The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Your reading list for Women’s History Month


March is a time to honor the achievements, struggles, and resilience of the women in our lives, from our mothers and grandmothers to our sisters, friends, and mentors. And what better way to commemorate this occasion than by delving into the rich literary landscape that celebrates womanhood in all its complexity.

In the pages of these books, we encounter women from all walks of life—bold adventurers, brilliant thinkers, fierce leaders, and everyday heroines whose stories show the depth of the female experience. 

So here’s to embracing our stories, our voices, and our collective strength, because, truly, I just love being a woman. Together, let’s celebrate the past, present, and future of womanhood, and continue to write our own stories of resilience, empowerment, and sisterhood.


“The Doctors Blackwell” by Janice P. Nimura 

A biography about Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell shattered societal norms by becoming pioneering physicians in a male-dominated field. Despite facing initial resistance, Elizabeth became the first woman in America to earn an M.D., with Emily following suit shortly after. Their journey, marked by challenges and triumphs, led to the founding of the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children. Although their convictions sometimes clashed, their legacy paved the way for future generations of women in medicine.


“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor

A biography of the first Hispanic and third woman in the U.S. Supreme Court shares her inspiring journey from a Bronx housing project to the pinnacle of the legal profession. Despite a tumultuous childhood and a diabetes diagnosis, she persevered, teaching herself to administer insulin and pursuing her dream of becoming a lawyer. With determination and the support of mentors, she excelled academically and professionally, ultimately achieving her goal of serving on the federal bench. Her story, marked by resilience and self-discovery, reaffirms the power of believing in oneself and embracing life’s infinite possibilities.


Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly

This biography unveils the untold story of African American female mathematicians who were instrumental in NASA’s space program during the civil rights era. Segregated from their white counterparts, these talented women, known as ‘Human Computers’, calculated the crucial flight paths for historic space missions using only pencil and paper. Spanning from World War II to the civil rights movement, the book intertwines the history of space exploration with the personal narratives of five courageous women whose contributions reshaped.


“Daughter of the Moon Goddess” by Sue Lynn Tan

In this fantasy novel Xingyin, raised in solitude on the moon, discovers her hidden magical abilities and flees to the Celestial Kingdom to save her exiled mother. Disguised, she learns alongside the emperor’s son, even as their passion grows. To rescue her mother, she embarks on a dangerous quest, facing legendary creatures and enemies. However, when forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must confront the ruthless Celestial Emperor, risking all she loves. “Daughter of the Moon Goddess” is a captivating fantasy debut inspired by Chinese mythology, blending adventure, romance, and immortal power struggles.


“The Poppy War” by R. F. Kuang

In a gripping historical military fantasy set in a world inspired by China’s turbulent 20th century, Rin defies all odds by acing the Empire-wide test, earning a place at the prestigious Sinegard military school. But her triumph comes with challenges; as a dark-skinned peasant girl, she faces discrimination and hostility from her peers. Yet, Rin discovers a formidable power within herself—shamanism. As tensions rise between the Nikara Empire and the Federation of Mugen, Rin realizes her abilities may hold the key to saving her people. However, delving deeper into her powers comes with a price, and Rin grapples with the fear of losing her humanity. This is a thrilling tale of resilience, power, and sacrifice, where Rin’s journey to harness her abilities may determine the fate of nations.


“Kaikeyi” by Vaishnavi Patel

Kaikeyi, born under a full moon in the kingdom of Kekaya, faces the harsh reality of her worth being tied to marriage alliances. Desperate for independence, she discovers her own magic and transforms from an overlooked princess into a powerful queen. As evil threatens the cosmic order, Kaikeyi must choose between her forged path and the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. It’s an unforgettable tale of a woman defying expectations in a world dictated by gods and men, offering a fresh perspective on the vilified queen from the Ramayana.


“This Bridge Called My Back” by Cherrie L Moraga, Gloria E. Anzaldua and Toni Bambara 

This collection stands as a testament to women of color feminism in the late twentieth century. Through essays, poetry, and visual art, the anthology delves into the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Its fourth edition, featuring new introductions and contributions, continues to shape feminist discourse and activism. Praised by scholars and activists alike, it remains a vital resource for understanding the challenges and triumphs of women of color worldwide.


“The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore

 a gripping account of the courageous women who fought against America’s Undark danger. In the early 20th century, the Curies’ discovery of radium captivates the nation, promising beauty and medical wonders. Yet, behind the gleaming headlines, hundreds of factory workers—dubbed “shining girls”—fall mysteriously ill from radium exposure. Ignored by their employers, these women embark on a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights. With sparkling prose and relentless pace, this book shines a light on their inspiring resilience and pivotal fight for justice, leaving a lasting legacy in history.


