Japan, Iran, Mexico and More: These Female Authors Will Take You Places

By Lucy Fisher

As part of our celebration of Women’s History Month during the month of March, we are highlighting books by diverse female authors in a first-floor lobby display. Ranging from historical fiction to sci-fi to feminist nonfiction, we recommend the following books and encourage you to join us in celebrating female authors. Click on a title to borrow from Roesch Library or another OhioLINK institution. 

Ruth Ozeki weaves a story that stretches from the 2011 tsunami to present-day America in  A Tale for the Time Being.  A diary is sixteen-year-old Nao's only solace in Tokyo--and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed ashore--possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents is revealed, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao's drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Sara Farizan shares the story of seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin who have fallen in love in If You Could Be Mine.  Homosexuality is punishable by death in their country, Iran, and when Nasrin’s parents announce their daughter’s arranged marriage, Sahar suggests a desperate solution.  

Cristina Henríquez tells the story of the Rivera family who have lived their whole lives in Mexico in The Book of Unknown Americans.  When Maribel, the fifteen-year-old daughter sustains a terrible injury, the Riveras leave Mexico for America in search of a cure.

The Fifth Season is book one in The Broken Earth, a new series by N.K. Jemisin.  Jemisin transports readers to the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes -- those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon -- are feared far more than the long cold night.  

Octavia Butler’s Kindred follows Dana, a modern black woman as she is ripped from her present and drawn deep into the past of the antebellum South.  Rufus, the son of a plantation owner, is drowning and Dana has been tasked with saving him.  Dana is drawn back repeatedly to slave quarters and each time, the stay grows longer and more arduous leaving readers with question: will Dana survive long enough to return to her own present?  If Dana’s story intrigues you, Kindred was also adapted into a graphic novel!

Deepa Iyer investigates experiences of South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh immigrant communities in the United States in her book We too sing America : South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh immigrants shape our multiracial future.  Iyer’s catalog of recent racial flashpoints including the relentless opposition to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the 2012 massacre at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin places the hate violence and Islamophobia in the broader context of an American racial landscape undergoing a rapid demographic transformation.  

Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores what it means to be a woman now and presents an of-the-moment rallying cry for why We Should All Be Feminists in her eloquent essay.

Roxane Gay shares her journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) in her collection of essays, Bad Feminist.  The image that emerges is that of a woman who is continually growing to understand herself and society. Be sure to also check out Gay’s newest collection of essays, Difficult Women, available via OhioLink, or her suspenseful, intriguing fictional tale set in Haiti, An Untamed State, available in Roesch’s Leisure Reading Collection.  

- Lucy Fisher, Course Reserves Specialist

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