Of course there’s Period! if you want to read about menstruation. But there are also some pretty awesome books about periods. We present you more than 28 options: one for every day of the average cycle. Beware: this is a selection in random order, from rather quirky to highly elaborated, classic titles and brand new, academic publications. If you like: click on the links for extra shopping information.
Period Matters – Menstruation in South Asia (Farah Ahamed)
We sincerely enjoyed this brand new volume: Period Matters – Menstruation in South Asia edited by Farah Ahamed (published by Macmillan). In this intriquing anthology you’ll find essays, artwork, stories and poems from politicians and policymakers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, students, activists, nuns, prisoners and the homeless. Together this provides a glimpse into the way menstruation is viewed by people from different backgrounds, religions and classes. While activist Granaz Baloch narrates how she defied traditional notions of tribal honour and conducted the first-ever menstrual health workshop in Pakistan, Radha Paudel writes about her mission to have menstrual dignity acknowledged as a human right in Nepal. Shashi Tharoor relays his radical Menstrual Rights Bill which was tabled in the Indian parliament.
We hear from Erum about the challenges of getting one’s period when incarcerated, as Farzana and Chandan relate how mimicking the rituals of menstruation helps them feel more feminine as transwomen. Tishani Doshi wrote a beautiful poem about her uterus. Ayra Indrias Patras describes how some poor women in Pakistan managed their period during the Covid-19 pandemic. Have we mentioned the art section already? This is ranging from Anish Kapoor’s oil paintings, Shahzia Sikander’s neo-miniaturist art and photographs of wall murals in Jharkhand, to Sarah Naqvi’s embroidery. Last but not least, Amna Mawaz Khan offers a perspective through the choreography of menstrual dance. Okay, maybe you need to buy a copy. More information on periodmattersbook.com.
Cash Flow – The Businesses of menstruation (Camilla Mørk Røstvik)
The menstrual product industry has played a huge role in shaping the past hundred years of menstrual culture, including technological innovation, creative advertising, and education. How much do we know about this sector and how has it changed in later decades? What constitutes ‘the industry’, who works in it, and how is it adapting to the current menstrual equity movement? Cash Flow provides a new academic study of the menstrual corporate landscape to the current day. Each chapter examines one brand, like Saba in Norway, Essity in Sweden, Tambrands in the Soviet Union, Procter & Gamble in Britain and Europe, Kimberly-Clark in North America, and start-ups like Clue and Thinx. Cash Flow from dr. Camilla Mørk Røstvik is a must read for anyone interested in the menstrual field.
The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies (Chris Bobel, Inga T Winkler, Breanne Fahs, Katie Hasson, Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, Tomi-Ann Roberts and many others)
Palgrave Handbooks are high-quality, original reference works that bring together specially commissioned chapters, cutting-edge research, and the latest review articles in their fields. This of course also applies to The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies. This open access handbook (+1,000 pages!) is a must read for everyone who works in the menstrual field. It provides a comprehensive and carefully curated multidisciplinary and genre-spanning view of the state of the field of menstruation studies, opening up new directions in research and advocacy. It’s animated by the central question: what new lines of inquiry are possible when we center our attention on menstrual health and politics across the life course? The chapters establish ‘menstruation’ as a potent lens that reveals, complicates and unpacks inequalities across biological, social, cultural and historical dimensions. Order a print copy or download for free via palgrave.com/gp/book/9789811506130
Period Queen: Life hack your cycle and own your power all month long (Lucy Peach)
As young girls, most of us were given the talk about how to manage our periods. It’s the beginning of a tedious bloody grind, one of the last great taboos. But the truth is, the menstrual cycle has benefits – big, fantastic, daily, monthly, even lifelong, benefits. Period Queen takes the worst thing about being a woman and turns it into the best thing. Author, folk singer, sexual health educator and theatre maker Lucy Peach (Australia) urges us to stop treating periods like nature’s consolation prize for being a woman, banishing the notion that hormones reduce us to being random emotional rollercoasters. Become an expert in recognising what you need at different times of the month and learn how every cycle gives you a chance to cultivate the most important relationship of your life: the one with your precious self. That’s pretty bloody amazing.
