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Welcome to Nude Barre’s “Conscious Corner,” a space where we talk about books that change the way we think, imagine, and reflect. As we welcome Women’s History Month, we decided to take a moment to recognize the women who used the power of their pen to make a difference.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman




“Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives recreates the experience of young urban black women who desired an existence qualitatively different than the one that had been scripted for them—domestic service, second-class citizenship, and respectable poverty—and whose intimate revolution was apprehended as crime and pathology. For the first time, young black women are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape. Through a melding of history and literary imagination, Wayward Lives recovers their radical aspirations and insurgent desires.” - Hartman


All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks 



All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In eleven concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives, and asserts the place of love to end struggles between individuals, in communities, and among societies.” - hooks 


Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng

 


“In the summer of 1986, in a small Chinese village, ten-year-old Junie receives a momentous letter from her parents, who had left for America years ago: her father promises to return home and collect her by her twelfth birthday. But Junie’s growing determination to stay put in the idyllic countryside with her beloved grandparents threatens to derail her family’s shared future.” - Rui Feng



Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo 

 



“Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.” - Evaristo


A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

 



“In centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combating centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism.” - Ramey Berry and Nicole Gross


Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women That a Movement Forgot  by Mikki Kendall

 


“Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few.” - Kendall



Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 




“Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.” - Hurston


Beloved by Toni Morrison




“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.” - Morrison



Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde 



“A collection of fifteen essays written between 1976 and 1984 gives clear voice to Audre Lorde's literary and philosophical personae. These essays explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde's intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about ways of increasing empowerment among minority women writers and the absolute necessity to explicate the concept of difference—difference according to sex, race, and economic status.” - Lorde


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 


“In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.” - Ozeki


Beyonce in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley



Making headlines when it was launched in 2015, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley's undergraduate course:  Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism has inspired students from all walks of life. In Beyoncé in Formation, Tinsley now takes her rich observations beyond the classroom, using the blockbuster album and video Lemonade as a soundtrack for vital next-millennium narratives. - Tinsley



I Shall Not Be Moved by Maya Angelou 



“This memorable collection of poems exhibits Maya Angelou's unique gift for capturing the triumph and pain of being black and every man and woman's struggle to be free. Filled with bittersweet intimacies and ferocious courage, these poems are gems–many-faceted, bright with wisdom, radiant with life.” - Angelou



Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo



“(Kim) Jiyoung’s painfully common life is juxtaposed against a backdrop of an advancing Korea, as it abandons “family planning” birth control policies and passes new legislation against gender discrimination. But can her doctor flawlessly, completely cure her, or even discover what truly ails her?” - Nam-Joo



Educated by Tara Westover



Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.” - Westover



Becoming by Michelle Obama



“In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.” - Obama