Recently, I put together a list of “the best fantastical and frightening books about women reclaiming their own power” for the Shepherd website, which aims to help folks discover new books. Generally, I balk at using the phrase “the best,” since there are so many more amazing books in the world that I had yet to read. However, this is the format the website uses.
As per the request of the editors, I specifically picked books that felt connected to my collection of prose poetry, Twelve. This means that I wanted to include a mixture of prose and poetry books, as well as focusing on books that are connected to fairy tales and/or folklore. And truthfully, I love each and every one of these books and I hope many other folks come to love them, too.
If I were allowed to expand my list to beyond the five I listed, I would also included any or all of the following (to name a few):
- Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery by Brom (which I just completed at the end of December)
- Goddess of Filth by V. Castro
- Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
- The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Transformations, poems by Anne Sexton
- Drink, poems by Laura Madeline Wiseman
- The Moment of Change (a collection of feminist fantasy poetry), edited by R.B. Lemburg
And I’m sure I will discover many more such books of fantastical and frightening female empowerment in the future.