Up next in the Well-Read Women series is a familiar face here at Fully Booked, Reina Regina! She is an author, professional tarot reader, and Instagram creator. She reviews for the First Look Club, and just last year published an indie poetry book called Please Pick Me. She also occasionally teaches at tarot talks and workshops at Fully Booked.
Why she thinks it's important to read women
Women have shaped so much of the world we live in today—the world that we take for granted. Yet, history has buried our voices, denied our contributions, and made us feel like traits such as softness, vulnerability, and compassion are weak or undesirable, when in fact these qualities are essential to a prosperous society and are necessary parts of the human experience.
When we read women authors, we say that women’s stories matter. We acknowledge that women’s contributions exist and are important. We celebrate the complexity of female characters, and normalize appreciating this complexity in women in real life.
Finally, as an author and creator myself, when we support women authors (i.e. when we invest our money in them), we’re helping women stay gainfully employed and strengthening their position in the workplace.
And when women are not shut out of job opportunities and have financial freedom, they’re empowered to drive change in society and to take charge of their own destinies.
Check out her recommended reads!
First on the list is Know My Name by Chanel Miller, which despite being a New York Times bestseller in 2019, is a book that needs to be talked about more everywhere.
In our current world, the danger of sexual violence is part and parcel of life as a woman. But too often when a woman experiences sexual assault, rape becomes the frame in which we see her humanity.
Know My Name sketches the poignant, minute details of the aftermath of sexual assault in Chanel Miller's remarkable voice, and also shows that a woman is still powerful and worthwhile outside of it.
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls was one of my First Look Club optional reads, which I never got to review but have shared extensively with friends and fellow readers (the photo features an e-book because my FLC copy is with a friend now).
Mona Eltahawy writes that the seven necessary sins for women are: anger, attention, profanity, ambition, power, violence, and lust. From a young age, we’re shamed into being patient, small, polite, content, pliant, peace-loving, and pure—all things that equate girls with being good.
In order to step into our power, we need to be comfortable rejecting the idea that we need to be "good" all the time, as well as to remind ourselves that as women, we are still good people even if we drop the F-word when we’re mad or have unapologetically high ambitions.
Who doesn't love a good princess story? My favourite princess stories are found in Sarah Gristwood's Game of Queens, a timeline of female European monarchs who shaped history!
While medieval standards for empowered women look very different from the feminism we champion today, it's fascinating (and educational!) to see how women leaders used the tools they had at their disposal to outwit, outmaneuver, and outlast men who would rather see their heads cut off than crowned.
And speaking of women leaders—
Men have used and exploited the ancient text of The Art of War in business for centuries. It's about time that more strategic women are lauded, and made!
Sun Tzu for Women gives practical advice on how to fuse your femininity with a victor's indomitable spirit, how to negotiate better rates, and how to nurture and network with other women—as well as reveals the earth-shattering secret that your male colleagues are not necessarily better, just raised without a voice in their head conditioning them to settle for less.
My list comes full circle with Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. For people with vaginas, our patriarchal society has often used our sexuality to reduce our individuality.
Having a frank relationship with your vagina, knowing it for what it is and what it isn’t, means that your sexuality can’t be used as a tool to fool you into thinking your humanity is tied up in what you do or don’t do down there.
Although I’ve never seen the play, it was still deeply life-changing for me to read an entire book centered around the vagina, not as something shameful, clinical, or an object of attraction to the male gaze, but as a part of my body that was delightful, normal, and fully in my power to share or not share as I pleased.
To keep up with her tiny tarot stories daily, follow Reina on Instagram @reinaxregina.