UPDATED: I Read 50 Books by Women in 2016.

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In 2016 I read fifty books total, forty-eight fifty-two books total, fifty of them are by women. I have highlighted my favourites below.

  1. Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
  2. The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New Yorker by Maeve Brennan
  3. Gutshot: Stories by Amelia Gray
  4. Listen to the Squawking Chicken: A Memoir (sort of) by Elaine Lui
  5. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays by Joan Didion
  6. Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
  7. The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente 
  8. White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
  9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch
  10. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  11. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  12. Speed Dreaming: Stories by Nicole Haroutunian
  13. An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch
  14. The Color Master by Aimee Bender
  15. Tempting the Gods: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee, Volume One by Tanith Lee
  16. My Ántonia by Willa Cather
  17. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  18. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  19. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  20. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  21. The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee
  22. Dancing Girls: Stories by Margaret Atwood
  23. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente 
  24. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  25. Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 selected Articles, Essays, and Q&As by Jordannah Elizabeth
  26. All over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
  27. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
  28. Pink Noises: women on electronic music and sound by Tara Rodgers
  29. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  30. Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
  31. Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
  32. Flight from the Enchanter by Iris Murdoch
  33. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963 by Sylvia Plath
  34. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
  35. Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey
  36. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  37. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  38. The Electrical Field by Kerri Sakamoto
  39. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
  40. Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  41. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  42. Waiting by Ha Jin
  43. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours: Stories by Helen Oyeyemi
  44. My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki
  45. Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman
  46. The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats & Ex-Countries by Jessa Crispin
  47. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
  48. Space Is Just A Starry Night: Short Fiction by Tanith Lee
  49. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P.D. James
  50. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  51. In the Country we Love by Diane Guerrero
  52. One of Ours by Willa Cather

Here are some tidbits about the books above.

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The Mitford novels were hilarious and I want to read more of her work. Elaine Lui’s memoir had me in stitches also.

Helen Oyeyemi continues to be one of my favourite authors, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours and White is for Witching were amazing.

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For these troubling times, I would strongly recommend reading Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road and anything my Ruth Ozeki. Ozeki’s books are about ordinary women who end up doing amazing activism in page-turning, addictive stories full of compelling characters. Steinem’s book is inspiring and very much focuses on the positivity of humanity in a way that inspires hope,

I’m pretty sure my wedding vows will be one of Rupi Kaur’s poems in Milk & Honey.

I read some awesome books about women and music this year, but my favourite was Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 selected Articles, Essays, and Q&As by Jordannah Elizabeth

I’m not one for reading mystery/thriller books that contain murder, but the P.D. James short stories and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History were awesome! It’s fun to read something different.

I keep thinking about Valente’s Radiance. I think it’s because I’m re-watching Battlestar Galactica right now.

The Closet Feminist is big on #ReadWomen. Check out more awesome books here:

My 2014 reading list

My 2015 reading list 

Bibliostyle: Green Ball Gowns in Catherynne M. Valente’s ‘Radiance’

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Above: Pamella Roland Spring 2016

Our yuletide green had been knitted out of jute and wire and shredded dresses by the Udolpho triplets, those wanton Martian contortionists and-as I had discovered- wanted counterfeiters., from Guan Yu. Each of the nine women aboard had donated a green gown to the effort. We whirled away under Cythera’s lime spangled flapper-fringes, Harper Ibbott’s hunting cloak, every girl’s bright emerald and olive hoopskirts cut and ruched into garlands. We were a strange lot, the Obolus cargo, some famous, most not, all vibrating with the things we did not tell each other.

  • from Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

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Above: Sally LaPointe Pre-Fall 2016

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Above: Pamella Roland Fall 2016

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Above: Jenny Packham Fall 2016

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Above: Toga Fall 2016

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Above: Monique Lhuillier Fall 2016

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Above: Hellessy Fall 2016

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Above: Jenny Packham Spring 2016

Obscure Feminist Halloween Costumes: So Necessary, So Much Fun

Are you looking for a under-the-radar Halloween costume? C’mon, everyone and their baby is going as Eleven this year.

Maybe you just want to try a new look this Halloween.

Maybe you really want to make minimal effort–add a wig (but no complicated makeup, please)

Maybe you want to wear a slightly-different pair of pants that you wouldn’t normally buy but need an excuse (and Halloween is that excuse).

Never fear, The Closet Feminist has got your back.