“Wordslut” by Amanda Montell

A fascinating exploration of language and its role in perpetuating gender biases. From the evolution of words like “bitch” and “slut” to the policing of women’s speech patterns, Montell delves into how language has been used to suppress women throughout history. With wit and insight, she uncovers the linguistic tactics that have hindered women’s progress and offers a compelling examination of how language shapes our perceptions of gender. Accessible and entertaining, “Wordslut” is a must-read for anyone interested in feminist linguistics and the power of words.


“When Women Invented Television” by Jennifer Kishin Armstrong

A captivating account of four remarkable women who shaped the early days of television. From turning real-life tragedies into daytime serials to breaking barriers as the first African American to host a national variety program, these visionary women defied the odds to revolutionize the way we watch TV today. Despite facing challenges like sexism and political turmoil, their enduring legacies deserve recognition. Illustrated with captivating photos, this book sheds light on a forgotten chapter in television history.



“Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners” by Therese Oneill

A delightful journey into the secrets of Victorian womanhood. With humor and charm, this illustrated guide reveals the hidden truths behind the romanticized era, covering everything from fashion to personal hygiene. You’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the challenges faced by women of the past while laughing out loud at their quirks and customs. Perfect for fans of historical fiction and those curious about life in the 19th century, “Unmentionable” offers a refreshing perspective on the not-so-glamorous aspects of Victorian life.


“All the Women in My Brain” by Betty Gilpin

a hilarious and intimate collection of essays that navigates the complexities of modern womanhood. From candid reflections on depression to wild adventures in Hollywood, Gilpin’s witty storytelling will have you laughing out loud while also pondering life’s deeper questions. Perfect for fans of Jenny Lawson and Caitlin Moran, this book is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt like they were more, or at least weirder than society expected.



“Pandora’s Jar” by Natalie Haynes

a captivating retelling of Greek myths that puts the spotlight on the often-overlooked female characters. From Hera to Medea, Haynes brings the stories of powerful women like Helen, Clytemnestra, and Antigone to life, offering a fresh and empowering perspective on these ancient tales. Perfect for lovers of Greek mythology and anyone interested in exploring women’s roles in classical literature, it’s a must-read for the modern era.




“Good Talk” by Mira Jacob

a touching and humorous graphic memoir that explores the complexities of race, love, and family in America. Inspired by conversations with her mixed-race son and her own experiences as a first-generation immigrant, Jacob navigates difficult topics with honesty and wit. From discussions about the new president to reflections on her upbringing, it offers an insight into one woman’s journey through life. With heartfelt storytelling and engaging artwork, this memoir is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the immigrant experience and the challenges of raising a family in today’s world.

“Crazy Brave” by Joy Harjo

A transcendent memoir that explores the journey of one of America’s leading Native American voices. From her upbringing in Oklahoma, marked by adversity and abuse, to her emergence as an award-winning poet and musician, Harjo’s story is a testament to resilience and the power of finding one’s voice. Through lyrical prose, she navigates themes of family, love, and self-discovery, offering readers a haunting and visionary narrative that honors tribal myth and ancestry. A unique and inspiring tale of transformation.


“Nevada” by Imogen Binnie

A cult classic and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, now back in print. Follow Maria Griffiths, a disaffected trans woman, as she embarks on a cross-country road trip after a breakup sends her into a tailspin. Set against the backdrop of punk culture and marginalized life under capitalism, “Nevada” is a blistering and heartfelt coming-of-age story that challenges traditional narratives. With a new afterword by the author, this novel offers a fresh perspective on the great American road novel for a new generation.


“Hood Feminism” by Mikki Kendall

Thought-provoking exploration of the blind spots in today’s feminist movement. Kendall argues that mainstream feminism often overlooks basic needs such as food security, education, and healthcare, which are critical feminist issues. She challenges the movement to prioritize these issues and confront the intersections of race, class, and gender. A compelling call to action for solidarity and inclusivity within feminism.



“Invisible Women” by Caroline Criado Perez

A groundbreaking exploration of gender bias in data. Perez reveals how our reliance on data that fails to account for gender perpetuates inequality, impacting women’s lives in profound ways. Drawing on extensive research from around the world, Perez offers a compelling exposé that will revolutionize your understanding of gender inequality.




“We Set the Night on Fire,” by Martha Shelley

A captivating memoir, from her upbringing as the daughter of refugees to her pivotal role in the gay and women’s movements of the 1960s and ’70s, Shelley shares her journey as a political activist. Her story sheds light on the struggles of coming out as a lesbian during a time when it was considered criminal, and her contributions to the fight for equality are both inspiring and essential to our understanding of history.

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