Originally posted by Oprah Daily.
McKenzie Jean-Philippe is the editorial assistant at OprahMag.com covering pop culture, TV, movies, celebrity, and lifestyle.
Beginning with her first poetry collection in 1978, bell hooks—the renowned professor, writer, and activist who died on December 15, 2021 at age 69—wrote a total of 34 provocative works interrogating feminism and race, challenging the ways in which they are interconnected. Like James Baldwin, Angela Davis, and Maya Angelou, she was not just one of America's leading writers but a necessary literary voice that brought the Black community’s stories to the forefront.
After receiving her bachelor’s at Stanford and going on to earn a doctorate at the University of California, hooks brought her unyielding and honest perspective to the world of feminist literature. From her debut, Ain't I a Woman, to the celebrated All About Love, hooks’s goal was always to enlighten. Perhaps one of her most apt quotes was this one, from 1999’s Remembered Rapture: “No Black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’... No woman has ever written enough.”
A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hooks taught at Berea College for over 15 years. She was also the founder of the bell hooks Institute, which “celebrates, honors, and documents the life and work” of its namesake. Check out these ten books by the legendary author.
1. The Will to Change (2004)
$13 AT AMAZON In this acclaimed work, hooks speaks to men of all ages, ethnicities, and sexual identities to address their pressing questions about love and masculinity.
2. Communion (2002)
Now 10% off $14 AT AMAZON Communion serves as a heartfelt address to women, guiding them to search for and choose love as a way to set out on the path to ultimate freedom.
3. All About Love (2000)
$11 AT AMAZON In what is arguably hooks's most popular work, the scholar seeks to clarify the true definition of love in our society. Here she makes the argument that only love can heal social divisions and enable us to come together as a true community.
5. Where We Stand (2000)
$32 AT AMAZON In this unflinching meditation, hooks returns to her roots to analyze the intersectionality of class and race and how society can break free of systemic boundaries.
6. Bone Black (1996)
Now 18% off $14 AT AMAZON As a memoir, Bone Black is a revealing look into hooks's life, exploring her journey to womanhood and through her career as a writer in an unequal society.
7. Killing Rage (1995)
Now 23% off $14 AT AMAZON Written from the perspective of feminists and Black Americans, Killing Rage is a book of 23 essays that address the reality of systemic racism in the United States.
8. Teaching to Transgress (1994)
$35 AT AMAZON Here, Hooks proposes that all teachers should strive to encourage their students to reject gender, race, and class divides.
9. Feminist Theory (1984)
$17 AT AMAZON Considered radical when it was first published in 1984, hooks's Feminist Theory boldly critiqued the lack of intersectionality in the feminist movement, providing a blueprint for unity in the fight for gender equality.
10. Ain't I a Woman (1981)
$26 AT AMAZON This classic 1981 work of feminist scholarship remains essential for an understanding of what it is to be a Black woman in America.
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