For this Feminist Friday, we decided to each compile a top ten list of books written by fabulous females. Read on to see which books earned our recommendations.
To be honest, this was one of the hardest book lists I’ve had to make to date! There are so many fierce females writing books these days, and I have read so many awesome books by women in the last several years. I repeatedly changed my criteria for what made a book “top” of the pile. Most engaging? Best page turner? Most empowering? Best of all time? Ultimately, I chose to list books that spoke to me or changed me in some way in the last couple of years. In other words, these books–some Young Adult, some Adult–had me shook.
Ya’ll. This book. It gave me the most beautiful insight into the Black Lives Matter Movement, told through the eyes of a teenage girl who lost her friend in the most tragic of ways. Follow her path of confusion and growth as she tries to navigate two parts of herself.
I can sum up this book in two words: GIRL POWER! The Spice Girls would definitely approve this book. Join Vivian as she starts a feminist revolution in her small-town, football-loving Texas high school. Girls don’t get mad; they get even!
What if Dexter was a teenage girl? Enough said.
In this YA book, you’ll follow the life of a teenage girl who loses her sister but finds herself amidst growing up in a Mexican-American home. So much of this book reminds me of the hilarious and endearing antics of Jane the Virgin.
This was another life-changer for me. This YA book follows a refugee family escaping war-torn Syria. It sheds so much light on the horrific refugee experience, and it opened my eyes in so many ways. It reveals the heartbreaking consequences of war and the destruction it leaves behind.
If you haven’t ever read anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, you must. NOW! Americanah is a novel that paints a beautiful story of love and home. Tracing the love story of two Nigerian teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze, Adichie shows that home is truly where the heart is.
Delia Owens delivers an astonishing and heart-wrenching debut novel. Haunting and beautiful, the lyrical prose drove me to journal quote after quote. I found myself marinating on the language, letting the descriptions of the southern marshlands and the pain of isolation wash over me. Owens, in aching detail, reveals the beauty of nature and people, while also examining the ugliness of both.
This was a book I picked up and put back down over and over. I knew I had to be ready to read it. I am glad for that because this book deserved all my time and attention. In this beautiful memoir, we experience Westover’s path to knowledge. Born to doomsdayers who shun governmental institutions, Westover walks into a classroom for the very first time at 17 years old. She seeks to answer this question: what does it mean to be educated?
This book was the first memoir I truly fell in love with. Jeannette Walls tells the story of her experience growing up in a uniquely beautiful but dysfunctional household. Often left to care for themselves, Walls and her siblings were forced to grow up far earlier than children should. Walls weaves a story of what it means to be a family, showing how one can love each other through anger and pain.
This book. Oh this book. It caused one of the worst book hangovers I’ve ever had. Leni’s journey is a difficult one, but beautiful, nonetheless. Her father comes back from Vietnam a changed man. His eruptive nature mirrors the Alaskan wilderness he moves his family to. This story follows a child and her mother as they try to manage the tumultuous Ernie and their volatile Alaska.
So maybe I cheated a bit and added a bonus book. Don’t tell Cheylyn. 😉
For the first time since I became a mother, I found someone who knew exactly what I was going through. Rachel Hollis made my heart soar in Girl, Wash Your Face. In her honest portrayal of what it means to be a wife and a mother and a woman, readers realize they aren’t alone, and they are inspired to move past the myths and into their own truths!
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green
So you see, I have this problem. Anytime someone asks me for my favorite anything, I come up blank. Which made coming up with a list of my favorite books by female authors incredibly difficult.
After much soul searching, ruminating, staring forlornly at a blank page, etc. I finally came up with ten books I feel rather good about recommending. Instead of making this an absolute favorites list, I ended up creating a ‘something for everyone’ kind of compilation. I hope one of these titles finds its way into your heart and onto your bookshelves.
Without further ado, here are my ten recommendations for books written by rockstar female authors, in no particular order.
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (literary fiction)– I was assigned this book in college, and to be honest, I don’t think I actually made it through the text at the time it was assigned. I returned to it years later, and I loved it. Reading novels like this taught me that I love reading about the human condition, especially from a feminine perspective.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison (African American lit)–Powerful, raw, uncensored. This novel ran me through so many emotions. A story of the trials former slaves had to go through as they adjusted to freedom, this was a book that truly stuck with me. But be prepared; this one is a hard hitter and wrings you dry emotionally.
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (science fiction)–This is the first book in a series (and the only one I’ve read so far, though I’m dying to get my hands on the rest of the installment). I have talked about this book so many times, not only because it is well-written, but because it is science fiction written by an African American female. Which pretty much makes this series a unicorn in the world of sci-fi.
- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (fiction)– I adored this book. It is tender, quirky, and leaves you emotionally invested. All I can say is, “Yes. Read this book.” So good.
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin (literary fiction)–my American Lit students just read “The Story of an Hour” so Chopin was on my mind. She has influenced some of my own writing, so I would be remiss if I didn’t include her. The story of one woman’s awakening, literally, it deserves to be on a list for feminist lit for so many reasons.
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (fiction)–Being human is messy. Being a mother is hard. Being a woman comes with a whole slew of emotional challenges. This book touches on all of this.
- The entire Harry Potter installment by J.K. Rowling (fantasy)–These books will always have a special place in my heart. I read the first book at the age of 11, grew up with the characters, found a kindred spirit in Hermione Granger, and felt the magic running in my veins. It would be a huge understatement to say these books had an impact on my life. They fed my desire to be a writer, they provided me with a successful female role model (Rowling and Granger), and they gave me friends at a time in my life where I began realizing I was different from everyone around me (and therefore had difficulty making friends). I adore these books.
- Mom and Me and Mom by Maya Angelou (memoir)–Maya Angelou is fierce. Enough said.
- Get in Trouble by Kelly Link (fantasy)–A collection of short stories, each with a fantastical element. These stories are so unique and so interesting.
- The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (YA lit)–I will be posting a book review for this next week. All you need to know right now is that this is an absolute must read.
I hope you enjoy. As always, comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome! Until next time 🙂