Thursday, October 02, 2008

Which books should all women read?

From Jezebel via Shine on Yahoo! a list of the 20 books every woman should read.
  1. The Lottery, Shirley Jackson
  2. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  3. The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
  4. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  5. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
  6. Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
  7. Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
  8. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  9. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
  10. The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
  11. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  12. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  13. Like Life, Lorrie Moore
  14. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  15. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
  16. The Delta of Venus, Anais Nin
  17. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
  18. A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Flannery O'Connor
  19. The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
  20. You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down, Alice Walker
My recommendations?

I've already raved about Wuthering Heights. Barbara Pym might be described as Jane Austen for the mid-20th century. I also recommend Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (OK, so he's a man) about duplicitous social climber Becky Sharp.

While these might not be considered as books for women, I like the Emily series (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily's Quest) from Lucy Maud Montgomery, who is best known for Anne of Green Gables. The Emily series is more mature than the Anne series and Emily was closer to Lucy Maud Montgomery's heart. There is also a touch of mysticism, in which Emily is able to see beyond the mere appearances of the world.


Center Parted said...

2 books come to mind...
A handful of dust by Evelyn Waugh and My Antonia by Willa Carther.

Both are a bit bleak but thoroughly thought provoking! :)

Julie said...

I'm very fond of Willa Cather, but books like Death Comes to the Archbishop don't deal with the female condition, as do the books identified by Jezebel.

For the uninitiated, I should point out that Evelyn Waugh was a man, despite the first name, which is more commonly given to women.

I was asked the question What Books Should All Men Read? What are your recommendations?

Center Parted said...

Oh dear, count me in as an uninitiated one then! I had always thought Waugh was a woman, writing from a man's perspective in that book!

When it comes to men writers, somehow the testosterone kicks in and I go crazy over sci-fi, fantasy and stay clear away from anything too deep or 'real' :)

- Douglas Adams
- Isaac Asimov
- Terry Brooks
- JRR Tolkien
- Frank Herbert

Julie said...