50 Things You Need to Know About Periods: Know your flow and live in sync with your cycle (Claire Baker)
It’s time to talk about periods. Women are taught not to discuss them in public; the subject is still rife with stigma and shame. In 50 Things You Need to Know About Periods, Australian period coach and natural fertility teacher Claire Baker shares 50 life skills to help understand the internal rhythm that women move through each month(ish). It allows the reader to discover the tools they need to work with their body, rather than pushing against it, and ultimately sync social life, exercise, self-care, holidays, budgeting, projects, and sex life around each phase of the menstrual cycle to enhance well-being. Brimming with clear instructions, self-care strategies, honest stories, and current research, this empowering book has the goal to reassure, educate and amuse. Mission accomplished, we think.
Period Power: Harness Your Hormones and Get Your Cycle Working for You (Maisie Hill)
The hormones of the menstrual cycle profoundly influence our energy, mood and behaviour, but all too often we’re taught that our hormones make us unreliable, moody bitches, or that it’s our lot in life to put up with ‘women’s problems’. Maisie Hill, a women’s health practitioner, knows the power of working with the menstrual cycle and refuses to accept this theory. Instead, she believes that our hormones are there to serve us and, if utilized correctly, can be used to help you get what you want out of life. Yes, we are hormonal, and that’s a very good thing. Period Power reveals everything you need to know about taking control of your menstrual cycle and outlines The Cycle Strategy to help us perform at our best, throughout our cycle. It’s a no-nonsense guide with all the tools you need to improve your menstrual health.
Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology (Sharra L Vostral)
In the United States, for the better part of the twentieth century, menstruation went hand-in-glove with menstrual hygiene. But how and why did this occur? Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology looks at the social history of menstrual hygiene by examining it as a technology. In doing so, the lens of technology provides a way to think about menstrual artifacts, how the artifacts are used, and how women gained the knowledge and skills to use them. As technological users, women developed great savvy in manipulating belts, pins, and pads, and using tampons to effectively mask their entire menstrual period. This masking is a form of passing, though it is not often thought of in that way. By using a technology of passing, a woman might pass temporarily as a non-bleeder, which could help her perform her work duties and not get fired or maintain social engagements like swimming at a summer party and not be marked as having her period. How women use technologies of passing, and the resulting politics of secrecy, are a part of women’s history that has remained under wraps.
The Modern Period: Menstruation in Twentieth-Century America (Lara Freidenfelds)
In the early twentieth century women typically used homemade cloth ‘diapers’ to absorb menstrual blood, avoided chills during their periods to protect their health, and counted themselves lucky if they knew something about menstruation before menarche. New expectations at school, at play, and in the workplace, however, made these menstrual traditions problematic, and middle-class women quickly sought new information and products that would make their monthly periods less disruptive to everyday life. Lara Freidenfelds traces this cultural shift, showing how Americans reframed their thinking about menstruation. She explains how women and men collaborated with sex educators, menstrual product manufacturers, advertisers, physical education teachers, and doctors to create a modern understanding of menstruation. The Modern Period ties historical changes in menstrual practices to a much broader argument about American popular modernity in the twentieth century.
Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement (Nadya Okamoto)
Throughout history, periods have been hidden from the public. They are taboo. They are embarrassing. They are gross. And due to a crumbling or non-existent national sex ed program, they are misunderstood. Because of these stigmas, a status quo has been established to exclude people who menstruate from the seat at the decision-making table, creating discriminations like the tampon tax, medicines that favor male biology, and more. Period Power – written by period.org founder and former Harvard College student Nadya Okamoto – aims to explain what menstruation is, shed light on the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.
The Sabarimala Confusion – Menstruation Across Cultures: A Historical Perspective (Nithin Sridhar)
The Sabarimala Confusion attempts to provide a detailed review of menstruation notions prevalent in India and in cultures from across the world. Covered are Indic traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; ancient civilisations such as Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia and Egypt; and Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Two themes of special focus are Impurity and Sacrality: often understood as being opposed to each other, the book examines how they’re treated as two sides of the same coin when it comes to menstruation.
Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand For Menstrual Equity (Jennifer Weiss-Wolf)
After millennia of being shrouded in taboo and superstition, periods have gone mainstream. A new, high-profile movement has emerged- one dedicated to bold activism, creative product innovation, and smart policy advocacy- to address menstruation in relation to core issues of gender equality and equity. In Periods Gone Public, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf explores how periods have come to be a prominent political cause – from enacting new laws to eliminate the tampon tax, to ensuring access to affordable, safe products. The author shares her firsthand account in the fight for ‘period equity’ and introduces readers to many of the leaders, pioneers and everyday people who are making change happen.
