Five Books You Should Add To Your Reading List This International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is on 8 March and, as a women-led business, we’re proud to support this year’s theme of embracing equity. Not to be confused with equality, which describes every person or group of people being given the same resources or opportunities, equity recognises that every person’s story and life circumstances are different, so they need different resources and opportunities to achieve an equal outcome.
Understanding the barriers historically marginalised groups — like women, people of colour, disabled people, economically disadvantaged people and those from the LGBTQI+ community — have to equal outcomes is a vital step towards championing for equity. And a way we can begin to do that? Read more stories by people who identify with these groups and see the world through perspectives that are different from our own.
Here are 5 great reads, written by women and gender diverse folks, to add to your reading list this International Women’s Day.
Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Ngati Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa)
Māori culture has a phenomenon called purakau—like stories but stronger with some people able to trace their lineage back to the characters. Kurangaituku is a retelling of a purakau called Hatupatu And The Bird Woman. Hatupatu is a young man who gets abducted by a monstrous bird woman—Kurangaituku—but this retelling is from the perspective of the bird woman herself who is shaped by the stories that other people have told about her. Intriguingly, she’s aware of this way of being co-created by the perceptions of others which makes for a great read. You start at the beginning of the book and read to half way, then flip it and read from the back to the middle. The descriptive quality of this writing is unlike anything we’d ever read before, often both grotesque and stunning in a magnetising way.
Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K. Reilly (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai)
Set in present-day Tāmaki Makaurau, Greta & Valdin follows a queer brother and sister from Russian and Māori descent as they muddle, relatably, through life. Despite exploring some complex heavy-hitters including family, sexuality, racism and colonisation, it had us deep in thought one moment and cackling out loud the next. With on-point characterisation and sassy observations about the way people are, it makes for an engaging read that just so happens to also be Rebecca K. Reilly’s debut novel.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieson
If the Amy Poehler-directed flick MOXiE! made it to your watchlist, you’ll already be familiar with Jennifer Mathieson’s compelling storyline. Centering on 16-year-old Vivian who calls out her school’s sexist culture by publishing an anonymous zine, this edgy read for young adults (although sure to be appreciated just as much by adults) is uplifting and dynamic, and had us drawing stars on our hands in solidarity.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
Set in 2004 New Delhi, Age of Vice follows the story of three people brought together by a drink-driving incident: a playboy raised in a crime syndicate, one of the syndicate’s employees and an investigative journalist. This crime thriller contrasts wealth and poverty, and has been described as “proving once and for all that the novel remains the supreme medium of long-form narrative drama for us to binge upon” which you know made us very happy at Book Box HQ. In
fact, it made us so happy we popped it into last month’s New/Recent Release Book Box. You’re welcome.
SWAY: Unraveling Unconscious Bias by Dr Pragya Agarwal
Ending this list with a non-fiction moment, we have SWAY. If you’ve heard the term ‘unconscious bias’ thrown around and are curious about it, this book is a great place to start. Gloriously accessible, it’s an invitation to understand unconscious bias better, to have the courage to recognise it within ourselves and others, and do what we can to confront it. Delving into a range of examples across different settings and industries, Dr Pragya Agarwal gently but firmly guides us through bias-fuelled discrimination which is hyper-relevant to the equity conversation.
What’s the most empowering book you’ve read recently? Slide into our DMs and let us know.
- Words by Alice Rich