The political and social landscape of 2015 inspired need for both self-reflection and a call to action. This year, we saw the release of beautiful new memoirs by feminist icons of the past few decades—Patti Smith, Gloria Steinem, Janet Mock, and more—tackling issues of women’s rights, self-empowerment, and art itself. Here are some of my favorite feminist memoirs from the past year, along with some additional must-read memoirs:
1. M Train by Patti Smith
Everyone’s favorite punk poet laureate gives us a glimpse of her daily wanderings as an aging artist, confronting mortality, loss, and the ephemerality of experience with honesty and grace. Purchase here.
2. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
The icon of second wave feminism reflects on her nomadic upbringing and how travel has continuously inspired her to keep asking questions, keep listening, and above all, keep moving. Find it here.
3. Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
At once unpleasantly gritty and remarkably beautiful, Gordon’s memoir covers everything from growing up with a mentally ill older brother, to the making of those famous Sonic Youth albums, to her distaste for Lana Del Rey. Buy it here.
4. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Dunham has often been called the voice (or a voice) of the millennial generation, and her self-exposing memoir is of no exception. Not That Kind of Girl is full of confessions and self-reflections on topics such as ovarian cysts and a Puerto Rican boyfriend with a Comic Sans tattoo. Check it out.
5. How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Piecing together social observations and personal experiences, Moran sheds new light and humor on the fight for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Purchase here.
6. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Half-memoir and half-comedy sketch, Fey explores the humor of female vulnerability and the bittersweet power of being a woman in comedy at the top her game. Buy it here.
7. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Poehler’s memoir-ish book is full of both self-empowerment revelations and crippling difficulty of writing the book itself, told in a scattered series of narratives that are at once funny and endearing. Read it here.
8. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is a force. Her memoir is powerful, not just for its vivid drama, but also for its exigent call for girls’ right to education worldwide. Check it out.
9. #Girlboss by Sofia Amoruso
The CEO of Nastygal takes us on her journey towards success and self-empowerment. Purchase here.
10. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
In a world where very few memoirs by trans women of color exist, Janet Mock offers a beautiful and compelling glimpse into her intellectual journey to self-actualization, happiness, and success. Check it out here.
Text by Lucia Ribisi. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE