The Essential Feminist Reading List...with Wine Pairings


A glass of wine and a good book is at the top of my 'Things I Wish I Had More Time For' List. Usually, when I finally do have time to sit down, relax and curl up with a good book, I don't even have a book at the ready. It's no wonder that I end of up scrolling mindlessly through my Instagram feed or lurking in the comments on some polarizing Facebook article. My brain deserves better than this. Yours probably does too. So I put together my own list of essential feminist reads to have on hand the next time I have time to melt into the couch. Also, I threw in some wine pairings for each book because I care about you.

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A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Why I Chose This Book: Harper's Bazaar assured me that although it was published in 1929 and is "one of the foundational pieces of feminist literary critique", I might expect it to be irrelevant today. Never fear, "her clever, incisive perspective remains just as inspiring today as it was when it was published".

Also, I kind of feel like maybe I should have already read something described as a foundational piece of feminist literary critique. In some ways, it makes me feel like a bad feminist. More on that in my next book selection.

Pair with: Boss Lady Bubbles - Unapologetically Vibrant Washington Bubbly

This sparkler is crisp and lively. She is not your typical bubbly. Made with Riesling and a touch of Muscat she will draw you in with a nose that hints at something floral and sweet, but one sip will tell you about her structure and backbone. This dry wine is both approachable and intriguing. She knows how to bring people together and makes every occasion better with her presence a boss.

$20 a bottle

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Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

Why I Chose This Book: I read this endorsement from Author Elizabeth McCracken. "There are writers who can show you the excellence of their brains and writers who show you the depths of their souls: I don’t know any writer who does both at the same time as brilliantly as Roxane Gay. Bad Feminist shows this extraordinary writer’s range—in essays about Scrabble, violence, fairy tales, race, The Hunger Games, longing, and Sweet Valley Confidential, Gay is alternately hilarious, full of righteous anger, confiding, moving: Bad Feminist is like staying up agreeing and arguing with the smartest person you ever met. Stop reading this blurb. Start reading this book." 

I mean, how do I NOT read it now? And more importantly, how do I become best friends with her? 

Pair with: Progress Pink - Unapologetically Refreshing Oregon Rosé

Don’t underestimate pink. She is feminine, fun, ardent and serious; and she owns it. She is serious about making progress and passionate about equality for women and she balances bright acidity with soft, subtle red fruit.

$15 a bottle

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Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

Why I Chose This Book: Ms. Magazine describes the book like this. Feminism is for Everybody provides an excellent introduction to the idea of interlocking systems of oppression. Patriarchy reinforces other oppressive systems, such as racism, classicism, imperialism, homophobia–systems in which one group dominates over and seeks to control another. 

Harper's Bazaar says that hooks "set out in 2000 to create a educational text for those whose understanding of feminism comes from passing TV references and outdated ideas about 'femi-nazis.' A passionate treatise for the lay-feminist, hooks explains and examines inclusive feminism and the practical application of it in a way that is both entertaining and informative."


Pair with: Represent Red Sangiovese - Unapologetically Adventurous Washington Sangiovese

This wine is an adventure. Her aromas of dried cherry, fig and spice will draw you in. Classic red, ripe fruit flavors lead you along as she shows notes of Bing cherry, red currant and earth. She will take you on twists and turns with her racy acidity and long, lingering finish. She will move you to seize the day and chase your dreams.

$36 a bottle

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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

Why I Chose This Book: I was already wanting to read Janet Mock's account of her experiences growing up young, multiracial, poor and trans in America, and then I read this praise from Wake Forest Professor and MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry. “Far too many assume that Janet Mock's story is primarily about her body. This book is irrefutable evidence that Janet must be understood through her intellect, spirit, and wit. Janet does what only great writers of autobiography accomplish—she tells a story of the self, which turns out to be a reflection of all humanity. You will be changed by this book.”

Sign me up. I want to be changed. 

Pair with: Inaugural Pave the Way Chardonnay - Unapologetically Complex Willamette Valley Chardonnay

Not your everyday Chardonnay. This wine balances depth and complexity of fruit with a rounded edge and a kiss of oak. She is clear and well-spoken, easy to understand and firm in her beliefs.

$30 a bottle

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Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Why I Chose This Book: Well, she basically coined the term mansplaining, so she's my personal hero. Also, the essays are described by Salon as "Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions." Yes PLEASE.

Pair with: Pantsuit Pinot Noir - Unapologetically Tasty Oregon Pinot Noir.

A wine that demands your attention. She pulls you in with her violet color and nose of rose, earth and cherry. She continues to hold your attention with an expansive palate of anise, red fruits and a touch of leather. A seamless finish lets you know you were just schooled on what a Pinot Noir can be.

$25 a bottle

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The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf

Why I Chose This Book: Every single woman I know has struggled with self-image and body issues at some point. Some I know struggle with it almost constantly. The amount of time and energy we put into hating our bodies and the way we look absolutely exhausts me. I spend a lot of time consuming body-positive content to overcome the years of negative body images and ideas that have rained down on me since birth. And you know what? You are what you eat. It feels a hell of a lot better to love your body than to hate it. How I haven't read this yet, I don't know, which is why it made my list. Can I get an AMEN?!

Pair with: Represent Red Dolcetto - Unapologetically Vibrant Eola-Amity Hills Dolcetto

This wine is more than meets the eye. She is dark and inky in the glass. Her aroma is familiar, reminiscent of sugar cookies. One sip will tell you she has a lot more to show you with layers of dark fruit, vibrant acidity; all wrapped gently in notes of spice. This wine dims her light for no one. This wine shines.

$36 a bottle

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The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich

Why I Chose This Book: I absolutely LOVED the Amazon original TV series that was based on this very book and was floored when it was canceled after one season. I spent quite a bit of time on the interwebs trying to figure out if I was really the only one watching it. It turns out that I wasn't. Series Creator Dana Calvo had this to say about the cancellation.

“What we hadn't factored in is that [Amazon Studios head] Roy Price just doesn't care for the show,” Calvo told The Hollywood Reporter on December 7, 2016. Price virtually ignored the show, in fact; he didn’t give notes on the episodes or go to the premiere, THR reported. “All I know is that in the [season two] pitch, he asked us to refer to the characters by the actors' names because he didn't know the characters' names,” Calvo told THR. “He's representative of the Amazon culture in that he's just impenetrable.”

Nearly a year later, Price was suspended from Amazon and subsequently resigned in the wake of charges of sexual harassment. Is anyone else not shocked at all that a serial sexual harasser of women could care less about a show about women's rights?

Pair with: Pave the Way Chardonnay - Unapologetically Engaging Oregon Chardonnay

This wine is an organizer. She gathers her friends and brings them together and speaks boldly and unabashedly about who she is. She is racy and bright with a zip of acidity running through lush fruit.

$20 a bottle

Emily Davis