The Curse – A Cultural History of Menstruation (Janice Delaney)
First published in 1977, but still very much up to date. The Curse – A Cultural History of Menstruation explores a range of hidden assumptions and attitudes about menstruation in a number of cultures, including all the myths and superstitions that still exist today.
The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation (Karen Houppert)
Yep, another book named The Curse. Only this provocative look at the way our culture deals with menstruation was published in 2000. The Curse examines the culture of concealment that surrounds menstruation and the devastating impact such secrecy has on women’s physical and psychological health. Karen Houppert argues that industry ad campaigns have effectively stymied consumer debate, research, and safety monitoring of the sanitary-protection industry. By telling girls and women how to think and talk about menstruation, the mostly male-dominated media have set a tone that shapes women’s experiences for them, defining what they’re allowed to feel about their periods, their bodies, and their sexuality.
I’ve Got My Period. So What? (Clara Henry)
Your period. What is it, really? And why is it so embarrassing to walk to the bathroom hiding a tampon in your sleeve? Comedian and Scandinavian YouTube sensation Clara Henry has the answers to all your burning questions about bleeding. Have you always wondered what menstruation is, why it causes terrible cramps, or why it makes you want to do nothing but eating chocolate and watching cute cat videos? Have you been shocked that it’s taboo to talk about something that half the world’s population goes through every month? And above all, have you been looking for the best snarky response to the question ‘Are you on your period, or what?’ This funny and informative book will tell you everything you need to know. Welcome to the period club.
Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation (Elissa Stein and Susan Kim)
The Curse is of course an understandable title for books about periods. Same goes for that other euphemism: Flow. Flow is an easy-going and hilarious exploration of people’s fear when it comes to menstruation. It spans a fascinating, occasionally wacky and sometimes downright scary story: from ritual cleansing baths to menopause, from hysteria to hysterectomies, the Pill, cramps, the history of underwear, and the movie about puberty they showed you in fifth grade. The books answers questions like: what’s the point of getting a period? What did women do before pads and tampons? What about new drugs that promise to end periods – a good idea or not? Sex during your period: gross or a turn-on? And what’s normal, anyway? With colour reproductions of historical ads and early femcare devices, it also provides a mind-boggling gallery of this complex, personal and uniquely female process.
New Blood: Third-Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation (Chris Bobel)
New Blood offers a fresh interdisciplinary look at feminism-in-flux. For over three decades, menstrual activists have questioned the safety and necessity of feminine care products while contesting menstruation as a deeply entrenched taboo. Chris Bobel shows how a little-known yet enduring force in the feminist health, environmental, and consumer rights movements lays bare tensions between second- and third-wave feminisms and reveals a complicated story of continuity and change within the women’s movement. Through her critical ethnographic lens, Bobel focuses on debates central to feminist thought (including the utility of the category ‘gender’) and challenges to building an inclusive feminist movement. A detailed look at period politics and menstrual activists through the years.
It’s Only Blood: Shattering the Taboo of Menstruation (Anna Dahlqvist)
In It’s Only Blood, journalist Anna Dahlqvist tells the shocking but also moving stories of why and how people from the United States to Uganda, Sweden to Bangladesh, are fighting back against the shame. This collection of interviews highlights perfectly why menstrual equity is a human right. Every day 800,000,000 people menstruate. Yet menstruation is still seen as a mark of shame. We are told not to discuss it in public, that tampons and sanitary pads should be hidden away, the blood rendered invisible. In many parts of the world, poverty, culture, and religion collide, causing the taboo around menstruation to have grave consequences. Younger people who menstruate are deterred from going to school, adults from going to work, and infections are left untreated. The shame is universal and the silence a global rule.
Her Blood Is Gold: Awakening to the Wisdom of Menstruation (Lara Owen)
Her blood is gold, first published in 1993, has become a classic in the literature of women’s health. The book is divided into five parts. The first, Beliefs and Attitudes, begins with an exploration of our current perspective on menstruation in the Western industrialised world. Part Two, Reclaiming the Cycle, is about being a woman today and how our health and well-being are damaged by negative attitudes toward the menstrual cycle. Part Three, Rituals and Recommendations, describes ways to peel away the surface layers of our conditioning and get down to innate knowledge of the power and beauty of menstruation. In Part Four, Waking up to the Power, women tell their stories of awakening to the magic and healing of menstruation. Part Five, Living Your Power, looks at how the conscious experience of menstruation intersects with the outer world, and discusses ways we can incorporate more attention to our cycles.
