¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club Reading List

Thank you all for your engagement with the ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club. As AAUW continues with its strategic planning process and building focus, relevance, and impact around our mission, many activities we have engaged in in the past are being revisited to review their place in AAUW’s work.

The ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club has been a cherished piece of AAUW’s work for more than twenty years, and we know it holds great significance for many of you. Accordingly, we plan to pause ¡Adelante! programming to enable a holistic examination of the program and to discuss new pathways for the ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club. While that review is being conducted, there will be no ¡Adelante! reading lists or online author discussions. We are grateful for the engaging dialogue and learning that ¡Adelante! has provided during its more than twenty years of programming and look forward to exploring new ways to continue its work.

We hear about the gender gap all the time — in pay, in math and science fields, in leadership. But one gender gap we don’t hear about as often is the literary gender gap. Female authors are much less likely than male authors to have their books reviewed in major publications like the New York Times and Harper’s Magazine.

In 2014, 41 percent of books reviewed by the New York Times were by women; for Harper’s Magazine, it was 28 percent. And the numbers are even worse for women of color: 15 percent for the New York Times and 7 percent for Harper’s Magazine. That’s why we created the ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club: to spotlight engrossing stories and writing by women from all backgrounds. We also connect our members to some of the authors we feature through web discussions.

2017–18 ¡Adelante! Book Club List

September 2017
National Hispanic Heritage Month

Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice
Joan Biskupic (@JoanBiskupic)

How did Sonia Sotomayor become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court of the United States? That is the question veteran journalist Joan Biskupic seeks to answer. Biskupic takes readers inside the Supreme Court nomination process, revealing how Sotomayor’s connections and skills enabled her to achieve great success. Breaking In is the story of how two forces — the determination of a gifted Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx housing projects and the increasing political clout of Hispanics across the United States — came together to yield a historic appointment.

Recommended by Hannah Seligman, AAUW National Member

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

October 2017
National Disability Employment Awareness Month

A Disability History of the United States
Kim E. Nielsen

The first book of its kind, A Disability History of the United States places the experiences of people with disabilities at the core of the chronicle of American history. Using primary sources and social histories, Kim Nielsen portrays familiar stories like slavery and immigration in a new light, highlighting the role ableism played in the growth and flourishing of democracy. In so doing, she skillfully illustrates how conceptions of disability have had a deep effect on how we understand the American experience.

Available in print, Kindle, and Nook formats

November 2017
Native American Heritage Month

The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice
Winona LaDuke (@WinonaLaduke)

Chronicles is a collection of timely, persuasive, and inspiring stories of indigenous communities from the Canadian subarctic to the heart of the Navajo Nation. It is a collective account of Winona LaDuke’s personal journey to recovery, beginning with her home burning down in 2008. It is also a story of strength and resilience — not just LaDuke’s own, but that of all tribal and First Nations communities in the North American first world who struggle just to survive.

Recommended by Peggy Woods-Clark, AAUW National Member

Available in print and Kindle formats

December 2017

The Gilded Years: A Novel
Karin Tanabe (@karintanabe)

From an early age Anita Hemmings longed to attend Vassar College. But she is hiding a secret, and it’s one that may compromise her dream: She is African-American. With her light skin, Anita succeeds in passing as white and matriculating at Vassar, where she finds herself living with Lottie Taylor, the daughter of one of New York’s most prominent families. Pulling a reclusive Anita out of her shell, Lottie inadvertently puts her friend’s greatest secret at risk. A fictionalized account of the life of the first African American woman to graduate from Vassar College, The Gilded Years is a moving story of how one woman risked it all for the chance at a better life.

Recommended by Debra DeBose, AAUW Birmingham (MI) Branch

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

January 2018
National Mentoring Month

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
Sheryl Sandberg (@sherylsandberg)

When Option A is not available, how do you make the most of Option B? That’s the question Sheryl Sandberg had to confront after her husband’s unexpected death. Combining research and personal anecdotes, Option B not only explores Sandberg’s loss, but a wide swath of hardships including job loss, sexual assault, war, sickness, and natural disasters. In so doing the book explores how to help others in their time of need, treat ourselves with compassion, and develop the resilience to brave whatever is ahead.

Recommended by Janet Friedberg, AAUW Colorado Springs (CO) Branch

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

February 2018
Black History Month

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice
Patricia Bell-Scott, Ph.D., 1984−85 AAUW American Fellow (@PBell_Scott)

When 28-year-old Pauli Murray wrote a letter to President Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, protesting southern segregation, she could not have known that it would start a friendship that would last for 25 years. But that is exactly what happened after First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt responded to the letter. The Firebrand and the First Lady provides the first substantive study of how two social justice activists — one the granddaughter of a mixed-race slave, the other a woman whose ancestry made her eligible for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution — formed a relationship that changed the course of race and racism in the United States.

Recommended by Theresa Johnson, AAUW National Member

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

March 2018
Women’s History Month

Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy
Nancy Hendricks

Hattie Caraway became the first female U.S. Senator by chance. When her husband passed away in 1931, she was appointed to fill his seat. What was supposed to be a temporary honor instead launched a career, as Caraway ran for and won reelection. Ultimately, she served as senator for 12 years — her tenure enduring through the Great Depression and World War II. Through previously unpublished letters and photos, Nancy Hendricks takes readers inside a career that altered the face of the U.S. political landscape.

