“Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another.” - Serena Williams

The year, 2021, like most years has come with its challenges. In recent weeks the news has shed light on the violence and mistreatment of women in the United States and abroad. One way I have found relief in the challenges and chaos from the world we live in is by reading books by great women writers. These books tell the stories of extraordinary women, the trials and tribulations these women have faced, and the lessons these women have learned from all of their experiences. As the great Serena William once said, “every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another,” and I believe that the following books are inspirations. These books are sure to be well-read and well-loved; so be sure to grab a Bookedbag protector to keep these books safe. 

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (2015) The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a woman like no other. Like many, I knew Ginsburg was a strong advocate for women’s rights and a strong dissenter, but I knew little about her backstory. This book chronicles the life of The Notorious RBG, and also provides insight into how we, women and men, can continue Ginsburg’s fight for equality for all women. 

One of my favorite quotes highlighted in this book from Ginsburg was, “if I lose today there is hope for a better tomorrow.” Ginsburg was not known for her losses, and I believe that it was because she never allowed her losses to define, nor derail, her end goal. We would all be wise to follow Ginsburg’s advice and not allow our losses to prevent us from hoping for/having a better tomorrow.

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper (2018) - From a very young age, black women are taught to not look/be visiably angry because it makes them unapproachable. In her book, Brittney Cooper counters the aforementioned teaching about anger and instead highlights the power of anger and rage. She states, “rage can help us build the world we hope to build.” Cooper encourages black women to use their rage as a “force for good,” just as Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, and Beyonce have used their rage for good. 

This book has been on my reading list for a few months now, and I am glad that I waited until I had some downtime to read this book because once I started reading it, I could not put it down. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions. It made me laugh out loud and shout in anger. Above all, it caused me to think about our current world and the way in which black girls and women are viewed and treated in it. One of the most poignant questions posed by Cooper was the following, “how are black girls supposed to grow up to be black women who are in love with themselves in a country that is built on the structural negation of black women’s personhood?” I believe that the time is now for us all, women and men of all races and ethnicities, to stand together and allow our rage about the mistreatment of black girls, and girls of all races and ethnicities, to be heard from every corner of our nation. 

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes (2016) - Are you living your best life? If you are unsatisfied with your life, what is stopping you from saying yes to changing it? What would happen if you said yes to doing things that scared you? Said yes more often to things that make your heart happy? Said yes to being the best version of yourself mentally and physically? In her book, Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes shares about her journey with saying yes all year long. She said yes to what scared her, brought her joy, and to being the best version of herself. 

Many of us know, Shonda Rhimes as the powerful boss lady who owns Thursday nights on ABC, and as the creator of some of the most iconic television dramas on TV to date including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. However, in her book, Rhimes discusses how despite outward appearances, she was living a life that she had come to realize was far from the life she had dreamed for herself; so she stopped dreaming and started doing. Rhimes saw that by saying yes to everything for a full year, she was able to finally enjoy, and live, her best life.  

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