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Today's Bestselling Female Authors in Honor of Women's History Month

In March we celebrate Women’s History Month, a movement that was spearheaded by the National Women’s History Alliance and gives recognition to the women, past and present, who have devoted their lives to producing art, pursuing the truth, and showcasing their talents to create a better world for all. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”, with a focus on women who have been active in the multimedia industry: podcasters, pioneering journalists, teachers, playwrights, and many more. Through the accomplishments of influential women, the voiceless were given voices and a new wave of information and entertainment broke into the mainstream, reaching critical heights in the pathway to progress. The theme of 2023 goes hand in hand with what libraries strive to do–sharing stories that expand our understanding and strengthen our connections to each other. 

From the homemakers to the career movers and shakers, this blog post is an ode to all women through the sundry amalgamation of stories presented in 12 books. Featuring some of the most prolific women writers and profound characters of 2022 and 2023, these are the books that should belong on your TBR (To Be Read) list! 

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The Faraway World 

Patricia Engel, a Colombian-American writer who has been a Reese’s Book Club pick, shares a collection of short stories in this book set across the Americas, linked by the themes of class distinction, migration, sacrifice, and moral compromise. In her sensitive portrayal of human relationships, these stories highlight the vibrancy of community and the underrated, quiet moments of love that hold the power to change everything. 

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Someone Else's Shoes

This novel is about–you guessed it–walking in someone else’s shoes. What would it be like if two women of vastly different economic statuses were forced to swap lives? With a contemporary, relatable setting, this touching story gives thoughtful examination to the effects of depression and the complexity of family dynamics made with well-rounded, three-dimensional characters. This is a great read for fans of The Devil Wears Prada or the Finlay Donovan series!

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Old Babes in the Wood 

Written by internationally acclaimed dystopian author Margaret Atwood, this latest book makes a return to her short fiction for the first time since 2014. Filled with wit and intellect, the title story explores alienation and miscommunication with a classic folklore twist. At the heart of the collection are seven stories that follow a married couple across the decades, where the themes of uncommon love and loss are prominent, and what it means to work together to solve the question of what spending a life in unity looks like. True to her tone, this book brings readers both devastation and illumination.

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Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age 

Author and podcaster Katherine May’s spellbinding self-help memoir shows readers how they can marvel at the goodness in the world during times of high anxiety and uncertainty. Full of inspiration for when you feel exhausted or directionless, this book–among her others–has been deemed a good read for women in their twenties and beyond who may be grappling with existential issues or who are overwhelmed in the grind of constant change. Blending lyricism and empathy, Enchantment reminds us of the magic that can always be found within the mundane. 

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*Strong Female Character 

Scottish comedian Fern Brady weaves an intertwining tale of womanhood and neurodiversity in this top-rated memoir about life after being diagnosed with autism. Using her voice as a working class woman, Brady challenges societal expectations placed on women and brings the conversation on domestic abuse and mental health to the forefront. This book comes with a healing message on traumatic experiences that’s full of sharp humor and unflinching vulnerability. 

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Carrie Soto is Back 

Taylor Jenkins Reid, a familiar favorite at our library, doles out another riveting beach read in this story of a tennis legend keen on defending her record and her legacy in the sports world despite pushback due to her age. This novel alludes to the double standards women can face for showing ambition and the determination to win when it comes to their goals. The moral of the story can best be summarized by the words of actress Michelle Yeoh, “don’t let anybody tell you you’re ever past your prime.” If you like historical fiction and epic heroines, this is the book for you!

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What My Bones Know 

Malaysian-American investigative journalist Stephanie Foo interviews scientists, tests out a variety of innovative therapies, studies the effects of immigrant trauma, and uncovers family secrets in this memoir about healing from and destigmatizing PTSD. Combining the topics of culture and race with mental health, this book is a brave narrative imbued with self-awareness on one woman’s ability to reclaim agency in her life and over her mind. 

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*The Illustrated Woman 

With her trademark infusion of wild adventure and vivid imagery, this stunning anthology by award-winning poet Helen Mort features a raw and honest collection that celebrates the beauty and resilience of women’s bodies. This book tells a tender story about the joys and struggles of being a woman throughout the different stages of life, from adolescence to motherhood. Insightful, confessional poetry like this will be sure to hit straight to the heart with its powerful prose! 

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American Mermaid 

Magical realism meets feminist literature meets so much more in this genre-defying debut novel about a writer determined to turn her mermaid story into a big-budget action film, who believes her character has come to life to take revenge for all of Hollywood’s violations. Facing pressure from a ruthless industry, this book follows a young woman in search of truth, love, and self-acceptance without compromising her integrity or giving up her voice in order to tell her own story.

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*Any Other City

Set to officially release on April 18, 2023, this unique novel by librarian Hazel Jane Plante is a two-sided fictional memoir of a punk musician who takes us on a personal chronological journey from fledgling artist (Side A) to semi-famous big city rocker (Side B), like a cassette tape in book form! This book is about finding your community, taking risks, and letting go of the past all in one iconic, intimate story. Masterfully depicting the plurality that is woven into the lives of trans women and said to be “a love letter to art”, this is a novel for our LGBTQ+ readers that you won’t want to miss! 

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After Sappho 

In this historical reimagining, women trailblazers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are given alternate timelines to their stories–ones where they battle for liberation, justice, and control over their lives and forge a new, independent path for themselves. Featuring Rina Pierangeli Faccio, Romaine Brooks, and Virginia Woolf as the main triad of characters, among many other notables, this book celebrates daring women of the past (with a twist!) and offers hope to the women of the present and future. 

