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Meet your new feminist book club

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Feminist reads are having a moment: from reclaiming body image to standing up to the wrath of online trolls via debunking the myth of tragic spinsterhood. Stylist’s contributing books editor Francesca Brown picks the titles you can’t afford to miss


Spinster

The being single celebration

Spinster by Kate Bolick
“Whom to marry and when will it happen – these two questions define a woman’s existence… even if the answers are nobody and never.” What might sound like Jane Austen is the central message behind Bolick’s eyeopening Spinster. Blowing up the stereotype, she argues that being single – far from the tragic tale of decades past – is the most liberating thing that can happen to modern women. Out 19 April (£8.99, Little, Brown)


Girl Up

The modern beauty myth

Girl Up by Laura Bates
With a foreword from Emma Watson, The Everyday Sexism Project founder Bates tackles all the propaganda that women get bamboozled with from childhood. From the myth of the ‘ballbreaker’ in the office to the ‘dangers’ of short skirts, Bates is funny, piercingly astute and will have you furious and politicised over the impact social media, pornography and advertising have on our bodies. Out 21 April (£12.99, Simon & Schuster)


Animal

The feminism/biology guide

Animal by Sara Pascoe
Funny, sad, angry, affronted, engaging and enlightening (there’s even an annotated vagina on p199), stand-up comedian Pascoe just about nails everything that confronts women today. She then places it in the context of our cultural and evolutionary history so that it makes more sense – and (despite the many, many hurdles women face) you’re bloody proud to be female by the end of it. Out 21 April (£12.99, Faber & Faber)


Letters To My Fanny

The anti-body fascist

Letters To My Fanny by Cherry Healey
Opening each chapter with a letter to a different body part, TV presenter Healey’s book is a must-read for any woman or girl. Admitting that she’s spent the best part of her life hating her own body (at one point living on a diet of ham and accidentally cutting herself while ‘trimming my lady garden’), Healey poignantly encourages the reader to start loving each and every bit of themselves. Out 21 April (£7.99, Penguin)


Shrill

The new feminist bible*

Shrill by Lindy West
In 2013, after commenting that rape jokes aren’t OK, West received a deluge of abuse with one email stating “You’re just bitter because you’re too disgusting to be raped”. She confronted her troll, who said sorry and agreed to be interviewed about his own self-loathing issues. As West’s series of essays explains: keeping quiet in the face of such opposition isn’t an option. Out 19 May (£16.99, Quercus) *According to Caitlin Moran


Sex Object

The divisive author

Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
Described by the Washington Post as “one of the most visible and successful feminists of her generation” and as a “cynical man hater” by her detractors, Valenti’s memoir focuses on the double standards surrounding men, women and sex. Or, as Valenti explains, “Growing up in a culture that values women based on whether or not they’re sexy, but hates them for having sex”. Out 15 June (£16.99, Harper Collins)


Eat Sweat Play

The uplifting manifesto

Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel
As Stylist’s Fair Game campaign has highlighted for the past four years, women and men are not on a level playing field when it comes to sport – which makes Guardian sports writer Kessel’s new book a breath of fresh air. A piercing call to arms, she argues that if women and girls embrace being active, it will lead to a sea change for women’s bodies, self image and outlook. It is brilliant. Out 16 June (£14.99, Macmillan)


Hunger

The key read for 2016

Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Possibly the most anticipated feminist tome of the year, Gay’s memoir mixes the personal and the political, describing how a brutal incident in her youth transformed her: “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe.” Gay maintains it is not a book about trying to get thin – but about the need to reclaim our own bodies. Out 4 August (£13.99, Corsair)

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