GROUP IDEA COSTUME

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One of the girl gangs (Electro Phi Betas, anyone?) from this list of Girl Gang music videos.

Better yet, Clone Club it up with our Orphan Black style guide (Part 1 & Part 2)

WHAT WOULD PRINCESS BUBBLEGUM OR MARCELINE WEAR IRL?

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Add a pink or long black wig to any of these looks and casually mention you’re either Marcy or PB “off duty“.

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Above: Rebecca Taylor Resort 2017

Check out our ultimate style homage to your fave cartoon couple here.

SOPHISTICATED ROCK STAR

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Ditch the cliche leather and bed-head, instead why don’t you emulate one of Santi White‘s polished looks in her “Chasing Shadows” video instead.

MIYAZAKI ANTI-HERO

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Above: Comme des Garcons Spring 2016 

No Face? The Witch of the Waste? Think about it–a lot of the costumes based on Miyazaki characters are actually easy to pull off or at least do an abstract interpretation of.

SOMEWHAT-OBSCURE LITERARY REFERENCE

A lot of books have descriptions of what the characters are wearing, it’s what our Bibliostyle column is all about. Mashup your bookworm tendencies with your amazing wardrobe and dress up as one of your lesser-known literary heroines like:

Miri from White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

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Above: Alexander McQueen Resort 2016

Emma from An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch

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Above: Veronique Branquinho Fall 2015

Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Above: Dice Kayek Couture Spring 2016

Best of Catherynne M. Valente’s “Deathless”

Catherynne M. Valente is one of my favourite writers of all time. I have read almost everything she has written. She’s a feminist, her books always have queer characters, and her writing is nothing short of magic. She’s pretty much The Closet Feminist dream.

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Here are some of my favourite quotes from her book Deathless.

When Marya saw something extraordinary again, she would be ready. She would be clever. She would not let it ruler her or trick her. She would do the tricking, if tricking was called for. (p.24)

When I am Tsarita, I will break all these machines and I will set them free. (p.110)

A marriage is a private thing. It has its own wild laws, and secret histories, and savage acts, and what passes between married people is incomprehensible to outsiders. We look terrible to you, and severe, and you see our blood flying, but what we carry between us is hard-won, and we made it just as we wished it to be, just the color, just the shape. (p.215-216)

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This house, she knew. It stayed within her as it had always been, the architecture of her girlhood. The wood held the oils of her skin deep in its grain; the windows still bore the imprint—long gone, invisible—of her tiny nose. (p.239)

I cannot make you understand that I forgive you, that I know you loved both he and I, the way a mother can love two sons. And no one should be judged for loving more than they ought, only for loving not enough, which was my crime. (p.320)

The 35 Books By Women I’ve Read in 2016 (so far)

We’re over half-way through 2016 now, so I thought it was time for an update on my goal to redefine the literary canon.

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Above: I post more frequently about my reading adventures on my instagram here.

Last time we talked about this project in April, I had hit 20 books. Now it’s mid-July and I’m at 35. Here is the complete list of what I’ve read so, I’ve greyed out the books I had posted about previously.

  1. Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
  2. The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New Yorker by Maeve Brennan
  3. Gutshot: Stories by Amelia Gray
  4. Listen to the Squawking Chicken: A Memoir (sort of) by Elaine Lui
  5. Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays by Joan Didion 
  6. Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth 
  7. The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente 
  8. White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
  9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch
  10. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  11. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  12. Speed Dreaming: Stories by Nicole Haroutunian
  13. An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch
  14. The Color Master by Aimee Bender
  15. Tempting the Gods: The Selected Stories of Tanith Lee, Volume One by Tanith Lee
  16. My Ántonia by Willa Cather
  17. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  18. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  19. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  20. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  21. The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee
  22. Dancing Girls: Stories by Margaret Atwood
  23. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
  24. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  25. Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 selected Articles, Essays, and Q&As by Jordannah Elizabeth
  26. All over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
  27. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
  28. Pink Noises: women on electronic music and sound by Tara Rodgers
  29. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  30. Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
  31. Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
  32. Flight from the Enchanter by Iris Murdoch
  33. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963 by Sylvia Plath
  34. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
  35. Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey 
There were so many good ones in this batch! I bolded my favourites. Ozeki’s book All Over Creation stood out for sure, I want to read more of her stuff. I was lucky to find Letters Home by Plath at a used book store, it was heartbreaking and insightful.
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