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17 Nonfiction Books By Female Authors For Your 2018 Reading List

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We started with fiction picks (all by female authors) and now we are on to the women of nonfiction including authors of memoirs, advice guides and essay collections. Prepare to find your new career, wrap your head around the way the world really works, or just get super-absorbed on the subway on your way home from work. No matter what, you win. Spoiler: If you're a regular Levo reader, you may recognize some of the authors on this list. 

1. Getting Off: One Woman’s Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza (Jan 9)

When I saw this title I was immediately intrigued and in awe of the sheer courage it would take to write this memoir. Erica is a fantastic writer who you’ve surely read before on Salon, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, Bustle, you name it. And if you like me have read and loved Did You Ever Have a Family Like Mine, this quote from Bill Clegg will inspire you to pick this book up: “Erica Garza’s Getting Off, is an unvarnished portrait of one the most difficult rooms to describe in the dark house of addiction; it is also a frank account of leaving. Garza does not make the escape look easy, nor does she give credit to one way out, but it is clear that the telling is an important part. For her. For all of us. As she describes so beautifully in these pages, it starts with pressing the bruise, locating the shame, and letting it go.”

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2. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins (Jan 13)

Morgan Jenkins is a brilliant writer and fierce critic (you have no doubt read her work), and I am one of a legion of women who has been itching to devour this collection of essays on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism. Roxane Gay writes, “From one essay to the next, Jerkins weaves the personal with the public and political in compelling, challenging ways. Her prodigious intellect and curiosity are on full display throughout this outstanding collection. The last line of the book reads, ‘You should’ve known I was coming,’ and indeed, in this, too, Jerkins is prescient. With this collection, she shows us that she is unforgettably here, a writer to be reckoned with.” Need. A copy. Now.

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3.You're Not Lost: An Inspired Action Plan for Finding Your Own Way by Maxie McCoy (August)

Finally, a manifesto for a generation of women who don’t know where they’re going. If you're familiar with Maxie's work on Levo, you know, she's a straight-shooter with a gift for dropping nuggets of wisdom that make sense out of our crazy career journey. This book offers a solution for anyone feeling lost along the way: believing in yourself.  

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4. Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer (Feb 6)

 The title of this was enough to make me hit “pre-order,” but in case you need more information… this is a personal and sociological examination—and celebration—of the evolution of female friendship in pop culture, academia, and modern society. From Broad City to Big Little Lies to Girls Trip, the stories being told about female friendships are changing—for the better.  

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5. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Feb 20)

Wow. “Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.” This is Tara’s story of teaching herself enough to take the ACT, be admitted to Brigham Young, and educate herself. Sounds to me like a must-read for fans of The Glass Castle.

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6. Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. by Beverly Bond (Feb 27)

Beverly Bond is a women’s empowerment leader, entrepreneur, mentor, philanthropist, celebrity DJ, cultural curator and social innovator who founded Black Girls Rock! in 2006. Her work as a businesswoman and community leader has earned major accolades, from being included on Ebony magazine’s Power 100 list of most influential Blacks in America to three NAACP Image Awards. This inspiring and beautifully designed book pays tribute the the achievements and contributions of black women around the world, from Michelle Obama to Angela Davis to Shonda Rhimes to Misty Copeland and beyond. Buy it for your moms, you sisters, your friends, your cousins, your aunts—pure energy and empowerment.

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7. Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri (March 27)

 The concept of this book alone might make you weep, but power through with me—Dear Madam President is an empowering letter from former Hillary Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to the first woman president, and by extension, to all women working to succeed in any field. The publisher’s description boldly claims that this book “will turn the results of the 2016 election into something incredibly empowering for future female leaders and independent thinkers everywhere.” And hey, I’m willing to try. 

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8. Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards (April 3)

Speaking of people who didn’t falter for a second post-election… Cecile Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood, daughter of the late Governor Ann Richards, a featured speaker at the Women’s March on Washington, and “the heroine of the resistance” (Vogue). This too is a Touchstone book and you might remember that I work there. But definitely don’t let that stop you from learning to make trouble from one of the all-time great troublemakers of our time.

