It’s been quite a long time since I had time to write about books! I fell behind with the number of books I have to share with you all.

But that’s COVID 19 life I guess, right?

Hopefully, you have the time to read since none of us are going anywhere these days. Maybe that’s why I have so many books to share!

Last winter, I read through landmark feminist Gloria Steinem’s The Truth Will Set You Free, but First it Will Piss you Off!: Thoughts on Life, Love, and Rebellion. Based on one of her most famous, quotes, this short little book is a collection of Steinem’s most memorable quotes and phrases since the 1970s.

While Steinem has always been a hero of mine, I appreciated having the opportunity to zero in on some of her most poignant messages. 

Steinem opens the book explaining why she thinks quotes are so powerful and why she wanted to collect them in a book all their own.

“Somewhere between poetry and journalism lives the magical land of quotes. They may be fact or fantasy, personal or political, from academia or the street, but they are smart enough to be memorable and short enough to remember”

(Steinem xi)

“Passing on a quote is like putting a note in a bottle and sending it out to sea. You may never know who will find your words — or who said or wrote the words you may find — but each quote is an entry in the diary of humankind. Without such honest words, that diary would be incomplete”

(Steinem xv)

Steinem collects her quotes into six sections: “Families Born and Chosen,” “Changing Aging,” “Work is Not a Four-Letter Word,” “Among Co-Conspirators and Adversaries,” “Laughing Our Way to the Revolution,” and “In the Street.”

Each section comes on reflections on family, aging, work, friends, humor, and purpose from Steinem; and, she ends each section with a collection of quotes from women who are her friends and inspiration. She includes nuggets of wisdom from women like Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Alice Walker, Anaïs Nin, bell hooks, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Toni Morrison, Marlo Thomas, Anne Lamott, Margaret Atwood, and Shirley Chisholm.

At the very end, Steinem includes blank pages encouraging readers to jot down quotes from their own writing and speaking as well as quotes they love from other people. 

One of my favorite aspects of this little book (I finished it in a day, but I reference it all the time) is the artwork. Illustrator Samantha Dion Baker uses Prussian blue watercolor and black ink to bring Steinem’s words to life. As an amateur acrylic and sketch artist, I felt inspired to imitate Baker’s style as I doodled in my reader’s notebook.

An example of Baker’s artwork in Steinem’s book.

This is a good book to keep on your desk at work (or at home!) for those days when you need a kick of inspiration.

Trigger Warnings: misogyny; sexism

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