Staff Picks: International Women’s Day

We're celebrating International Women's Day by sharing books recommended by Halifax Public Libraries staff. We hope these books will make you think critically and find inspiration as they did for the women who recommended them.

If you have an International Women's Day book recommendation, share it in the comments below!

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Recommended by Åsa Kachan, Chief Librarian and CEO

"Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is an immensely readable book of statistics and facts that illustrate how just about everything around us has been designed with males in mind. The impact of not collecting and considering data about and from women is evident everywhere: not enough women’s bathrooms; crash test dummies that make cars safer for men; and gender bias in medical research, urban planning, hiring practices and snow clearing. Sometimes the consequence is irritation (like the cell phone that doesn’t quite fit my hand); more alarming is how often the data bias results in misdiagnosis, injury or death to women.

In Criado Perez’s words, to fail to account for half of humanity in the design of our world is not just sexist, but 'manifestly unjust, and economically illiterate.'”

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Recommended by Elliott Gish, Library Assistant

"This chilling and lyrical memoir of an abusive same-sex relationship cut me to the bone. Brutal, honest, and peppered with moments of beauty and horror in equal measure, Machado's second book sheds light on a subject rarely explored in literature and establishes her as one of the most powerful young writers of our time."

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Recommended by Vicki Smith, Library Assistant

"This novel delves into two true events in rural Kentucky in the 1930's. The Pack Horse Library Project was started when the government wished to increase the literacy rate of their back woods population. The main character, Bluet, is one of the last blue-skinned people, known as the Kentucky Blues. Bluet, a librarian, encounters prejudice along the route she takes to deliver books to communities, while most people do not care that she is a blue-skinned person.

I love a novel that is based on fact. The author, Kim Michele Richardson, really did her research about both the Kentucky Blues as well as the Pack Horse Library Project. This fascinating novel drew me in from the first sentence. Bluet is an authentic Appalachian voice in a story that is hopeful, heartbreaking and shows one woman's strength in the face of adversity and prejudice. Highly recommended, and a great selection for a book club."

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Recommended by Colleen Fraser, Marketing Specialist

"As someone who believes in the power of talk therapy, the title of this book drew me in. Within the first few pages, I was hooked. And, months later, I'm still raving about it and reflecting on it. 

Gottlieb somehow manages to tie psychoanalyis in with wit and humour, yet still maintain empathy in her approach. I have only recently started getting into Non-Fiction, and this book is the one that really solidified my interest in the wider genre. ​Through looking at humanity, our interconnectedness, and shared experiences Maybe You Should Talk to Someone also reads like Gottlieb's own midlife coming-of-age tale. Her brutal honesty and introspection as a professional, mother, and woman navigating the world was completely relatable, and also inspirational."

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Recommended by Laura Walton, Library Assistant

"I have been shouting this book recommendation from the rooftops after finishing reading it myself. More literally, every time I find a copy on our Rapid Reads shelf, I carry it around and try to convince staff members and patrons to check it out. The story is compelling, the setting is beautiful to imagine, and the plot combines mystery with a tale of a strong, independent, and resilient female character. Even as I finished the last few chapters I had no idea how it was going to end.

The author, Delia Owens, aged 70+, wrote this as her first novel which I think is very inspiring. When I finished the book, I had no ambition to read anything else, I just wanted to read this book again and again. The book covers discrimination, isolation, survival, but overall the power of love, compassion, and being there for yourself." 

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Recommended by Diane Faulkner, Library Assistant

"This contemporary novel about love and marriage, men and women, is so very of-our-time. The characters feel completely relatable and the insights are powerful—like a punch to the gut. I absolutely loved it and have recommended it to all of my friends."

Excerpt from Fleishman is in Trouble:

"It was like those T-shirts all my daughter’s friends were wearing to school now, the ones that said THE FUTURE IS FEMALE in big block letters. How they march around in broad daylight in shirts like that. But the only reason it’s tolerated is that everyone knows it’s just a lie we tell to girls to make their marginalization bearable. They know that eventually the girls will be punished for their futures, so they let them wear their dumb message shirts now."