Best Feminist Fiction

Fiction of which feminism* is a primary theme. Stories about people challenging and overcoming gender roles, sexism, discrimination, etc.

*Feminism is a range of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.

(Please only add fiction books to this list)
101

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4.15 avg rating — 535,271 ratings
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102

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4.27 avg rating — 84,018 ratings
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103

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3.90 avg rating — 15,830 ratings
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104

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4.28 avg rating — 54,386 ratings
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105

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3.71 avg rating — 4,733 ratings
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106

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4.20 avg rating — 63,952 ratings
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106

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4.50 avg rating — 17,340 ratings
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108

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3.90 avg rating — 137,837 ratings
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109

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3.71 avg rating — 214,673 ratings
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110

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3.98 avg rating — 125,277 ratings
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111

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4.21 avg rating — 14,571 ratings
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112

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4.46 avg rating — 66,340 ratings
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113

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3.89 avg rating — 19,404 ratings
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114

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4.01 avg rating — 53,193 ratings
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115

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3.89 avg rating — 235 ratings
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116

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4.23 avg rating — 51,820 ratings
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117

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4.25 avg rating — 79,843 ratings
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118

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3.95 avg rating — 2,094 ratings
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119

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4.07 avg rating — 61,869 ratings
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120

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4.13 avg rating — 110,322 ratings
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121

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3.89 avg rating — 128,570 ratings
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122

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3.83 avg rating — 45,489 ratings
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123

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3.77 avg rating — 22,206 ratings
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124

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4.29 avg rating — 56 ratings
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125

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4.04 avg rating — 64,667 ratings
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126

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3.98 avg rating — 112,377 ratings
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127

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4.10 avg rating — 42,935 ratings
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128

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4.08 avg rating — 97,183 ratings
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129

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4.25 avg rating — 48,098 ratings
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130

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4.15 avg rating — 388,424 ratings
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131

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4.22 avg rating — 719,032 ratings
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132

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3.67 avg rating — 24,527 ratings
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133

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3.78 avg rating — 1,029,712 ratings
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134

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3.78 avg rating — 54 ratings
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135

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3.99 avg rating — 38,943 ratings
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136

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4.14 avg rating — 8,007 ratings
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137

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3.56 avg rating — 189 ratings
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138

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3.79 avg rating — 6,694 ratings
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139

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3.77 avg rating — 213,487 ratings
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140

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 76,069 ratings
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141

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4.59 avg rating — 12,785 ratings
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142

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3.96 avg rating — 69,597 ratings
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143

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4.31 avg rating — 16,478 ratings
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144

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3.73 avg rating — 37,107 ratings
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145

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3.74 avg rating — 26,841 ratings
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146

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4.21 avg rating — 48,287 ratings
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147

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4.25 avg rating — 4,781 ratings
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148

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4.45 avg rating — 1,775,482 ratings
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149

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3.94 avg rating — 29,309 ratings
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150

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4.29 avg rating — 74,505 ratings
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151

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4.19 avg rating — 9,202 ratings
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152

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4.11 avg rating — 71,028 ratings
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153

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3.90 avg rating — 166,815 ratings
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154

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4.39 avg rating — 99,442 ratings
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154

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4.04 avg rating — 451,506 ratings
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156

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3.85 avg rating — 109,621 ratings
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157

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4.33 avg rating — 64,794 ratings
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158

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3.90 avg rating — 5,912 ratings
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159

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4.16 avg rating — 77,837 ratings
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160

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3.76 avg rating — 182,453 ratings
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161

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3.78 avg rating — 109,525 ratings
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162

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4.23 avg rating — 236,052 ratings
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163

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3.79 avg rating — 44,784 ratings
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164

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4.06 avg rating — 200,630 ratings
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165

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3.53 avg rating — 549,107 ratings
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166

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3.69 avg rating — 21,740 ratings
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166

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3.47 avg rating — 806 ratings
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168

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3.98 avg rating — 37,641 ratings
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169

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3.52 avg rating — 55,208 ratings
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170

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4.15 avg rating — 34,691 ratings
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171

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3.82 avg rating — 5,230 ratings
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172

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3.87 avg rating — 2,810 ratings
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173

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3.31 avg rating — 1,819 ratings
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173