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9. The Gutsy Girl Handbook by Kate White (April 3)

Kate White: New York Times bestselling author, former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo (and four other major magazines), Levo regular, complete and utter badass. You will remember her recent career manifesto I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This (which I still refer to probably once a month), but she also wrote the bestselling career bible of the 90s, Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do. Now she’s back, presenting the nine core principles that have guided her throughout her blockbuster career—and you’re gonna want to pay attention.

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10. Can’t Help Myself: Lessons and Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist by Meredith Goldstein (April 3)

As someone who was writing articles about career advice when I was still in college, I definitely DON’T relate to this at all….*cough* *cough* “Every day, Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein takes on the relationship problems of thousands of dedicated readers. They look to her for wisdom on all matters of the heart- how to cope with dating fatigue and infidelity, work romances, tired marriages, true love, and true loss. In her column, she has it all figured out, but in her real life she is a lot less certain…. After her mother is diagnosed with cancer that she truly realizes how special her Love Letters community is, how this column has enriched her life as much, if not more than, it has for its readers.”

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11. You All Grow Up And Leave Me by Piper Weiss (April 10)

All loyal Levo readers will recognize the name Piper Weiss. He new memoir, You All Grow Up And Leave Me, is a terrifying mix of true crime and coming-of-age story about growing up in '90s Manhattan and the child predator who crossed her path. Megan Abbott calls Piper's blended narrative and journalistic account "rich and revelatory." Her retelling of a once high-profile crime makes this a terrifying and timely exploration into the minds of child predators.

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12. The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser (April 17)

Fran Hauser is a long-time media executive, startup investor (including Levo!), and celebrated champion of women and girls who has held senior positions at some of the world’s largest digital media businesses, including People, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, and AOL. Recently named one of Refinery29’s “6 Most Powerful Women in NYC’s Tech Scene,” Fran is a force to be reckoned with—and when she dispenses career advice, we sit down and listen.

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13. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay (May 1)

I already know this is going to be incredibly difficult to read as Roxane does not pull punches and I’m sure your rage around this topic, like mine, is hovering very close to the surface right now. HOWEVER, it is urgent and essential. I think I might just buy 50 copies and go around handing them out to men on the subway. Join me?

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14. I’m Just Happy To Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering by Janelle Hanchett (May 1)

Millennial moms out there (current or future)—this one’s for you! From the creator of the blog "Renegade Mothering," I’m Just Happy To Be Here is a totally candid, darkly funny, and ultimately empowering memoir chronicling Janelle’s tumultuous journey from young motherhood to the depths of addiction and a recovery she never imagined possible. Jill Smokler, author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy, writes, “Janelle Hanchett presents motherhood as we seldom see it: with irreverent humor, brazen honesty, deep love and loss. Her story is about finding peace right in the mess of motherhood, and that's what makes it wonderful."

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15. Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey (May 22)

Finally!!!! The description of this book couldn’t be less consequential. Franchesca Ramsey has put words in a book, and we shall all read it together. But if you really want to know, it's got all the good stuff: the story of "What White Girls Say. . . to Black Girls" going viral, what happens when you're forced into the national spotlight, the foot-in-mouth moments, the badass moments, and the most important lessons she's learned along the way—including how to deal with internet trolls.

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16. Many Love: A Memoir of Polyamory and Finding Love(s) by Sophie Lucido Johnson (June 26)

Many Love is a book about unconventional relationships that is like no other book about unconventional relationships. It is not a boring, academic exploration nor is it a tacky, salacious tell-all. It’s a beautifully written, unflinchingly honest, and utterly charming illustrated memoir about one woman’s journey from serial monogamist to proud polyamorist. This is another book being published by my imprint and I couldn’t be more proud to be working on it. You will fall in love with Sophie on page one.

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17. Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life by Amanda Stern (May 15)

The publisher’s description is too good to ignore here: “The world never made any sense to Amanda Stern—how could she trust time to keep flowing, the sun to rise, gravity to hold her feet to the ground, or even her own body to work the way it was supposed to? Deep down, she knows that there's something horribly wrong with her, some defect that her siblings and friends don't have to cope with. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s in New York, Amanda experiences the magic and madness of life through the filter of unrelenting panic.” I cannot wait to read this.

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*All of the books we love, we link to through our affiliate partnership with Amazon, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. Thanks, fellow book-lovers.

(Image courtesy of Getty)

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