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I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts 

All of the great thinkers of the world have written books on their discoveries and beliefs: Aristotle, Socrates, Voltaire–and now, Chenoweth. This autobiography by the beloved actress and Broadway star shares inspirational quotes, engaging prompts, and musings on creativity, connection, and closure. Full of lessons for personal growth and cheeky banter, this book is a perfectly pink pick-me-up for those who need a little laughter and encouragement!

*Please note: these books are not in our collection. If you’d like to read one of them, visit us at the front desk and we will submit a request to our cataloguer!


We See You, Taylor Swift: A Staff Review of Her Latest Album Midnights

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Dear Reader,

Many of you may have stayed up at midnight that night eagerly awaiting. You know the night we’re referring to. The night that, after two years of radio silence, Taylor Swift took her fans on a trip of pure nostalgia and surprise disclosures with new recordings, honing in more closely on her career and personal life. 

Songs from Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated 10th album, Midnights, flooded the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Swift the first artist to fully occupy the Top 10 spots. If that doesn’t tell you how great of an album it is, we don’t know what will!

The country-made-pop singer released Midnights on Oct. 21, 2022 after two years of no new releases. Fans anticipated the new music and followed along as Swift released track titles leading up to the album. The marketing gimmicks and social media posts left people putting puzzle pieces together. 

Have you been on the fence with whether or not to give this new album a shot? Well, welcome to our first review, where several of our staff give their (professional) opinions on her most recent work. 

Check out what staff member Andy had to say after listening to the album for the first time:

“I’ll admit that at first listen I didn’t think the album lived up to all the hype it got pre and post release. I definitely expected a different sound rather than what she gave us, which felt like songs meant for radio (iykyk). The more I listened, the more I changed my mind and grew fond of the work. Even so, with 13 songs and 44 minutes of listening time, I found several songs to fixate on for the following months. “Midnight Rain” stood out to me from the start. It sounded different than any other song on the album and I’m all for unique music. Other favorites include “Maroon,” “Anti-Hero,” and “Karma.” Swift has a way of coming up with catchy and sassy lyrics which I love. I won’t go in depth with the “Midnights (3am Edition)” but I will say that “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” and “Bigger Than The Whole Sky" stayed on repeat. 

In “Bigger Than The Whole Sky,” it seems as though Swift is referencing miscarriages and child loss. A heavy topic, I think Swift did a beautiful job portraying the emotion behind such a tragedy. In the song she asks, 'Did some force take you because I didn't pray? Every single thing to come has turned into ashes.' The singer/songwriter describes the questions and guilt that pairs with grief, and many fans related to the lyrics, making them go viral on Tiktok. This just goes to show how powerful music is to many. I also use this song as a reminder that Taylor Swift doesn’t only write songs about her love life and boyfriends. She pulls from other life experiences of her own and others. Truly, she does the dang thing! 

The one song on the album I skip every time is “Snow On The Beach” featuring Lana Del Rey. Like many fans, I was so excited to hear Swift mix her sound with that of another artist. Listening to the final product, I think it sounds bland and boring, like it’s putting me to sleep. I also don’t think the feature added much to the song and wish we’d heard more of Rey. 

Coming from someone who absolutely adored the vibes of “Evermore” and “Folklore,” this album wasn’t my favorite by Swift. I remember thinking, ‘hmm, this isn’t what I expected.’ That said, I still applaud Swift for making new hits. From a Swiftie that sadly did not get Taylor Swift tickets, I will continue streaming Midnights and waiting for the re-releases of her older albums.”

Here’s what another staff member had to say about Midnights

“I did not think that ‘becoming a Taylor Swift fan at age 36’ would be on my bingo card set, but here we are. I’ve had the song “Karma” stuck in my head since listening to the album. She goes from a synth pop sound to lofi beats and soft production, and you can tell by the instrumental transition that this is a more serious album. It’s a testament to her ups and downs, and also a celebration of overcoming them. She’s leveled up in this one.” - A.
Also previously skeptical of Taylor Swift’s popularity, A has grown to appreciate the singer’s fresh lens on love. 

“She’s become a stronger and wiser version of herself,” says staff member K in agreement. “Her songs in Midnights are more reflective and come from a place of emotional maturity. I remember when critics of hers would say things like ‘Taylor Swift needs to recognize that maybe she’s the problem in her relationships’, which to me can come off as one-sided, but then in "Anti-Hero" you hear her sing ‘it’s me, hi, I’m the problem’ and I was just like ‘whoa! This is completely different.’ She focuses inward, and with this album she’s all about setting an atmosphere of inviting her listeners to see her vulnerabilities and flaws, rather than setting trends or giving subtle name-drops in her lyrics. 

I also love that the music sounds more moody and subdued than her past albums, almost like it’s a tone that’s self-aware. She asserts her creative agency, using the album as a conduit to help her own her problems, and then begin the process of changing them. It makes perfect sense that this album is titled "Midnights." When do we tend to have the most intricate, inversive, and often painful thoughts that linger and lead us to question the way we do things? In the late hours. 

It’s a beautifully written album. Even if you’re not a TS fan, you’ll surely admire the flowery vernacular and deep examination.”

Convinced to give it a listen? Stream it on our Hoopla app or download it here.




CLOSURE - 3/31/2023

All Faulkner County Branches have closed due to inclement weather.