Recommended by Felisha Perrodin, AAUW Fayetteville (AR) Branch

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

April 2018
Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The Kindness of Strangers
Katrina Kittle (@katrinakittle)

Sarah Laden’s life seems like it could not get any more tumultuous. Her husband recently died, her older son, Nate, has developed a rebellious streak, her younger son, Danny, is barely passing his classes, and all the while she is struggling to make ends meet through her catering business. But when an alarming revelation tears apart the family of her closest friend, Laden finds herself fostering her friend’s young son, Jordan. Now Jordan, Sarah, and her family must all cope with the tragedy that Jordan has endured, figure out how to confront and reckon with the truth, and ultimately learn how to forgive and heal.

Recommended by Sharon Williamson, AAUW Middletown (OH) Branch

Available in print, Kindle, and Nook formats

May 2018
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim
Sabeeha Rehman (@SabeehaRehman)

A timely reflection on being Muslim in the United States today, Threading My Prayer Rug is the story of Sabeeha Rehman’s many journeys: from Pakistan to the United States, from being a secular Muslim in an Islamic society to a devout Muslim in a society rife with misunderstandings about Islam, from immigrant to citizen. By challenging stereotypes and offering a new perspective on American life and society through Muslim eyes, Rehman offers a new perspective on what it means to be American.

Recommended by Nancy Ferer, AAUW Greater Wayne Area (NJ) Branch; Pauleta Terven, AAUW Colorado Springs (CO) Branch

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

June 2018
LGBT Pride Month

Then Comes Marriage: United States V. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA
Roberta Kaplan (@kaplanrobbie)

The defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court is one of the most significant civil rights victories in our nation’s history. But how did the case that brought it down — Windsor v. United States — come to be? In Then Comes Marriage, lawyer Roberta Kaplan — who argued the case before the Supreme Court — pulls back the curtain on this landmark case, chronicling the story of how she met plaintiff Edie Windsor and their journey together to defeat DOMA and gain federal recognition for same-sex marriage.

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

July 2018

Stolen Beauty: A Novel
Laurie Lico Albanese (@Laurie_Albanese)

Adele Bloch-Bauer’s life in 1900s Vienna is charmed: She is beautiful, wealthy, intelligent, and in contact with some of the greatest figures of her time including artist Gustav Klimt, for whom she is a model and a lover. In that same city in 1938, her niece, Maria Altmann, watches in horror as the Nazis invade Austria and turn Vienna into a war zone. When the Gestapo arrive at her home, determined to transfer her property into non-Jewish hands, Maria must go to unimaginable lengths to survive and keep her family — and its history — alive. Stolen Beauty breathes life into the story of the two extraordinary women behind one of Gustav Klimt’s most famous paintings: one the model who became The Woman in Gold and the other who saved it from near destruction.

Recommended by Anita Crane, AAUW Hill Country, Inc. (TX) Branch

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

August 2018

The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia: A Novel
Mary Helen Stefaniak, AAUW Iowa eNetwork (IA) Branch Member (@Baka89177805)

Eleven-year-old Gladys Cailiff can’t help but be impressed by her new teacher, Miss Spivey, who arrives in Threestep, Georgia, at the height of the Great Depression. After all, she’s never seen someone quite like her. Miss Spivey smokes, drives a truck, and reads to her class from the classic Thousand and One Nights. Inspired by the book, Miss Spivey decides to turn the annual town festival into a Baghdad bazaar, complete with characters from the stories, a camel, and sets custom-made by the Cailiffs’ gifted neighbor, Theo Boykin, an African American teenager. But when Miss Spivey’s progressive vision proves threatening to some, it triggers a chain of events that culminate in triumph and tragedy for the talented teen.

Recommended by Jan Mitchell, AAUW Iowa eNetwork (IA) Branch Member

Available in print, Kindle, Nook, and audiobook formats

Online Author Discussions

Calling all ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club members! Join AAUW for online chats with ¡Adelante! authors including former fellows and grantees.


Title Date Recording
The Firebrand and the First Lady
by Patricia Bell-Scott, Ph.D.
February 7, 2018 Listen now
The Gilded Years: A Novel
by Karin Tanabe
January 11, 2018 Listen now
The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice
by Winona LaDuke
November 9, 2017 Listen now
A Disability History of the United States
by Kim E. Nielsen, Ph.D.
October 26, 2017 Listen now
Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice
by Joan Biskupic
September 6, 2017 Listen now
Re Jane: A Novel by Patricia Park May 2, 2017 Listen now
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World
by Linda Hirshman
March 28, 2017 Listen now
Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical
by Sherie M. Randolph
February 9, 2017 Listen now
The Poisoned Table by Diane Michael Cantor January 10, 2017 Listen now
The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America
by Sarah Deer
December 1, 2016 Listen now
What is Visible: A Novel
by Kimberly Elkins
November 3, 2016 Listen now
Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict
by Heather Boushey
October 20, 2016 Listen now
The Ones I Bring with Me/Los Que Llevo Conmigo
by Carol Spaulding-Kruse and Kelsey Lepperd
September 28, 2016 Listen now
Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe July 28, 2016 Listen now
Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America
by Rachel Hope Cleves
June 23, 2016 Listen now
by Asali Solomon
February 29, 2016 Listen now
The Cherokee Rose
by Tiya Miles
December 3, 2015 Listen now