Cover Photo: Getty Images

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we asked Hong Kong Tatler editors to share their favourite empowering reads written by female authors, so you can get inspired to make positive changes in your life, too

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

"Never has a book had me nodding and chuckling in public like Jia Tolentino's Trick Mirror. The New Yorker essayist is unmatched in her ability to delve down into seemingly trivial facets of contemporary culture and emerge with salient points that strike the heart of the matter every time. It's a book for everyone, but particularly women, who feel torn between feelings of cynicism and seduction towards ideas self-optimisation, marriage, feminism, religion and spirituality, substance-induced euphoria... and very expensive workout leggings."—Lauren James, Deputy Editor

The Art of Eating

"In 1954, renowned food writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, known to most as M.F.K. Fisher, published The Art of Eating, a collective volume combining five of her books. One of the earliest and most prolific food writer of her time, Fisher’s honest observations and approachable writing style allow us to connect head-on with food, through her eloquent prose and simple recipes. It was a time before Netflix, Instagram, and The Food Network, but The Art Of Eating under Fisher’s words recorded a forgotten world of food memories for a world, if not future generations as us, to see and rediscover the true joy of food."—Wilson Fok, Dining Editor

Becoming by Michelle Obama

"Becoming by Michelle Obama is a personal favourite. From start to finish it’s compelling, deeply personal and a really nice vignette into her life both before and after she became the First Lady. For someone so accomplished, you would think that she has no business being so gracious, humble and authentic. But she is! It’ll make you laugh and cry and by the end of the 448 page memoir, you’ll feel empowered as hell."—Tara Sobti, Society Editor

Gaddafi's Harem by Annick Cojean

"When Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed in 2011, few knew that he had spent years abducting hundreds of young women. Award-winning journalist Annick Cojean covered the downfall of Gaddafi for the French newspaper Le Monde and subsequently met Soraya, who was imprisoned by Gaddafi aged 15. Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya gives voice to her story. Painfully tragic but ultimately redemptive, Soraya recalls witnessing abuses of power not only by Libyan officials but some of the world's most influential politicians and diplomats."—Annie Darling, Editorial Director – Watches & Jewellery

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

"Never has a book resonated with me more than Cheryl Strayed’s Wild—a must read for anyone feeling lost in life, whether you’re facing a major crossroads or going through a difficult time. Strayed’s ambitious trek across the challenging Pacific Crest Trail was fuelled by loss, trauma and the desire to extract herself from a rapid downward spiral when she was in her 20s; weaved in through the descriptive vignettes of her pushing through sheer physical pain are truly poignant recollections of her memories of her late mother, whose spirit lives on in the young Strayed. A truly inspirational book that represents how even in the deepest, darkest days we can find the strength to carry on. Ps: the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon is fine, but the book is absolutely phenomenal."—Charmaine Mok, Editorial Director, Dining

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

"Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a classic read. Much like the author, the protagonist Elizabeth Bennet is a young woman ahead of her time, trapped by her economic and social status as well as by the gender norms of the early eighteenth century. It’s a book that I first read during my school years, have always found to be empowering while also being romantic, and I have returned to time and time again."—Kristy Or, Associate Editor 

How to Be a Bawse by Lily Singh

“I’ve been a fan of Lily Singh for a few years now, and while her YouTube channel comprises mostly comedy sketches, women empowerment has always been a key message in her videos. This book is not about her road to becoming a superstar, but rather, a book packed with sound advice that anyone, no matter what stage in life they're in, will find helpful and relatable. The tone of the book is very Lily Singh—positive, conversational and witty, and each chapter is an insight into the incredible lessons that give rise to a badass girl boss.”—Pearl Yan, Digital Projects Editor

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

"I had never encountered a non-fiction book that was a page turner, yet once I started Tara Westover's memoir Educated, I couldn’t put it down. Tara grew up in a survivalist family, where prepping for “the end of days” trumped any schooling and medical attention was futile. Throughout the book, we see Tara build her own thoughts and beliefs that will leave her with the difficult decision of turning her back on everything she’s ever known or renouncing her self-hood. Not only is it fascinating to dive into this unfamiliar and shocking world but her story, although extreme, is also very relatable to anyone who has ever wanted to go against the grain despite family or societal pressures."—Natasha Tang, Associate Editor, Dining

© 2021 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.