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8 Books to Read in Celebration of Women’s History Month

Four book covers
The UC San Diego Library community is sharing book recommendations in honor of Women's History Month.

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In honor of Women's History Month, librarians and staff at the UC San Diego Library are sharing their recommendations for books that celebrate and amplify the diverse voices and experiences of women.

Here are eight books hand-selected by the Library community to add to your bookshelf, ranging from compelling memoirs, inspiring reads and thought-provoking explorations of womanhood. Plus, each campus community member shares in their own words the reasoning behind their personal recommendation.

Most of the books mentioned are available through UC Library Search—a unified discovery and borrowing system connecting all 10 UC campuses. UC San Diego is also a part of the San Diego Circuit, enabling readers to easily borrow books from other participating libraries across the county.

First Gen Book cover

First Gen: A Memoir” by Alejandra Campoverdi

Recommended by Camille Cannon
Rady School MBA ’23 and Internal Communications Manager 

Campoverdi beautifully chronicles her Southern California upbringing as a first-generation college student and her career that made history in the White House. In telling her story, from undergraduate studies at USC to a graduate degree from Harvard, Campoverdi connects to the shared experiences and challenges of many first-gen graduates, myself included. The daughter of an immigrant single mother, Campoverdi captures the struggle of “surviving where you come from while acting like you belong where you're going.” An honest and inspiring read from an incredibly accomplished woman!

Book cover of Up to Speed

Up to Speed: The Groundbreaking Science of Women Athletes” by Christine Yu

Recommended by Dani Cook
Associate University Librarian, Learning and User Experience

Did you know that women weren't included in clinical trials until the 1990s?!? Yu's reporting is eye-opening about how much we know (and don't know) about how unique biological adaptations affect sports performance and the way women train. She interviews world-class athletes to highlight how misinformation affected them, and shares incredible stories about the heights of athletic performance that women can achieve.

Book cover of The Personal Librarian

The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Recommended by Nikki Kolupailo
Director, Communications & Engagement

This is a fascinating historical fiction account of one of the most prominent librarians in American history—Belle da Costa Greene (1879-1950). As a Black American woman, Greene was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white for her entire professional career. She ran the Morgan Library for 43 years—initially as the personal librarian of J. P. Morgan and later as its inaugural director—and built one of the most important collections of rare books and manuscripts in the U.S. This book tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, expertise, impeccable taste, wit and shrewd negotiating skills who made it her mission to make rare books accessible to the public, rather than locked away in the vaults of private collectors.

Book Cover of I Am Malala

"I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai 

Recommended by Mairam Sogoian
eBook Acquisitions Specialist

"I Am Malala" is a young woman's fascinating autobiographical story on how she refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education, when the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan.

Book covers of “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler and “A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers 

Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler and “A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers 

Recommended by Natalie Tagge 
Assistant Program Director, Research Advisory Services 

For most of my life I have not been a fan of speculative fiction. I've become drawn to it, though, as I look for different authors' fictionalized answers to what the future holds. “Parable of the Sower” and “A Psalm for the Wild Built” are perfect to read together. One a gripping cautionary story of the future, the other a charming tale where society figures it out in time. Both share plucky main characters that you won't forget anytime soon.  

Book cover of Women in the History of Science: A sourcebook

Women in the History of Science: A Sourcebook” edited by Hannah Wills, Sadie Harrison, Erika Jones, Rebecca Martin and Farrah Lawrence-Mackey

Recommended by Jennifer Reiswig
Biology and Neuroscience Librarian

This open access eBook uses extracts from primary sources to help us listen to women in science (and related fields) tell us about their accomplishments and challenges. The book is arranged by time period, covering 1200 BCE to the 21st century. Each chapter also includes thought-provoking questions and further readings. 

Book cover of Locating Strongwoman

Locating Strongwoman” by Tolu Agbelusi

Recommended by Melanie Marquez-Adams
Spanish Language Metadata Specialist

Locating Strongwoman is a portrait of unperformed femininity. As I understand it, unperformed femininity refers to escaping/resisting stereotypes of femininity and transgressing gendered constructions of the female body. Eschewing the stereotypical portrayal of the “Strong Woman” and the even more loaded “Strong Black Woman,” these poems invite the reader to interrogate the protagonists and find in their stories a quiet strength. 

Current UC San Diego faculty, staff and students may borrow materials from the UC San Diego Library and libraries worldwide. Your UC San Diego ID card is your library card. Other patrons are eligible for borrowing privileges upon registration.

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