5 Books to Celebrate International Women’s Day

Reading List

Nulle autre voix by Maïssa Bey

After 15 years in jail for the murder of her husband, a woman confides her story to another woman, a writer in search of inspiration. Every night, with feverish energy, she writes down their conversations in her diary.

Over the course of her exchanges with the author, the bleak and monotonous existence of this remarkable anti-heroine–who is haunted by solitude, discrimation, and humiliation–progressively lightens up, regaining its strength and energy.

A leading figure of Algerian literature, Maïssa Bey sets up a brilliant one-on-one confrontation between the two women, distilling subtle but anxiety-inducing suspense, and leaving us mesmerized by the terrifying transformation she unfurls.

Nulle autre voix by Maïssa Bey, éditions de l’Aube

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Citizen: ballade américaine by Claudia Rankine

Overruling the limits of traditional literary categories, Citizen: ballade américaine was the first book in the 40 year history of the National Book Critics Circle Awards to compete both in its poetry and criticism categories.

Citizen is many things at once: a collection of anecdotes, a poetry book, an extended piece of criticism, and a multi-media presentation—all remarkably designed by Rankine’s husband, the photographer John Lucas. All of these vignettes expose her experience as a black woman, a poet, and an esteemed professor.

Read our staff pick on Citizen.

Citizen: An American Lyric, a collection by Claudia Rankine, translated from the English (US) by Nicolas Pesques, éditions de l’Olivier.

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After reflecting on Pourquoi l’amour fait mal (Why Love Hurts) and Sentiments du Capitalisme (Feelings of Capitalism), French sociologist Eva Illouz has just published a fascinating new investigation La Fin de l’amour (The End of Love) that examines the moments when we avoid falling in love, or when we fall out of love.
IIlouz focuses on the many ways in which relationships end shortly after they began, discussing why people decide to not commit and to dissolve something that has only just begun.

In the end, she argues that love grows within the limits imposed by our desire to refuse the obligation of having to choose, as well as the freedom of remaining uncommitted. But what exactly is the price of this? And who is the one who pays for it? These are the stakes of this timely work that sheds a welcome light on to an often chaotic domain of our private lives.

La Fin de l’amour by Eva Illouz, Seuil

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L'Effet maternel by Virginie Linhart

After having focused on the life of her father, Robert Linhart–one that could not be dissociated from his political engagements, and which was already explored in two remarkable books (Volontaires pour l’usine and Le jour où mon père s’est tu) Virginie Linhart, who has now herself become a mother, looks back on her own story: as the daughter of militant Maoists, the brilliant and somewhat lost adolescent stranded among adults who worry only about abolishing all limits (including protective ones), and the woman who struggles to find her place and to dissect her stormy relationship with her mother.
Read more.

L’Effet maternel by Virginie Linhart, Flammarion

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Aya de Yopougon by Marguerite Abouet

It’s the end of the ’70s and nineteen-year-old Aya lives in Youpougon, a working-class neighborhood in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Aya divides her time between school, her family, and her two best friends, Adjoua and Bintou, who only think of sneaking out as soon as night falls. Things go awry when Adjoua becomes pregnant, causing the friends to try and figure out what is best for the situation.

Embark with Aya on a warm, relaxed, chaotic journey through Africa, a  continent that seems all at once distant and extremly close!

Aya de Yopougon, a graphic novel in 5 volumes by Marguerite Abouet, Gallimard Jeunesse

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After almost two decades of working in publishing, and a few round trips between Paris and New York, Miriam has decided to settle down at Albertine to do what she enjoys most: recommending books she loves. Somehow this also includes taking bizarre pictures for Albertine's social media outlets.
Other recommendations by Miriam Bridenne