This week’s topic is a really, really good one. We got to pick which top ten books would be on our syllabus if we taught x 101 – for example, historical fiction 101 or high fantasy 101. I’ve decided to cheat a little bit, because there were just too many possibilities to pick from! So I’m doing the top books would be on my syllabus for a couple of different topics.
Books On My Syllabus If I Taught Badass Chicks 101
Cunt – Inga Muscio. This book was a very emotional experience, but also an important one. I read it when I was in university, and I think it’s one that young women should all experience. It will bring to light some of the reasons we really, definitely, without a doubt still need feminism, and some of the common experiences you share just by being girls.
The Guerrilla Girls books. There is a whole series of books put out by this group of women who set out to subvert and re-frame women’s roles in society.
Full Frontal Feminism – Jessica Valenti. I read this after having taken several women’s studies courses, so some of it was a little obvious to me, but I think if you’re new to feminism or feminist readings, this is a great place to start, and is a primer on some of the important events and perspective that underpin modern feminism.
Razorland series – Ann Aguirre (and the Hunger Games, and Divergent trilogies, but I don’t like them as much). I think reading fiction with really strong, kickass women in it is just as important as seeking out feminist books. There are a lot out there, but from my recent reading, the Razorland books stand out for me because not only is the main character a female warrior, but she is probably the best warrior in this fictional world. And she’s a teenager. Trust me, you want to meet Deuce. (Check out my reviews of the series: Enclave, Outpost and Horde.)
Books On My Syllabus If I Taught Surprisingly Funny Lit 101
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. You all know about this book, because OF COURSE YOU DO. (Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in which case sorry for making assumptions, and also for your unfortunate living situation. I hope you find alternative housing soon.) But for a book about teenage cancer patients, it’s a helluva lot more funny than you’d expect. I think more of the tears I shed while reading this book were due to laughter than sadness.
The Martian – Andy Weir. I mean, it’s about a dude who has been stranded on Mars without any way to communicate with his crew or Earth, and inadequate supplies to keep him alive. And this is just the beginning of his problems. And yet. Hilarious.
One More Thing – B.J. Novak. This one wasn’t quite as surprising as the others on this list if you know anything about it going in… but I didn’t. And it was pants-wettingly hilarious.
This Is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper. A story about a man who is cheated on, moves out to live in a dank basement, and then his father dies. So not cheerful at first glance. But there are so many amazingly funny scenes in this book that the downer plot is more than balanced out (the film was equally poignant and hilarious, and features Adam Driver, if you’re into that kind of thing).
Books On My Syllabus If I Taught Street Art 101
All City – Paul 107. This is a great introduction to street art for the uninitiated. It goes through some of the basic techniques used for various types of street art, and even defines graff terms in case you don’t know what “hitting up the heavens” means or the difference between a “piece” and a “throw-up.”
Subway Art – Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. One of the first books written about graffiti culture back in the ’70s, this book is equal parts photojournalism and anthropological insight into an evolving artistic subculture.
Graffiti World & Graffiti Women – Nicholas Ganz. These two books are graffiti bibles. They’re both huge and filled with some of the best street artists whose work can be seen on walls around the globe.
Wall and Piece – Banksy. Because no discussion of street art is complete without Banksy.
Books On My Syllabus If I Taught Sex 101
Bonk – Mary Roach. This is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. Roach delved into the scientific side of sex and asked some important questions we’ve probably all wondered about – as well as several we really, really haven’t. But it’s really her writing style that makes this book as brilliant as it is – even if you’re not that into the topic, if you give this book a try, you’ll want to keep reading.
The Guide to Getting It On – Paul Joannides. Everything you ever wanted to know about sex. And then some. With illustrations, accurate information, and a hilarious glossary. If you only ever buy one book about sex, it should probably be this one.
Anything published by Cleis Press. Seriously, ANYTHING. Cleis Press is a publishing company that specializes in inclusive, sex-positive books – which means if you want information about pretty much any area of sexual experience, and if you want it in a non-judgemental, straight-up way, they’ve got what you’re looking for. Interested in open relationships? BDSM? Erotica for women? Sex and disability? Gay romance stories? They’ve got all that, and plenty more. I’m a particular fan of their Best Women’s Erotica and Best Sex Writing series, in case you need a place to start.
Okay, I should probably force myself to stop there, because this could keep going indefinitely. Have you read any of these books – or other great books on these topics that I didn’t mention? Share in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week TTT has a different topic, and everyone who links up has to create a link of ten items that fit that topic. To see past and upcoming topics, go here.