starting right now. It’s a motivational read, but Sincero isn't afraid to have some fun along the way. The chapters -- 27 of them total -- are short and sweet. She will have you ready to go out and conquer life by the end with such quotes as “while there are countless ways that we rip ourselves off, there’s one way in particular that is, without a doubt, the most rampant and the most devastating of all: we invest everything we’ve got in believing that we’re not good enough.”
Are any of these books on your list for 2018?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maddie started her career in advertising sales and client management. Now she is using that experience to help small businesses grow through their social media presence and online content. When she isn’t thinking about how to revolutionize each client’s brand strategy, you can find her playing with her two kids, cuddling with her dogs, or taking long walks down the aisles of Target.