Just a few months ago, who would have imagined being asked, or required, to embrace social distancing, or shelter at home. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives drastically. For some, it’s frustrating. For most of us, it’s brought anxiety and worry. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, and that’s unsettling at best. Anxiety about Covid-19 is becoming a problem by itself.
I’ve found that keeping myself away from the constant flow of worrisome news helps. When I can engage in something that keeps my attention, I’m almost okay. And uplifting stories – books, movies, or narratives – lend hope for the future and a reminder that we will get through this. Especially when we see that others have endured far worse, even alone.
With so much of our daily routines and habits upended or missing, we’re all looking for replacements. How about looking to some great books that encourage and inspire us? Women are known for doing some awe-inspiring things. From leading scientists to activists and everything in between. Check out these ten compelling true stories about incredible women.
True Stories About Incredible Women
by Barbara McNally
In Four Faces of Femininity, author Barbara McNally celebrates a group of fearless women from history. Divided into four categories,—Mother, Lover, Warrior and Sage—this inspiring book highlights the importance of giving women role models no matter their background. From Anne Frank to First Lady Michelle Obama, the stories of these women are truly remarkable.
by Linda Sarsour
From Brooklyn to Washington D.C., Linda Sarsour saw the reality of humanity across the United States from a very young age. As a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, she was taught how to use her voice to bring about justice for herself and those around her. In We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders, readers get to know Sarsour through her years of social activism, heartbreaking losses and motherhood.
by Martina Reaves
At nearly 60 years old, Martina Reaves is diagnosed with terminal tongue cancer. Realizing how precious life is, she begins to reflect on her life with her partner Tanya and the previous struggles she had faced to achieve true happiness. A story about hope, the willingness to fight and family, I’m Still Here charts the journey of one woman as she faces her cancer diagnosis head on.
by Glennon Doyle
For years, Glennon Doyle was obsessed with being the person others wanted her to be. It wasn’t until she spoke at a conference that she realized exactly what was missing from her life. Discovering the truth about her own sexuality and desires, she was finally able to relinquish her addictions, sadness and feelings of being incomplete. Untamed details Doyle’s transformation and inspires women to be their most authentic selves.
by Jeanne D. Stanton
After a worker in Jeanne Stanton’s home experiences something possibly paranormal, Stanton knows she has to consider the possibility of a spirit haunting her house. Joining clubs, doing vast amounts of research and even visiting a psychic, she is determined to get to the bottom of this peculiar mystery. With notes on science, the spiritual world and what it means to be a skeptic or a believer, The Hairbrush and the Shoe catalogs a brave quest for answers about a phenomena many have been unable to explain away.
by Bettye Kearse
Bettye Kearse is the descendant of President James Madison and his slave. Having kept this secret in their family for generations, Kearse felt it was time to bring the story to light. And expose the ways her ancestors have been silenced and forgotten. In The Other Madisons, Kearse tries to get justice for those who have come before her and details the trials and tribulations she came up against while searching for the truth.
by Maya Shanbhag Lang
Growing up, Maya Shanbhag Lang always admired her mother who immigrated to the United States with her daughter and continued her career as an accomplished physician. In What We Carry, Maya uncovers what it was like to see that same woman struggle with Alzheimer’s and the secrets and stories she divulged to Maya before it was too late. This memoir tells the heartbreaking and hopeful story of a mother and daughter.
by Susan Fowler
Susan Fowler was only 25 when she published a blog post revealing the sexual harassment and abuse she had suffered while working for Uber. Later attaching her name to the post, she inspired women everywhere to come clean about their own abuse. In Whistleblower, Fowler tells her story from beginning to end and defines what it really means to be a whistleblower. And to fight for the justice you deserve.
Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title
by Leslie Gray Streeter
When Leslie Gray Streeter lost her husband to a sudden and unexpected heart attack, she found herself lost and ill-prepared to be both a widow and a single mother. In Black Widow she tells their love story and the unconventional ways she handled her grief after his passing. Told with humor and vulnerability, Black Widow is a compelling story of how one woman decided to move forward with her life despite the life-altering heartbreak she endured.
Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology
by Rana el Kaliouby
Growing up in Kuwait and Egypt, Rana el Kaliouby was raised traditionally. But also had parents who expected her to be exceptional. Abandoning the expectations put on her to be the perfect daughter and wife, she followed her dreams and moved to the United States. Determined to humanize technology, she cofounded a company who now leads the way in the Emotion AI field all while raising her two children by herself.
Challenge and Opportunity
We’re in challenging times. But they’re also filled with opportunity. There are opportunities to grow. Opportunities to serve. Opportunities to make a difference, online and in our communities. Take a break from the depressing news, and get inspired! Reading is a great way to do that. So fill those days ahead with a big dose of it.
Be sure to check out the references I mentioned in the opening paragraphs. They’ll help with anxiety about Covid-19. And you’ll read a true story that will shift your perspective on what your life looks like right now.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. You will get through this! And if you’ve got an inspiring current story, drop us a line, or leave a comment.