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22 must-read books written by women

As recommended by women

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How women are seen and portrayed are largely shaped by how men view them. The only way to see and understand women past stereotypes and traditional roles is by exposing ourselves to their perspective. Ask anyone — men and women alike — what their favorite books are, and most of them would be surprised to find that their list is mostly authored by one gender.

Whether you’re practicing social distancing or celebrating Women’s History Month, there’s no better time to expand your reading list to include more books written by women authors. Here’s a list of 22 must-read books as recommended by women, including myself:

1. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

“Reading this will make women (and men) feel both hopeful and helpless at times. If you need convincing why feminism is still necessary in this day and age, look no further.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“This coming of age book will make readers reflect how women’s self-identity is influenced and shaped by society, and more importantly, what it truly means to be a woman.” – Suzie

Get it on Kindle

3. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

“In a world where you feel like you don’t quite fit in, this Japanese novel provides the reassurance that it’s okay to be different and to carve a path of your own that’s not bound by others’ expectations.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

4. Circe by Madeline Miller

“Yes, Circe, as in the daughter of Helios. The story is about making a place for yourself in a world that doesn’t understand you. A bold and feminist take on Greek mythology.” – Ali

Get it on Kindle

5. Becoming by Michelle Obama

“This book is a testament that hardwork, determination, and drive never go out of style. Michelle Obama’s journey from the Southside of Chicago to the White House serves as an inspiration for readers to daringly dream and courageously break the status quo.” – Suzie

Get it on Kindle

6. Dear Girls by Ali Wong

“Dear Girls is a series of candid, hilarious letters from Ali Wong to her two daughters about topics from working women to Asian culture to love. I pulled an all-nighter in a hotel room reading this entire book and cackling to myself.” – Bonnie

Get it on Kindle

7. What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet

“It took me months to get through this book because of the sheer amount of information and research Iris Bohnet presented. It’s a great resource for anyone who’s in a position to help rid of gender bias in organizations and communities.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

8. Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman

“Reading Kalman’s writing is like reading my own scattered thoughts. It’s a picture book of paintings with seemingly random existential questions.” – Chay

Get it on paperback

9. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

“This is a strikingly quirky collection of comics that dabbles into silly, borderline psychopathic, memories and tendencies Allie Brosh embodies. This book is relatable, hilarious, and shamelessly Allie Brosh that you have to read it.” – Leez

Get it on Kindle

10. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

“Insightful, articulate, and at times, funny — Jia Tolentino’s first book is as brilliant as everyone says it is. Pure Heroines, Always Be Optimizing, We Come from Old Virginia, and The Story of a Generation in Seven Scams are my favorite essays from the collection.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

11. Normal People by Sally Rooney

“It’s a simple story of right person, wrong timing. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful.” – Mik

Get it on Kindle

12. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

“If you want to remind yourself what young love’s like, this is a good choice.” – Leslie

Get it on Kindle

13. Severance by Ling Ma

“It’s about the life and routine of a millennial in New York, until it isn’t. It goes from her musings about growing up with Chinese immigrants as parents, to her office job, to all of a sudden surviving a pandemic outbreak that wiped most of the population. It’s a work of fiction that feels eerily similar to current events.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

14. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“I cannot stress this enough. It’s one of those few books where I vividly remember how I felt when I finished it. You’ll know that feeling when you read it.” – Marian

Get it on Kindle

15. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

“A friend recommended Tiny Beautiful Things at a time when I felt alone and badly needed to be surrounded by friends. It’s a comforting voice of reason and source of nuggets of wisdom about adulthood that would otherwise take you years and lots of tears to learn on your own.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

16. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“The stunningly slow yet haunting slippery slope into a mental illness is portrayed in this novel through its protagonist. There is so much said in this book that isn’t explicitly said. It mirrors the author’s insufferable demons which makes this novel a fundamental read.” – Leez

Get it on Kindle

17. The Door by Magda Szabó

“This is a story about two very different, complicated Hungarian women. It will leave you not knowing how to identify how you feel, and wanting to read it again as soon as you finish it.” – Chay

Get it on Kindle

18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

“Rosamund Pike’s Oscar-nominated portrayal of a cool girl should tap one’s curiosity into reading this book! The storytelling is suspenseful that you will have a difficult time putting it down.” – Suzie

Get it on Kindle

19. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“This is a coming-of-age slash murder mystery, written by an author who happens to be a zoologist too. I’m about 1/4 of the way through it so I’ve yet to see how the author will weave these two narratives together but the book is nothing quite like anything I’ve read before.” – Marian

Get it on Kindle

20. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire Series) by Naomi Novik

“The napoleonic era fought with dragons! Reading sci-fi fantasy broadens even the most practical of minds, and this strong story by an amazing female writer is a must.” – Geneva

Get it on Kindle

21. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

“This novel is a heart-wrenching science fiction that references the Gospel of Matthew 10:29–31, which relates that not even a sparrow falls to the earth without God’s knowledge thereof. Although it has religious undertones that deep-dives into human suffering, it stays unbelievably profound in describing love, friendship, and grief.” – Leez

Get it on Kindle

Reviews

Google Pixel 4a Unboxing & Review: Unbelievably Good?

