Bookshelf: Books That Have Made Me Cry Recently (Lenten Post #2)

I was toying with the title of this post. While all the books I list here have made me ugly-cry, they are also all by women, and in some way they all deal with the unique challenges of womanhood. They do so beautifully and I cry a lot, okay, hence the title.  Go ahead and count this as my reading list in honor of International Women’s Day as well, though.

this is how I spent International Women’s Day

Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World by Amy L. Peterson Peterson tells the story of her year as an English teacher and missionary in a closed country in Southeast Asia, which ended with her visa being revoked and her friends being questioned by the police. It’s a reflection on the evolution of American missions, on faith, and on healthy cross-cultural interactions. I highlighted something pretty much every chapter.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay Honestly, if you’re not reading Roxane Gay yet, what are you doing? These essays range from pop culture critiques to literary criticism to personal narratives and they are all so. good.

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson That girl from Matilda wrote a memoir. Actually, it’s more of a collection of essays about growing up, accidental and fleeting fame, and figuring out your place in the world. One essay, about Mara being diagnosed with OCD, made me cry ALL THE TEARS.

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison This collection of essays examines the place of pain and empathy in our culture, and it’s beautiful and heartbreaking and fascinating.

Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe A teenage girl has a psychotic break, and her semi-absent father decides to take her on a trip to Lithuania to learn about his grandmother’s home and their shared roots. This novel is a coming-of-age tale with a twist. It deals with mental illness, messy family dynamics, and a surprising amount of Lithuanian history. Rufi Thorpe also wrote The Girl From Corona del Mar, which you should also read.

What I’ve Been Reading Around the Internet

Women in Power | Mary Beard on women, power, and Greek myths

Anxiety for Highly Productive People | Laura Turner’s new column on anxiety and productivity

Perdition Days: On Experiencing Psychosis | Esme Weijun Wang from when The Toast was still running, RIP

Life and Breath: On Pregnancy and the Spirit World | Elisabeth Fairfield Stokes on witnessing death and creating new life


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