tiny library: we should all be feminists.

April 16, 2015

A new little series featuring quicky reviews of what I’ve been reading lately. Books of all sizes considered.
tiny book review: we should all be feminists | reading my tea leavesWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Five words: Smart. Practical. Succinct. Elegant. Empowering.

Plus a few more: This (literally) tiny volume—an essay adapted from Adichie’s TEDx talk of the same name—is adorable, but that’s not the reason to read it. Nigerian-born writer Adichie tackles 21st century issues of feminism and equality in an essay that reminds us of how far we’ve come and how far we’ve got to go. Potentially depressing but ultimately uplifting, Adichie’s focus on reassessing the way we raise our children was especially poignant for me.

Here’s a tiny taste: “Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.” “What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?”


For bookshelf or borrowing?: This is the kind of book that belongs on a bookshelf. Or maybe on a bathroom shelf. You know, smart reading for lingering guests. You could read this in one sitting at the bookstore, but you’re going to want to want to return to it and even in a small space, it won’t crowd you out.


Your turn: Have you read it? What did you think? Read another amazing book lately? Spill.

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39 Comments

  • Reply welliewalks April 16, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    funny- i just read this yesterday! i checked it out from the library. 🙂

  • Reply jsoxford.net April 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    This one has been on my list for a long time ever since I heard the talk. I'm glad to hear it was well loved. I'll bump that up the list for sure. 🙂

    • Reply Erin April 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Haven't listened to the talk! I imagine it's quite similar to the book—but so nice to have something tangible to refer back to!

  • Reply M April 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I read this recently and loved it, such a good reminder and a quick read. After I finished, I read The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which is also a really good read, and it was really interesting reading it after reading this one, it was a good combination.

    • Reply Erin April 16, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Agreed! I read that years and years ago, but remember loving!

  • Reply Alie April 16, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Have you read the Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill? It's readable in one sitting and so poignant and lovely!

    • Reply Erin April 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Oh! Adding to the list!

    • Reply sarah::edgeofevening April 25, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Oh, yes, another recommendation for Dept of Speculation here. Truly wonderful. It captures life with a small child with its strange, dislocating loss-of-self better than any other book I can think of, and it does it in the most beautiful, spare prose. Negotiating similar territory in a completely different way, Elisa Albert's After Birth is also a fantastic read. Love this new series!

  • Reply Suzy April 16, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I enjoyed this recently, myself, only being familiar with her short fiction. Currently, I have been slowly devouring (oxymoron but still) Women in Clothes, and it's been a good friend to the complex journey of becoming both more and less interested in my wardrobe (as has your writing, to be sure). I'm excited to see what's in store for this new feature!

  • Reply Christine Amorose April 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Adding this to my reading list!

  • Reply Hannah S April 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I just finished reading this last week and loved it. I first borrowed it from the library but after finishing it ended up ordering it from Amazon too. It sits perfectly in our bathroom collection 🙂

    • Reply Erin April 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Ha! Perfect.

  • Reply mandy April 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you, Erin! I LOVE that you're staring this series. Brava!

    • Reply Erin April 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Hooray (and thanks!)!

  • Reply KCB April 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I just gave this book to a friend as a birthday present last week! Great review!

  • Reply Elizabeth April 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I just finished Simplicity Parenting. Very good – although I imagine you've already read it?

    • Reply Erin April 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Yes! So good!

  • Reply Georgie April 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I love this book! Have you read any of her fiction? I'd really, REALLY recommend 'Americanah'. One of the best, most uncomfortable books I've ever read. Also, love the new series, I'm excited for more! x

    • Reply Anna April 17, 2015 at 11:35 am

      I second Americanah! I also recently read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler which is a seriously beautiful book about siblings.

  • Reply Alexa April 16, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    i am SO excited for this series!

  • Reply Jocelyn April 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Love this new series!!!

  • Reply Janna April 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    For fiction – I read "What Alice Forgot" and "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty this year and they were both hilarious and thought provoking at the same time!

    For nonfiction – I always recommend "Parenting Inc" by Pamela Paul and "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan and "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.

    I have no idea if these are the kind of books you read – I haven't been reading your blog long, but I love books so I thought I would comment! 🙂

  • Reply Vanessa April 16, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Adding this to my list now! As for what I'm reading, I just started Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life and I can already tell I'm going to love this (looonnnnggg) book.

  • Reply Simone April 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I love this book (and everything Chimamanda does)! I highly recommend watching the TED talk, and if you've got a spare hour, this fantastic conversation between her and Zadie Smith (another favorite author of mine) is incredibly inspiring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkeCun9aljY

  • Reply Brenna Kinkaid April 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Adichie is an excellent writer. I also loved Half of A Yellow Sun by her. I've also heard great things about Americanah by her as well.

    I just finished How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are (Love, Style, and Bad Habits) by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophia Mas. It was hilarious.

  • Reply Brenna Kinkaid April 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Also, a few other amazing titles in the same feminist vein — Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor — two of my favorite reads during my Women's Studies classes.

  • Reply Emma April 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Erin what a great idea for a series-I'm so glad you're doing it! I recently read Americanah and loved it- will definitely check this one out.

  • Reply Nicole Krensky April 17, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Hi Erin, I haven't commented before but I am excited about this series! Reading this prompted me to tell you about my father-in-law, who is a children's book author, because over the last couple years he came out with a series of board books for children (all about empowerment) that for a while now I have thought are very much your style. Simple and sweet and absolutely beautiful illustrations. His name is Stephen Krensky and my favorite of the books is "I Can Do It Myself." (As a side note, Sara from Bonzo, Chooch, Mushy, and Me featured the books on her blog a couple months ago! The three other titles are "Now I Am Big," "I Know A Lot," and "I Am So Brave").

    Faye is probably a little young for them, but they are made to stand up to "kid treatment" and I really think you would enjoy them… I promise this isn't just a plug for my father-in-law (who seriously is the nicest man ever, by the way). They are all on Amazon, if you ever want to check them out.

    Anyway, thank you for your blog generally. It's a bright spot in my week whenever you post 🙂

  • Reply Rachel April 17, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    I love the format of this review and the fact that this is the one you started with! <3

  • Reply deirdrereid.com April 17, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I'm seconding Brenna's recommendation above: Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie was one of my favorite books of the year when I read it a few years ago.

    Another book you all might like, Life Is a Verb by Patti Digh. I first read it years ago but just revisited it at the beginning of this year. It was fantastic again.

    I'm finishing Essentialism right now (Greg McKeown), I love its message.

  • Reply Anonymous May 13, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Besides, it's pretty!

    Sorry, it's been a long and tiring day and the first thing that struck me was the pretty cover. But I also clicked the link and read the excerpt on Amazon, which inspired me to watch the TED talk, which in turn inspired me to put the book on my Amazon wishlist, because it's pretty, not only on outside, but on the inside as well.

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