Period Repair Manual, Second Edition: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods (Lara Briden)
The Period Repair Manual is your guide to better periods using natural treatments such as diet, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, and bio-identical hormones. It contains advice and tips for women of every age and situation. If you have a period (or want a period), then this book is for you. Topics include: how to come off hormonal birth control, what your period should be like, what can go wrong, how to talk to your doctor, and treatment protocols for all common period problems, including PCOS and endometriosis. The second edition contains insights from dr. Jerilynn Prior, more than 300 new references and an additional chapter on (peri)menopause. Bonus: the book is written by a naturopathic doctor.
Heavy Flow: Breaking the Curse of Menstruation (Amanda Laird)
Your menstrual cycle is your fifth vital sign — a barometer of health and wellness that is as telling as your pulse or blood pressure. Yet most of us see our periods as nothing more than a source of inconvenience, shame, and stigma. The reasons for this are vast and complex and many are rooted in misogyny. The fact is, women around the world are taught the bare minimum about menstruation, and the messages they do receive are negative: that periods are painful and gross, turn us into hormonal messes, and shouldn’t be discussed. By examining the history of period shame and stigma and its effects on women’s health and wellness today, and providing a crash course in menstrual self-care, Heavy Flow aims to lift the veil on menstruation, change the narrative, and break the ‘curse’ once and for all.
Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood (Rose George)
Blood carries life, yet the sight of it makes people faint. It is a waste product and a commodity pricier than oil. It can save lives and transmit deadly infections. Each one of us has roughly nine pints of it, yet many don’t even know their own blood type. And for all its ubiquitousness, the few tablespoons of blood discharged by 800 million women are still regarded as taboo: menstruation is perhaps the single most demonized biological event. Rose George, renowned for her intrepid work on topics that are invisible but vitally important, takes you from ancient practices of bloodletting to the breakthough which promises to diagnose cancer and other diseases with a simple blood test. Also she introduces people like Arunachalam Muruganantham, known as ‘Menstrual Man’ for his work on sanitary pads for developing countries. Nine Pints reveals our life’s blood in a new light.
Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power (Alexandra Pope, Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer)
As a woman you are coded for power, and the journey to realizing the fullness and beauty of that power – your Wild Power – lies in the rhythm and change of your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is a vital and vitalizing system in the female body, yet our understanding of and respect for this process is both limited and distorted. Few women really know about the physiology of their cycle, and many don’t see it as an integral part of their health and well-being, let alone as a potential guide to emotional and spiritual empowerment. Wild Power, by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer (founders of Red School), tells a radical new story about feminine power. Written with humour, tenderness and practicality, and packed with women’s stories and quotes throughout, Wild Power will restore women to wholeness and reinstate the full majesty and grace of the Feminine.
Blood Magic: The Anthropology of Menstruation (Thomas Buckley)
Examining cultures as diverse as long-house dwellers in North Borneo, African farmers, Welsh housewives, and post-industrial American workers, this book dramatically redefines the anthropological study of menstrual customs. It challenges the widespread image of a universal menstrual taboo as well as the common assumption of universal female subordination which underlies it. Contributing important new material and perspectives to our understanding of comparative gender politics and symbolism, Blood Magic is of particular importance to those interested in anthropology, women’s studies, religion, and comparative health systems.
Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film and Television (Lauren Rosewarne)
Despite being experienced regularly by nearly all women for a good many decades of their lives, menstruation seldom gets a starring role on screen. Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film and Television turns the spotlight on period portrayals in media, examining the presence of menstruation in a broad range of contemporary pop culture. Drawing on a vast collection of menstruation scenes from film and television, this study examines representations to unearth what they reveal about society and about our culture’s continuously fraught relationship with female biology. This thorough investigation covers a range of topics including menstrual taboos, stigmas and fears, as well as the inextricable link between periods and femininity, sexuality, ageing, and identity.
Out for Blood: Essays on Menstruation and Resistance (Breanne Fahs)
Breanne Fahs is Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. In Out for Blood she transports the reader to worlds in which Komodo dragons prey on menstruating women, artists prowl the streets of Spain in blood-stained pants. Eleven essays on menstruation and resistance evoke thought-provoking tensions between silence and confrontation, shame and rebellion, and compliance and disobedience. Fusing together gender and feminist theory, critical body studies, political activism, and menstrual anarchy, Fahs illuminates the troubling omissions of menstrual coming-of-age narratives in the museum, the outdated terminology of ‘feminine hygiene’ and the moral panics about blood that erupts from in and outside of our bathrooms, classrooms, and cell phones.
