You can Support Project Access this End of Year Season!


Staff Summer Book Picks


Rosann, Lisa, Natasha, and Lianne show off their book recs!

Our staff loves to read – especially books about reproductive health and access issues!  So this summer we thought we’d share a few of our favorites so you could add them to your summer reading list. And if you have any recommendations, send them our way. Happy reading!

p.s. If you buy any of these books (or other items) through the Amazon links in this post, a percentage of your purchase will be donated to the Reproductive Health Access Project!


Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Recommended by: Rosann Mariappuram

This book is about Paul Farmer, a doctor and advocate who has dedicated his life to providing high-quality health care for the poor all over the world. Farmer began living and working in Haiti as a doctor and he soon set up a rural health clinic that cares for patients with TB, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. His mantra is truly inspiring: The poor deserve the best possible care, the same health care accessed by people in Europe and the U.S. Unfortunately, his message sounds radical to many of the public health officials he encounters, but Paul Farmer’s relentless commitment to the poor wins everyone over – from Siberian prison officers to the World Health Organization.


Protect and Defend by Richard North Patterson
Recommended by: Linda Prine

This legal drama is actually a pro-choice abortion story about a pregnant teen who wants an abortion and her religious fundamentalist parents who don’t want her to have one.  It’s a gripping legal drama – a great beach read!




Cunt:  A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio
Recommended by: Mia Mattioli

This 1998 book caused quite a stir for it’s name alone, but conservatives beware once the cover is pulled back.  In this feminist rant, Inga recounts how “cunt” was a title of respect for women thousands of years ago that has since become a pejorative.  She rallies women to breakdown any and all socially-imposed boundaries between their bodies and their sexuality and reclaim this word and their wombs.  As she oscillates between such topics as sex workers, birth control, and menstrual cycles, Inga weaves a personal story that is audacious and thought-provoking for all readers.


The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Recommended by: Lisa Maldonado

I’m working my way through a bunch of books this summer.  I am by far the most excited about this one.  It is the July/August pick for my book club.  Eugenides is a wonderful, engaging writer.  I loved Middlesex and the Virgin Suicides.  This book follows the interwoven lives and loves of three college friends.




Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Recommended by: Rosann Mariappuram

This is not only a book, but also a call to action. Kristof and WuDunn argue that the oppression of women across the world is the biggest human rights crisis facing our modern world. They examine rape as a tool of war, maternal mortality, and prostitution as concrete forms of oppression, but also tackle broader topics such as lack of education and outdated social norms that keep girls from becoming independent and self sustaining. This book offers suggestions for how you can personally help end oppression and steps that governments and the international organizations can take on a broader scale.



Managing Contraception for Your Pocket by Mimi Zieman, Robert A. Hatcher, Carrie Cwiak, Philip D. Darney, Mitchell D. Creinin, Harriet R. Stosur

Recommended by: Natasha Miller

Probably not the ideal beach read, but definitely a must for your bookshelf. This is such a handy little guide covering all you ever need to know about contraception – for providers and interested consumers alike. Even as a non-clinician, I find myself flipping through this book all the time. It covers broad topics, such as the different methods of contraception. It also covers the nitty gritty details, like the exact timing an IUD should be inserted postpartum.  And it’s pretty cute: perfect for your purse and/or pocket!



The Truth About the Drug Companies  by Marcia Angell, M.D.
Recommended by: Mia Mattioli

Dr. Angell is a board-certified pathologist and the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine.  In her book, she describes how pharmaceutical research and advertising changed during her time on the editorial staff.  She also questions, and begs the reader to question, why big pharma is allowed to manipulate the American health care system in such a unique way.  I read this book while studying abroad in London, England, so I was able to visualize and experience some of the differences Angell describes and that really brought the critiques to life.



Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America by Andrea Tone
Recommended by: Linda Prine

This book examines the history of birth control: From the time Americans used illegal contraception in the last century, to medically approved methods in this one. Along with meeting interesting characters, such as inventors who created cervical caps out of watch springs, this compelling book explores the political, economic and social impact of birth control and its emergence in America.




The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Recommended by: Natasha Miller

This is one of my all time faves. A quirky novel about the odd and sweet ways the tenants’ lives in a Parisian apartment building all intersect. Think Amélie – but in a book. It’s a quick, easy read for those hot Summer nights (I suggest pairing it with some ice cream, or maybe a croissant, for the optimal experience).




The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best by Christine K. Jahnke
Recommended by: Erin Henriks

This book provides skills and techniques for women to be successful public speakers and presenters (the author actually advised Michelle Obama and trained Hillary Clinton on speaking during her campaign). This is a practical read for all women seeking respect, confidence, and power in the workplace (which should be everyone!).




Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex, and Safety  by Nikol Hasler
Recommend by: Lianne Salcido

They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but based on the front of Nikol Hasler’s chronicle for teenagers, it’s pretty safe to say that this book is going to get down, dirty, and straight to the point. I read this book before showing it to a youth group I was working with, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how well the author tied in the touchy (and for some, embarrassing) topic of sex with honest and direct answers. The range of information is vast; everything from birth control to kinks and fetishes is discussed. I’m also a big fan of the author’s tone, for example one section is titled “The Biology of Boners.” Awesome.  The Q&A sections of the book are my favorite and actually resemble some of the exact same questions I remember asking myself when I was a teenager. I would recommend this book to any teen as well as parents who are looking for a resource to help them talk to their kids about sex.


View More Posts on Topic

Make a donation

Your gift allows us to mobilize, train, and support clinicians across the United States so they provide reproductive health care.