In celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a look at reading trends from this time last year. We found that reading about top female business leaders for Scribd subscribers jumped 45% from 2020 to 2021, showing the desire to spotlight and learn from women who are paving the way in publishing, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
We also found that last March, readers flocked to biographies about women — or written by women — to better understand and be inspired by their unique experiences.
The biographies and memoirs that topped Scribd readers’ lists in March 2021 — and are still relevant today — include:
Bestselling author and cultural icon Roxane Gay is no stranger to trauma. As a young girl, she was the victim of a horrifying act of violence that changed her life and would strongly influence her career as a writer. In her 2017 memoir Hunger, she addressed that trauma head-on, writing with bracing honesty about her body and the ways that food can be used both to bury pain and make oneself disappear. The response to Hunger by some critics who seemed to take perverse pleasure in highlighting Gay’s vulnerabilities was itself a fresh wound. By exploring trauma publicly, Gay suffered more of it.
Fear and uncertainty — emotions we’ve become all too familiar with this past year. From the pandemic to political upheaval to the recession to lurking environmental disasters, we’ve been battered by one unfathomable event after another, with more to come. How do we handle the emotional fallout from such traumas? How do we bounce back? Bonnie Tsui tackles these big questions in The Uncertain Sea, her insightful look at fear and the many ways people handle it.
Few names in Hollywood have been as influential as Cicely Tyson. This engaging memoir showcases how she shaped the narrative for the portrayal of Black characters in Hollywood for generations while highlighting monumental moments in her life and career, including receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In her autobiography, Jamie Kern Lima, the founder of IT Cosmetics, lends an authentic voice to the true story of how she rose from struggling waitress to the creator of a billion-dollar brand and the first-ever CEO of a brand in L’Oreal’s 100+ year history. Filled with struggles and self-doubt, this inspirational read is filled with lessons about how to trust yourself to move forward.
Part self-help, part memoir, Melody Beattle shares her story of addiction and suffering to help others overcome the challenges in their lives. Filled with personal anecdotes, this book helps readers unravel co-dependency and offers a path to healing.
This self-reflective memoir delves into how an abusive relationship can shape you as a person. Machado deconstructs the relationship and broadens her perspective through looks at the history and reality of abuse in other queer relationships.
A first-hand anecdotal take, Mary Trump recounts her life growing up in her grandparents’ house — the same one where former President Donald Trump was raised. Filled with specific events and interactions that she witnessed, Mary discusses harmful family relationships that may have shaped the former President’s personality.
Growing up disabled, Amanda Leduc had a perspective on fairy tales. Interspersed with personal stories, Leduc shows how stories from the Brothers Grimm and Disney — and their treatments of disabled characters — influence how the world treats those that are different.
Written by the founder of the Notorious RBG Tumblr, this overview of the life of the U.S.’s second female Supreme Court Justice blends interviews, annotated dissents, archival materials, documents, and event illustrations to paint a rare picture of one of the most influential women in American history.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Part memoir and part true-crime recreation, Michelle McNamara’s posthumously published exploration to uncover the “Golden State Killer” showed her dedication — and obsession — with finding the truth. Culled from thousands of files, notebooks, and police reports, McNamara’s decades-long quest is detailed through sleepless nights, trips to find vital information, and details of the horrific crimes she was investigating.