The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Women’s Studies

Whorephobia by Lizzie Borden

A gorgeously done collection of all things stripping and sex work told by those who know it best. With stories told by 20-some contributors to this essay collection, the lessons and experiences recounted in this span decades. Focused first on the strip clubs that populated New York City in the late 80s and 90s, the switch to more modern accounts is refreshing and makes this a current and fantastically well-done anthology on pro-sex work.

Whorephobia by Lizzie Borden (List Price: $21.95, Seven Stories Press, 9781644212271, December 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Essential Labor by Angela Garbes

Essential Labor is incredibly timely, but it opens up a timeless approach to mothering as catalyst for change. Speaking from both her experience as a daughter of Filipino immigrants and as a mother, Garbes explores the small, gentle ways we can nudge the dominant narrative, opening a wider world to our children. The Covid-19 pandemic brought down capitalism’s illusory curtain separating labor and the home, yet little changed in societal terms. Garbes argues that the invisible labor that women, mostly BIPOC women, do in the home is the most essential work there is—and that if we embrace a more communal, interdependent, caring way of living, we can make this work not just pleasurable but revolutionary. This is an essential book—it’s challenging, it’s bold, it’s a call to action.

Essential Labor by Angela Garbes, (List Price: $25.99, Harper Wave, 9780062937360, May 2022)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

One of the most substantial and honest collections of essays about sex and pleasure I’ve ever read. Each author bares it all in order to give the reader permission to tell the truth about their relationship with sex. By centering voices and experiences that typically get left out of anthologies like this, we get to witness a multidimensional sexuality meditation through the lens of discovery, exploration, and joy. What a gift!

The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, (List Price: $28, Astra House, 9781662650819,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Eden Hakimzadeh, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad

White Tears/Brown Scars is an eye opening book for anyone like me who has not experienced racism on a daily basis. As a white woman, I felt I was the perfect audience for what Ruby Hamad had to say. While discussing race and racism is an uncomfortable topic for many people, Ruby shows us the importance of remaining calm, seeing, and hearing the concerns of our BIPOC colleagues, friends and neighbors. I truly appreciated this book.

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, (List Price: $16.95, Catapult, 9781948226745, October 2021)

Reviewed by Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman

What can I say about Women and Other Monsters other than READ THIS NOW!? I picked this book up with full-blown curiosity, ignited by my love of mythology and strong belief in the women’s rights movement. Jess Zimmerman uses her own life experiences, mingled with monsters of ancient myth, to bring light to the ugly truth of what it means to be a woman. We are monsters–for our individuality, determination, free spirits, desires and ambitions, and our less-than-perfect bodies. At least that’s what the world wants us to believe. I found pieces of myself in every chapter, and discovered just how much I wanted that to change. I highly recommend this book to women of all colors and ages, trans women, non-binary gentlefolk, and those looking for insight.

Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman (List Price: $25.95, Beacon Press, 9780807054932, 5/11/2021)

Reviewed by Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

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