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The First Friday Book Chat is our book club without a book. Every month, members gather to talk about what they’re reading lately, what they’d recommend, and what they want to read.

At this month’s chat, a member asked for our best recommendations for Women’s History Month and wow, that got the conversation going. In addition to the actual history books about women people suggested, we rounded up a list of books about women being difficult, refusing to act within the boundaries set by society for women.

And of course, we went down a few other rabbit holes, as readers tend to do. Here’s all the book recommendations that came from our conversation.

Books for Women’s History Month

  • Migrations, Charlotte McConaghy (fiction)
  • Three Mothers, Anna Malaika Tubbs — nonfiction about the mothers of MLK, James Baldwin and Malcolm X
  • The Agitators, Dorothy Wickenden — joint bio of Harriet Tubman and two other abolitionist women
  • The Power of Lift, Melissa Gates
  • Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray, Rosalind Rosenberg

Books about Difficult Women

  • My Cousin Rachel, Daphne DuMaurier
  • The School for Good Mothers, Jessamine Chan
  • The Push, Ashley Audrain
  • I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, Claire Vaye Watkins
  • The Need, Helen Phillips — maybe inspired by her story, The Doppelgangers, in Some Possible Solutions
  • Nightbitch, Rachel Yoder
  • The Lost Daughter, Elena Ferrante
  • Vladimir, Julia May Jonas

New This Spring

  • Groundskeeping, Lee Cole — out now! set in Louisville
  • Stepping Back From The Ledge, Laura Trujillo — available April 19th; Trujillo will deliver the Memoir Lecture on April 26
  • Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel — available April 5; The Mercantile makes a cameo!

Short Books

  • Montana 1948, Larry Watson
  • The Ghost Writer, Philip Roth
  • Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin
  • Whereabouts, Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  • 84 Charing Cross Road, Helen Hanff

Book We Just Love

  • All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  • The Maid, Nita Prose
  • Zorrie, Laird Hunt
  • The Last Days of Summer, Steve Kluger — charming!
  • Born A Crime, Trevor Noah
  • Anxious People, Fredrik Backman
  • 44 Scotland St. series, Alexander McCall Smith
  • Black Bottom Saints, Alice Randall
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Talia Hibbert — steamy romance
  • The Last Bus to Wisdom, Ivan Doig
  • English Creek, Doig
  • This House of Sky, Doig
  • Song Yet Sung, James McBride
  • The Color of Water, McBride

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