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3.70 avg rating — 1,192,008 ratings
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175

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3.61 avg rating — 1,872 ratings
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176

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3.98 avg rating — 216,412 ratings
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176

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3.90 avg rating — 29,320 ratings
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178

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3.88 avg rating — 10,759 ratings
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179

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3.90 avg rating — 105,333 ratings
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180

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3.96 avg rating — 474,841 ratings
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181

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3.92 avg rating — 80,858 ratings
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182

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3.68 avg rating — 5,085 ratings
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183

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3.54 avg rating — 5,388 ratings
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184

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3.81 avg rating — 128,336 ratings
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185

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3.86 avg rating — 519,196 ratings
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186

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4.37 avg rating — 60 ratings
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186

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3.77 avg rating — 190 ratings
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188

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3.78 avg rating — 7,790 ratings
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189

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3.50 avg rating — 29,793 ratings
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190

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3.76 avg rating — 261 ratings
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191

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3.67 avg rating — 13,904 ratings
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192

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3.90 avg rating — 373,390 ratings
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193

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3.95 avg rating — 13,136 ratings
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194

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4.01 avg rating — 7,637 ratings
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195

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3.92 avg rating — 9,196 ratings
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196

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3.76 avg rating — 55,234 ratings
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197

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4.24 avg rating — 5,342 ratings
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198

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4.48 avg rating — 175,841 ratings
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199

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3.81 avg rating — 1,687 ratings
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200

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3.90 avg rating — 6,258 ratings
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flag this list (?)
1,343 books · 2,782 voters · list created June 22nd, 2008 by Brimate (votes) .
985 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Brimate 459 books
43 friends
Jessica 3738 books
118 friends
Diana 583 books
144 friends
Euni 1300 books
76 friends
Shelly 1668 books
34 friends
Jessica 1233 books
357 friends
M 1461 books
0 friends
Wealhtheow 4011 books
672 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 71 (71 new)


message 1: by Erik (new)

Erik Lysistrata ought to be on there.


message 2: by Bethany (new)

Bethany This list just states at the top, that might just be a specification for this list, that these books need to be written by women? Curiosity compels me to ask whether this is justfor this list or whether feminist fiction can be written by males.

I would like to think that feminist fiction can be written be males or females and for a book to have a central feminist theme does not necessarily mean its author has to be female also.


message 3: by Beyad (new)

Beyad yes i paused at seeing khaled hosseini there. and too bad no anais nin


message 4: by Derya (new)

Derya A Room of One's Own for the win!


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen Burke Gone With the friggin' Wind? Seriously...


message 6: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Persson i wouldn't consider half of these to be feminist fiction


message 7: by Briar Rose (new)

Briar Rose A number of these aren't even fiction - Dance of the Dissident Daughter, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson and A Vindication on the Rights of Women, among others.


message 8: by Lucy (new)

Lucy M. What on Earth is Gone With the Wind doing on this list?


message 9: by Serenity (new)

Serenity Murillo Beyad wrote: "yes i paused at seeing khaled hosseini there. and too bad no anais nin"

I was looking for Anais Nin too. I liked her perspective


message 10: by jo (last edited Dec 23, 2010 09:05PM) (new)

jo feminist fiction can be written by men or women, IMMO.

also, i love a room of one's own and three guineas, but neither is fiction. they should not be here.


message 11: by Karyn (new)

Karyn I don't think Gone with the Wind is totally out there. Scarlett O'Hara is a woman who bucks the standards of how a woman is supposed to act, in particular, running her own business and taking men on as equals. Of course, she's very silly in her love life...


message 12: by Mindy (new)

Mindy Wonderful list. Funny thing is I own most of these and haven't had the time to read them. Thanks for reminding me.


message 13: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Reviving Ophelia is not fiction.


message 14: by Baxter (new)

Baxter Trautman If you like strong female characters check out the latest from Lambda Literary Award nominee, Baxter Clare Trautman. The River Within follows three women whose bonds are strained, reforged, and ultimately strengthened as they struggle to choose between the lives they think they should have and the lives they want.


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Bethany wrote: "This list just states at the top, that might just be a specification for this list, that these books need to be written by women? Curiosity compels me to ask whether this is justfor this list or wh..."