The Wise Wound: menstruation and everywoman (Penelope Shuttle, Peter Redgrove)
‘The first accessible book about menstruation as a human reality . . . entirely praiseworthy.’ We quote from a review in The Sunday Times. And we totally agree: this groundbreaking study of the facts, fantasies, and taboos surrounding menstruation has helped bring about a profound shift in attitudes toward a natural phenomenon that has been reviled and denigrated over centuries. Thoroughly researched yet highly readable, combining psychology, anthropology, and poetry, Shuttle and Redgrove illustrate their theories using examples ranging from the Bible to modern-day pop horrors like vampire movies and the cult film The Exorcist. The Wise Wound is a book of many questions and some answers. What is this menstruation that half the world undergoes? Has it any use, or any purpose? Which is it, blessing or curse?
Period: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth (Kate Farell)
Periods enter the spotlight in this essay collection that raises a variety of voices on a topic long shrouded in shame and secrecy. In this collection, writers of various ages and across racial, cultural, and gender identities share stories about the period. Each of the twelve authors in Period brings an individual perspective and sensibility. They write about homeless periods, nonexistent periods, male periods, political periods, and more. Told with warmth and humour, these essays celebrate all kinds of period experiences. Periods are a fact of life. It’s time to talk about them.
Moon Time: Harness the ever-changing energy of your menstrual cycle (Lucy H. Pierce)
This fully updated second edition of this Amazon bestseller on menstruation contains 45 pages of additional material including fertility charting and creating ceremonies for menarche and menopause. Hailed as ‘life-changing’ by women around the world, Moon Time shares a fully embodied understanding of your menstrual cycle. Full of practical insight, empowering resources, creative activities and passion, this book will put you back in touch with your body’s wisdom. Whether you are coming off the pill, wanting to understand your fertility, struggling with PMS, healing from womb issues, are coming back to your cycles after childbirth or just want a deeper understanding of your body, Moon Time is for you.
Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Monthly Super Powers and Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period. (Lisa Lister)
There’s a code. A lady code. It’s ancient, it’s deeply spiritual and more than that, it’s powerful. Fiercely powerful. So powerful that it’s barely been spoken about in over 2,000 years. Your menstrual cycle. Yep, your period is way more than PMS, carb cravings and lady rage, your menstrual cycle/period/ragtime/ – insert whatever you call your ’time of the month’ here – is actually a four part lady code, that once cracked, will uncover a series of monthly superpowers that can be used to enhance your relationships with others, build a better business, have incredible sex + create a ‘bloody’ amazing life. Code Red is a call to action. A rallying cry that dares you to explore, navigate and most importantly, love your lady landscape.
Period. The End: Wit, Wisdom, and Practical Guidance for Women in Menopause – and Beyond (Linda Condrillo)
Looking for a book that blends practical information from menopausal women with expert advice from professionals? And would you like jokes with that? Enter Period. The End: Wit, Wisdom and Practical Guidance for Women in Menopause–and Beyond. The book delivers the skinny on weight gain, hot flashes, bone loss, sleep deprivation, memory loss, anxiety, lost libido, urinary incontinence, and a whole host of other annoying symptoms of menopause and offers plenty of options on how to survive and thrive during this final chapter of womanhood. It’s filled with contributions from noted authors and experts in gyneacology, sex therapy, osteoporosis, acupuncture, nutrition, aromatherapy, professional organizing, and more. Recipes, cartoons, and humorous experiences from ladies who dared to share and bare all are also dispersed throughout this lighthearted, easy-to-read book on the change of life.
Did we forgot a brilliant period book? Let us know. You can reach us via the contact form or via redactie<@>period.nl.
Period! is an independent, online magazine about all aspects of menstruation. Period! is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you’re suffering from medical complaints, always visit your doctor or GP. Editorial articles can contain affiliate links. Sponsored collaborations can be found in the category Spotlight. Do you have any questions? Check our Contact page.
LATEST UPDATE: 26-9-2022
More books on periods:
Flow Fighter, by Holly Bridges
Seeing red, by Kirsten Karchmer
Aunt Flo, by April Kurtyka
Toni the tampon, by Cass Clemmer
Leave a Reply