Every year, FFL organizes a reading challenge. We supply 10 prompts to help women lean into literacy and also expand their reading habits! Our 2020 Reading Challenge included prompts that encouraged our readers to explore books by politicians, about cultures other than their own, to listen to an audio-book, and to start a new series. 

Here are ten women talking about what they’ve read so far this year to fulfill one, or more, of the prompts of the 2020 FFL Reading Challenge.

There’s still time to participate–and stay tuned for our 2021 challenge this winter!

Caroline: A Book by A Member of Congress

Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw

We all know who Dan Crenshaw is but we didn’t know his story. Almost like a dark horse, one day Rep. Crenshaw was there and speaking some truths that left many conservative slow clapping. I wanted to read this book to learn more about him and what has led him to where he is today. In a well-written memoir/political commentary book, Rep. Crenshaw covers his common sense approach to conservatism through his own anecdotes, the political thought that preceded him, and his own experience. One of my friends who leans left has also read this book and enjoyed it as much as I did. This book is for everyone!

Lucy: An Audiobook Read by the Author & A Book Reviewed by FFL

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush

Within this prompt, my favorite book was “Sisters First.” I thoroughly enjoyed reading stories about the White House but from the perspectives of Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush. As someone who doesn’t like celebrity gossip and such, it was refreshing to hear coming of age stories about this dynamic duo without the media distorting anything. This book was heartfelt, honest, and a perfect read for anyone, but it is particularly comforting and relatable for anyone who has grown up in a politically active family.

Stormi: A Book Published in 2020

Followers by Megan Angelo

Followers takes place in two separate timelines, one in 2016 where two roommates are using the power of social media to make one of them a famous figure and another timeline in the far off dystopian future where the internet and social media as we know it no longer exists. I picked this up because I am truly the stereotype of someone obsessed with social media. This book really highlights the power we freely give social media and the influencers we follow, and it sheds a light on how dangerous it can be to put your entire life out on the internet for the world to comment on. I definitely think it’s something that those of us attached to our phones should all pick up because it’s exciting and fast paced, but also emotionally moving and makes for great self-reflection. 

Ashley: A Book About A Culture Other Than Your Own

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a coming of age story for 2 girls who live in different generations in Afghanistan. Miriam, born in the 1960s, lives a different life from Laila, born about 15 years later, who grew up totally different; Miriam living in the outskirts of town in shame and Laila living in the big city with loving parents. Soon, their lives intertwine and they must rely on each other to survive the new oppressive Taliban regime.   I love this book because it opened my eyes to a whole culture you rarely hear about now unless you’re talking about terrorism. I hadn’t realized before the rise of the Taliban, Afghan women had more freedom than they do now. This book is a tearjerker for sure, but the author writes so incredibly well that you’re willing to suffer with the characters. I highly suggest this book!

Stephanie: A Book Reviewed By FFL & A Book That Is The 1st In A Series

American Royals by Katharine McGee

America is known for many things, but key among all is its unique conception of a President. It is difficult to imagine the United States bowing to a Crown, yet this is exactly what my prompt’s book, American Royals, aims to do: envision an alternate course our country could have taken in 1789. Beyond this voyage into a New World, the book also examines the lives of four strong-willed female voices at the helm of the monarchy. I found myself sympathizing with Beatrice’s sense of duty, admiring Daphne’s ambition, identifying with Sam’s tenacity, and rooting for Nina’s fight to fit into two different worlds. It weaves beautifully the ideals of romance, friendship and family- all while the country prepares for the future reign of an American Queen. 

Kelley: A Book About Someone You Admire

George Washington by Ron Chernow

As a college professor who teaches American History, I read incessantly to find new stories to share with my students, stories that make a person long dead seem alive and relevant. Chernow’s work accomplished that in no small measure.  As the “Father of our country,” I never fully appreciated the enormity of the tasks before Washington – first as general of a fledgling, untrained, ill-equipped army, then as president of a new and completely untried form of government. He, for all intents and purposes, invented the role, becoming the model for all successive presidents.  The biography covers every aspect of George Washington’s life from birth to death: his childhood and the lifelong disrespect from his mother (he was never good enough in her eyes), his yearning to be given an officer’s commission by British Army, his days as an explorer, his political career, and his life as a plantation owner.  Biographies such as these have much to teach us. Exploring the past, gaining an understanding of the men who founded our nation on conservative principles of “individual rights bestowed by God” is something each of us should do. Men such as Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Ulysses S . Grant, Abraham Lincoln have much to teach us. We cannot know where we are going if we do not know how we began. 

Ashley: A Book About Someone You Admire

With All Due Respect by Nikki Haley

To fulfill the prompt of reading a book about someone I admire, I read “With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace” by Nikki R. Haley, former governor of South Carolina and former United States Ambassador to the United Nations. I loved this book, because it is form the perspective of southern female Conservative who is also a minority. As an African-American Conservative, I could relate to a lot of what Nikki wrote, and her success really inspires me. The book starts off with Haley’s time as the governor of South Carolina at the time of the 2015 Charleston church shooting, and then moves to Nikki’s time as the United States Ambassador to United Nations during Donald Trump’s presidency. I wanted to read this book, because I like the perspective of Conservative female political leaders. I learned a lot from reading With all Due Respect, but I think the most important thing that I took away from the book, was how to exhibit grace under fire, no matter what the circumstances are. Nikki taught me that you can be both strong and kind at the same time; they do not have to be mutually exclusive. Before reading this book, I didn’t see a future for myself in public office, by the end of the book I began considering a double minor in Political Science and Spanish. Nikki truly made me believe that the sky is the limit! I would recommend this book to all young women both Conservative and Liberal, because every young woman can benefit from words of wisdom by female leader. 

Hannah: A Book By A Famous Conservative Who Isn’t an Elected Official

Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulo

This year, I read Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos. I liked how he discussed every aspect of the Left. Then, he discussed the hypocrisy and evilness about the given categories. I learned a lot about the Left, especially how they want to squash free speech for those who don’t agree with them. In fact, I always recommend it to my friends, as it was both hilarious and intelligent. I even wrote a review about it on my blog, Young Patriot Rising.

Aryssa: A Book of Short Stories

And Go Like This by John Crowley

Short story collections can be hit or miss, but I really enjoyed this collection of literary short stories by John Crowley, who is known for writing beautiful prose and some thick, fantasy-esque novels. This collection has stories about growing up, about falling in love, about past and present, and it’s less than 300 pages, so you’ll fly right through it. 

Lynn: A Book By a 2020 Presidential Candidate

Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg

I think there is real merit in reading a book by someone you don’t agree with, and if you want to beat the left, you have to know how they think. But I was so pleasantly surprised with Pete Buttigieg’s book.It’s got some policy stuff in it, but it’s also about his experience becoming the mayor of a town that was struggling, South Bend, Indiana, and fighting for his office despite being a young, gay veteran. Buttigieg also ended up faring a lot better in the primaries than many of us expected, so I anticipate to see him run for higher office again–so reading this book helped me understand what to expect in the future as well. 

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member