If you'll notice, His Dark Materials is high on the list (quite rightly, in my opinion) and it's written by Philip Pullman. Feminist books can be written by men, it's just rarer to find them.


message 16: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Well, I cleaned off some of the obvious non-fiction books, but I'm really disappointed that this list has been turned into garbage. From 'feminist' to 'has a female character' - it's a crying shame.


message 17: by Amalie (new)

Amalie You know some of the books in this list cannot be called "feminist" fiction, only the writers just happens to be feminists. And others... what on earth "Alice in Wonderland" doing here?


message 18: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Carolyn wrote: "Well, I cleaned off some of the obvious non-fiction books, but I'm really disappointed that this list has been turned into garbage. From 'feminist' to 'has a female character' - it's a crying shame."

Npersson wrote: "i wouldn't consider half of these to be feminist fiction"

I totally agree. Some people need to study feminism before adding to this list. Wuthering Heights as feminist fiction? Please! Having a female heroin or female author does not make a character or story feminist! Some of these characters and authors actually reinforce negative stereotypes that feminists fought to overcome.


message 19: by Joan (new)

Joan Lerner Add: A 2011 Award Winning Finalist in the Fiction Chick/Lit Women's Lit category (there was no category for Feminism) of USA Book News, "Among Us Women" by Joan Lerner has important social and political issues about women and their aim for independence and choice.


message 20: by David (new)

David Cate Fosl's biography of Anne Braden should be included.


message 21: by Ingrid (new)

Ingrid The Bluest Eye is one of my favourite books, but Pecola definitely doesn't "overcome" her discrimination in the end... quite the opposite, actually. hmm.


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica David wrote: "Cate Fosl's biography of Anne Braden should be included."

Key word: Fiction.


message 23: by Briar Rose (new)

Briar Rose Katherine wrote: "Y The Last Man has extremely misogynistic stereotypes. If the scientific inaccuracies, WTF moments, and misogynistic stereotypes were removed it could be considered feminist ..."

+1. It's a book about a world full of women, but it's completely focussed on the one man and tells his story. So while it's got a lot of female characters, that's not enough to qualify it as a feminist work.


message 24: by Lyon (new)

Lyon I'd like to note that the original title for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is called Men who Hate Women, so feminist? I really don't think so,especially(Spoiler) when almost every female in the book throws herself at Blomkvist and sleeps with him.


message 25: by David (new)

David They choose Blomkvist. Even feminists like love and sex. He is a good guy.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

On the books where the women commit suicide ...is that a positive feminist statement????? I don't think so.


message 27: by David (new)

David Alice wrote: "David wrote: "They choose Blomkvist. Even feminists like love and sex. He is a good guy."

he is a sleezeball IMO but Salander is sure tough!"

You seem to be very judgmental and puritanical.Blomkvist is not a sleezeball.


message 28: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Carolyn wrote: "Well, I cleaned off some of the obvious non-fiction books, but I'm really disappointed that this list has been turned into garbage. From 'feminist' to 'has a female character' - it's a crying shame."


Seriously.


message 29: by Brimate (last edited Feb 15, 2012 04:40PM) (new)

Brimate So how can we change the list to better fit the original idea? Does anyone have the capability to remove books? Is Carolyn still around?


message 30: by Ibrahim (last edited Apr 16, 2012 08:22AM) (new)

Ibrahim Honestly? Hunger Games got a higher ranking than The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo??? This is just jokes,watch out! we just got another hunger games fangirl here!


message 31: by L (last edited Apr 26, 2012 04:47PM) (new)

L I just added The Woman Warrior and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents on there. Not there already? Really?!


message 32: by L (new)

L Brimate wrote: "So how can we change the list to better fit the original idea? Does anyone have the capability to remove books? Is Carolyn still around?"

Btw I think any librarian should be able to do so.


message 33: by Max (new)

Max Some of the books here are not exactly feminist. Speak is an empowering YA novel but it's not really feminist. Also, why is Hunger Games here? It's not at all feminist just because it has a female protagonist.


message 34: by L (new)

L I think a definition of feminism is in order. As Max indirectly points out, female-empowering is not necessarily the same as feminist - so how do we define this?


message 35: by Gargi (new)

Gargi Bethany wrote: "This list just states at the top, that might just be a specification for this list, that these books need to be written by women? Curiosity compels me to ask whether this is justfor this list or wh..."

