What We're Reading: A Book About…Reading More Books

Stephanie Staal's new memoir discusses how literature and feminism have influenced who she's become as a women.

reading women book cover
(Image credit: Archives)

Let's be honest — everyone has a college course they took that they couldn't wait to go to (and don't lie, even the homework was fun!). Whether it was physical geology, advanced magazine writing, aquatic entomology or American legislative process, some subjects were worth waking up at 7 a.m. for. However nerdy it may seem, these subjects will forever be engaging. But what if you could revisit them and take the class again? What if you could look at the material from a different, more educated and mature point in your life? A new memoir tunes us in on exactly what it's like.

Reading Women: How the Great Books of Feminism Changed My Life

Author: Stephanie Staal, the author of The Love They Lost: Living with the Legacy of Our Parents' Divorce.

Genre: Literary memoir

What Happens: Juggling a marriage, a baby and life in a new city — a far cry from her formerly stable, independent full-time work life in New York — Stephanie Staal has a wake up call. Staal finds nostalgia in the form of her "Feminist Texts" composition notebook from Barnard College after stumbling upon The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan on a random trip to Barnes and Noble. Challenging the feminist within, Staal reenrolls at her alma mater to take the same course that once changed the way she looked at the world.

Why Read It: Staal's metaphorical prose not only enforces the importance of reading but also sheds light on the relevance of re-reading. Her pages reach the feminist in everyone and show how retaking the course connected the dots on the woman she was and the woman she became.

Details: PublicAffairs, February 22, $15.99