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What She Reads

In celebration of Women's History Month, the Sawyer Free Library asked a variety of local women to share their picks for books they love or have been inspired by that are written by fellow women. Click on a name to see their recommendations. 

Wuthering heights by Brontë, Emily
A long petal of the sea : a novel by Allende, Isabel
Detransition, baby : a novel by Peters, Torrey
The fifth season by Jemisin, N. K.
The golem and the jinni : a novel by Wecker, Helene.
A visit from the Goon Squad by Egan, Jennifer
My brilliant friend by Ferrante, Elena
The story of a new name by Ferrante, Elena
The story of the lost child by Ferrante, Elena
Those who leave and those who stay by Ferrante, Elena
The nightingale by Hannah, Kristin.
Station eleven : a novel by Mandel, Emily St. John
Bring up the bodies : a novel by Mantel, Hilary
The mirror & the light by Mantel, Hilary
Charming Billy by McDermott, Alice.
Child of my heart by McDermott, Alice.
Song of Solomon by Morrison, Toni.
Where the crawdads sing by Owens, Delia
Bel canto : a novel by Patchett, Ann.
The shipping news by Proulx, Annie.
The god of small things by Roy, Arundhati.
Major Pettigrew
The Joy Luck Club by Tan, Amy.
Persepolis by Satrapi, Marjane
Becoming by Obama, Michelle
Holy envy : finding God in the faith of others by Taylor, Barbara Brown
A room of one
Operating instructions : a journal of my son
My life so far by Fonda, Jane
Personal history by Graham, Katharine
The woman warrior : memoirs of a girlhood among ghosts by Kingston, Maxine Hong.
Traveling mercies : some thoughts on faith by Lamott, Anne.
Unbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Hillenbrand, Laura.
The house on Mango Street by Cisneros, Sandra.
Still Alice : a novel by Genova, Lisa.
Group : how one therapist and a circle of strangers saved my life by Tate, Christie
The dressmaker
Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by
Moomin. the complete Tove Jansson comic strip   Volume one : by Jansson, Tove.
Collected poems of Emily Dickinson by Dickinson, Emily
The collected poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 by Clifton, Lucille
Little women by Alcott, Louisa May
The secret garden by Burnett, Frances Hodgson
Miss Rumphius by Cooney, Barbara
Harry Potter and the sorcerer
Wide Sargasso Sea by Rhys, Jean.

Also, check out this list of books by women from around the world to celebrate International Women's Day. 

Jenny Benedict

Director - Sawyer Free Library

Between 2007 and 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada heard from more than 6,500 witnesses about the Indian residential school system which removed 150,000 children from their own culture from the late 1890s up until 1996.  In 2015, the Commission released an extensive 6 volume report of its findings which documented the history and lasting impacts of the system on Indigenous students and their families, as well as “94 Calls to Action” to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

In 2017, West Vancouver Memorial Library, where I served as the Library Director, embarked on a multi-year, multi-faceted program, Honouring Reconciliation:  Hearing the Truth, designed to expand the community’s understanding of local Indigenous history, the impacts of colonialism and its ongoing effects on Indigenous Peoples. The Board and staff initiated the building of a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on trust and mutual respect, and focused on establishing a practice of reconciliation.

In the second year, the Library held a Reading Challenge, inviting the community to expand their awareness of the strength and resilience Indigenous peoples have shown in the face of intolerance, a lack of understanding and racism. The booklist for the Reading Challenge featured seventeen titles selected by Chief Robert Joseph of Reconciliation Canada which aimed to expose people to crucial texts for understanding and empathizing with Indigenous history and experience.

Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga, forever changed my perceptions of Indigenous peoples, Canadians, racism, the police and justice systems, and human rights.  The book is a sweeping narrative of seven Indigenous high school students who died in Thunder Bay, Ontario over the span of eleven years between 2000 and 2011. The deeply personal stories crack open the systemic racism, poverty and powerlessness that contribute to the generational issues faced by Indigenous peoples.

While the stories are tragic and harrowing, they are told with a depth of compassion for all involved. They inspired me to delve more deeply into indigenous ways of knowing and the meaning of what it is to be “educated.” Most of all, the book galvanized my commitment to supporting Indigenous cultural revitalization.

Seven Fallen Feathers

by: Tanya Talaga



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