It has Husseini and Tolstoy too.


message 36: by Diamondgemstones (new)

Diamondgemstones The Hunger Games? Really? :(


message 37: by Hoyadaisy (new)

Hoyadaisy What a good list, but a lot of people are putting books that just have a woman as the main character but aren't necessarily feminist. As Leah et al. suggest that's a hard thing to define, as women are not a monolith. Could a working def. be "Wishing to document and improve the status of women or to explore the complex culture of women." (I put "complex" in to avoid a "Lifetime: Television for Women" view of the culture of women.)

As for "The Hunger Games," I think it's thorny. Put a girl warrior in a book 50 years ago, that's feminist. Put a girl warrior in a book now, with no special barriers or skills because she's a woman, I think, "Not so much."

Anyway, kudos to list maker who is getting 6 million replies.


message 38: by Hoyadaisy (new)

Hoyadaisy Sorry all, I wrote that after one page. I'm dying: lots of books by men. Huge issue whether a man's book should be here, but I see lots of books by men, many of which I enjoyed, but that do strike me as so valuable on the subject of women that they ought to be included. At minimum, bar should be higher.

And the chick lit. It's an insulting term, but it does describe fiction that looks at women in a really naive, uncomplicated way and isn't impressive as writing. I can't look beyond the third page...


message 39: by Amy (new)

Amy Why is Memoirs of a Geisha on this list? Blergh!


message 40: by pattrice (new)

pattrice How is The Help--which was condemned by the Association of Black Women Historians--on this list????


message 41: by Yeliz (new)

Yeliz What a joke you are, the Goodreads reader. Hunger Games, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... Oh my.


message 42: by Liz (new)

Liz The Scarlett Letter? Just pointing out that it was hard to be a woman in Puritan society is not feminist. It just sucks. And Atlas Shrugged? Maybe I need feminism redefined for me because the current understanding I have computes with very little on this list.


message 43: by Pixieg (new)

Pixieg Great list!


message 44: by Marne (new)

Marne Wilson I removed Reading Lolita in Tehran and Women Who Run with Wolves because both are nonfiction, and this list is called Best Feminist *Fiction*. There are a bunch of other books that make me cringe because they sure don't seem feminist to me, but if I started on them I'd be here all day!


message 45: by Ðɑηηɑ (new)

Ðɑηηɑ TWILIGHT???!!! HOW?!


message 46: by Daisy (new)

Daisy Delaney wrote: "The Travelers by Delaney Henderson"

Absolutely!


message 47: by Kelley (new)

Kelley Ceccato How is "His Majesty's Dragon" (662) a feminist book? A woman wrote it, but that alone certainly would not qualify it for inclusion on this list.


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Defining what is a feminist book is incredibly tricky. I can see how the list got watered down--when it comes to politics, everyone's heard that "if you believe women should be paid the same as men for the same work, you're a feminist"--apply the same principle to books and you can see why people might vote for anything with a female protagonist.

My personal definition wouldn't be as narrow as the one that's in the list description right now: a book doesn't have to depict characters struggling with sexism to be feminist. Books focusing on women and their concerns, depicting positive relationships among them, etc., can absolutely be feminist without any discrimination involved. But I am inclined to say that a book has to be saying something about gender to be feminist, and to agree with the commenter above who said that in this day and age, just having a tough female protag a la The Hunger Games doesn't necessarily cut it.

But then, The Hunger Games isn't un-feminist either--it just didn't strike me as dealing with gender in any particular way. The books I really question are the ones by men depicting women trying to get men, like Memoirs of a Geisha, or where the female character is really just there to reflect the awesomeness of the male characters, like Atlas Shrugged. And I never did get Their Eyes Were Watching God--the protag gets beaten by her husband and considers it a sign of love, what the hell is feminist about that?--although I had to read it at age 13 or something and am willing to allow that I might have missed something.


message 49: by Melinda (new)

Melinda Removed A Room of One's Own (nonfiction).


message 50: by Victoria (last edited Jan 30, 2014 06:57PM) (new)

Victoria Memoirs of a Geisha? A fetishizing, gross piece of cultural appropriation? Really? Ugh.


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