A direct contender of the iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord

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Google’s ‘a'(ffordable) line-up may be long overdue because of the pandemic — but after several months of waiting, we finally have one on our hands.

Cheaper than last year’s US$ 399 Pixel 3a, the US$ 349 Pixel 4a might just be the most affordable flagship killer contender you can get over the 2020 iPhone SE and the OnePlus Nord.

But can the mid-tier specifications and less-fancy phone features justify its affordable price tag? Head over to our in-depth Pixel 4a review here.

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

August 2020 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order

Redmi 9 (PhP 6,990 / US$ 141)

Quality build with baseline specs that can handle, well, the basics. This is what the Redmi line has been offering and that remains true with the Redmi 9. You’ll have to be bit creative with some of the apps you install (always go for the Lite versions), but the pre-installed Google apps run smoothly and should be more than enough to power you through.

Hands-On: Redmi 9

Redmi Note 9 (US$ 200)

This is a routine appearance for the Redmi Note line. Xiaomi continues to lord over the budget segment by offering fairly capable smartphones at such an affordable price.

Review: Redmi Note 9

Realme 6i (US$ 196)

Realme finally releases a budget phone with a USB-C port! That aside, everything here is standard Realme — which is great. Its cameras leave much to be desired but what this is a budget phone after all. It does pretty well everywhere else — can game, handle your usual daily things, and has an impressive battery life.

READ: Realme6i 

OPPO A5s (US$ 117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Samsung Galaxy A20 (US$ 190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20

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Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

August 2020 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 200 to US$ 400.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

realme 6 Pro (PhP 16,990/ US$ 339)

This is the only smartphone in this segment that offers a 90Hz screen refresh rate. It’s one thing if that’s the only thing it’s good at, but the realme 6 Pro has a 64MP quad-camera setup, a really clean UI, and Snapdragon 720G along with 30W VOOC charging. We’re convinced this is the best Android phone in this segment.

Review: realme 6 Pro

realme 6 (PhP 13,990/ US$ 280)

It’s pretty much everything its “pro” sibling is except it’s instead powered by a Helio G90T processor made for gaming. the RAM and storage combo is no slouch too (8GB/128GB) and yes, it also has a 90Hz screen refresh rate. Solid. Value.

Review. realme 6

iPhone SE (US$ 399)

One of the world’s fastest processors, a fantastic camera, at a midranger’s price. If we told you, we’re talking about an iPhone you probably wouldn’t believe us but here we are. The iPhone SE’s design is dated, but everything about its performance is near-flagship or flagship 2020 levels.

REVIEW: iPhone SE

Huawei Nova 7 SE (PhP 19,990/ US$ 399)

Barely making the price point, Huawei phones are facing a unique problem with the lack of Google Mobile Services. That said, Huawei Mobile Services is making a headway. But the reason the phone lands on this list is because of its 5G capabilities. This is one of the most affordable phones to support 5G and that has to count for something.

Hands-On: Huawei Nova 7 SE

Samsung Galaxy A51 (US$ 320)

Samsung’s on a roll with their Galaxy A-series. The Galaxy A51 builds on everything that was already great with the Galaxy A50 and A50s and just makes it even better. Much like everything on the Galaxy lineup this year, the Galaxy A51 sports a look that as of posting is still undeniably Samsung.

Pixel 3a (US$399)

The Pixel 3a barely makes this price range by being just a hair under $400. The camera alone easily makes this crème de la crème of this bunch. Add to that the vanilla Android experience and of course being in the priority list of Android updates, this is the Pixel to get for Android purists.

HANDS-ON: Pixel 3a

POCO X2 (INR 19,99/ US$ 279)

The future of Pocophone was up in the air for a while, but all of that was finally put to rest when the brand finally released the POCO X2. This isn’t exactly the successor to the POCO F1. In fact, this is just a rebranded Redmi K30 Pro. But it’s still a step in the right direction for a brand that quickly captured everyone’s attention only to go completely silent for over a year.

REVIEW: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy M31 (INR 15,99/US$ 224)

This battery-powerhouse of a smartphone has never quite made it to more markets, but it has gotten a significant amount of attention thanks to its 6,000mAh battery. Something this long-lasting appears to still be one of the priorities of smartphone buyers.

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