Mint book club: For women


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JOEL KEMEGUE, Evergreen mint editor

Because none of you read enough (even if you do read as a hobby) I come bearing more books, this time women-themed for Women’s History Month.

All the books here are written by women and feature a woman as the main character.

As always, you’re required to read all these books before the end of the month. If you haven’t, I’ll know.

“The Haunting Of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson

I know y’all know the Netflix show and a lot of you like it, some of you don’t, but the book is different (and better). It is also, in my more than humble opinion, the best ghost story and one of the best horror stories in general.

Four people (unrelated, unlike the show) arrive at a house infamous for being haunted and decide to stay and see if it’s true. The interesting thing about this book is that you’re constantly questioning whether there are actually ghosts, or if it’s just the characters’ imagination. As the book goes further into the characters’ relationships and background, that question only grows.

Read it if you’ve seen the show or if you haven’t because either way it’s a unique horror experience.

“Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel

F–k haters, read more romance.

“Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel is about a Mexican woman named Tita who, because she is the youngest daughter, is not allowed to marry. The book tells the story of Tita’s struggle between family obligation and her love for a man that ends up marrying her sister.

Cooking is a big theme in this book, used as a way to express love and all passionate emotions. Each chapter begins with a recipe so you can cook as you read along if you like cooking.

“Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture” edited by Roxane Gay

Edited by Roxane Gay, “Not That Bad” is an anthology of essays, all from women detailing their experience with sexual harassment and rape.

Needless to say, this anthology is personal. Every author writes their story in a different way, from a second person retelling of an abusive boyfriend to one where the author frames her stories as “lessons,” talking about the things she wishes she’d known and mourning the memories stolen from her.

 It’s powerful, and it’s uncomfortable, but the reality for women is way more. If you read only one book on this list, this should be the one.

“Heart Berries” by Terese Marie Mailhot

“Heart Berries” by Terese Marie Mailhot is the best memoir I’ve read so far, and if you ever plan on writing a memoir, you should read this book.

Framed as a letter to one of Mailhot’s loves, it goes back and forth through her childhood, struggles with mental health, her identity as an indigenous woman, being a mother, her love life and more — not in that order. The writing is beautiful, and the book is non-linear, going back and forth through all these events, but never gets confusing.

I’m a bit biased since Mailhot led a memoir writing workshop last semester and I got to tell her how cool her book is, but bias never affects my opinions no matter how many times my editors bring up ‘conflict of interest.’

“Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals” by Patricia Lockwood

If you catch me off guard (unlikely) and ask me what my top five poetry books are, I will most likely mention this book.

“Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals” by Patricia Lockwood is unique and completely entrancing. Most of the poems revolve around nature, and the book fuses nature with sex in this way that’s not gratuitous or lewd but almost poignant. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a poem in this book called “The Whole World Gets Together and Gangbangs a Deer” and it’s suspenseful, sad and beautiful. Which, honestly, could describe this entire book.

I know that title probably caught you off guard, so I’m going to leave you with the first few lines: 

“Bambi is fresh from the countryside. Bambi is fresh/and we want him on film. He doesn’t even know/how to kiss yet.”

“Magical Negro” by Morgan Parker

Speaking of my favorite poetry books, “Magical Negro” by Morgan Parker is my top one. I could read the first poem in this book, I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against A Sharp White Background, for days without getting tired. Parker had to go and make a whole rest of the book to go with it.

If you don’t like modern poetry, I think “Magical Negro” is a great way to change your mind. All the poems in “Magical Negro” relate to being black, being a woman or being both, and they all make you want to reread the poems over and over again. I don’t think any of the poems are complicated. I think they’re complex, and in a way that makes you want to understand them rather than make you frustrated you don’t understand.

Also, I bought this book before Noname’s Book Club recommended it so 1) We are both geniuses and 2) I reserve the right to recommend it as well.