Our Bodies, Our Books


Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era

by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (Touchstone, 2005)

With colorful photos of hymens, this “book by and for women” has sold more than 4 million copies in 18 languages. The latest edition is a bit trendier than earlier ones, featuring info on boob jobs, bikini waxes, and the meaning of “vulva chic.”

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

by Christiane Northrup, M.D. (Bantam, 1998)

The author, a feminist holistic physician, believes bodily dysfunctions can be healed, and even prevented, by utilizing herbs, receiving acupuncture, and making more friends.

Woman: An Intimate Geography

by Natalie Angier (Anchor, 2000)

Addressing the reader as “Sister,” Angier, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biology writer for The New York Times, offers a “scientific fantasia of womanhood,” celebrating all aspects of the female body. The X chromosome, she says, has a “vastly higher gene richness” than the “depauperized little stump” we call the Y.

Health Issues for Women of Color: A Cultural Diversity Perspective

edited by Diane L. Adams, M.D. (SAGE Publications, 1995)

Black, Native American, Asian, and Middle Eastern women in the United States are dying far earlier than the rest of the American population. This book was the first to carefully explore, and protest, the disparity.

The Second X: The Biology of Women

by Colleen Belk and Virginia Borden (Custom Publishing, 1998)

The authors upset the conventional idea that women are mini-versions of men.

The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health

by Karen J. Carlson, M.D.; Stephanie A. Eisenstat, M.D.; Terra Ziporyn, P.H.D. (Belknap Press, 2004)

An upbeat, alphabetized encyclopedia with entries on ordinary bodily concerns—anxiety, fat-fear, mysterious rashes—as well as rare reproductive diseases.

The Big Bang: Nerve’s Guide to the New Sexual Universe

by The Writers at Nerve (Plume Books, 2003)

Good pictures of twiggy hipsters, mostly naked, accompany explanations of concepts like “foreplay,” “female ejaculation,” and “sexual fitness.” The chapter on STDs is simply titled “Read This Chapter.”

The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health

by Elizabeth G. Stewart, M.D. and Paula Spencer (Bantam, 2002)

The authors encourage women to “loosen up” and talk about what’s “down there.” The guide covers anatomy, self-care, a vast array of minor diseases, and strategies for better communicating with your doctor.