Essential 10 - Great books by women

There are so many great books written by incredible women. This is a list of some of our favorites - beautiful books that we read over and over again for comfort, pleasure, strength, and inspiration. Obviously this list is by no means definitive. If we left one of your most dog-eared favs off the list - please comment and let us and the OB readers know what we're missing.

1. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende ($10) - This is a story of love, family, revolution, and redemption that only Allende could write.

2. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood ($10) - Romance, intrigue, secrets, and a bonus sci-fi novel embedded into the narrative only scrape the surface of what you'll get when you read this book.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ($8) - Elizabeth Bennett don't take no mess. Originally titled "First Impressions" Austen's classic can teach us all a lesson about the danger of judging books by their covers.

4. The Awakening by Kate Chopin ($10) - What do you do when you find yourself living in a life you no longer want? Edna Pontellier fights this painful and personal battle in Chopin's beautifully written novella.

5. The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat ($10) - The voice of Danticat's protagonist Amabella Désir is at once stark and poetic. The story takes place in 1937, during the time of the Haitian genocide in the Dominican Republic. Désir has much to say about the human capacity for unfathomable cruelty and unswerving devotion.

6. Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta ($9) - Adah leaves Nigeria for Great Britain hoping to find not just a better life, but a wonderful one. What she gets instead is a husband who doesn't want her and a society that doesn't see her. But Adah is a strong woman and an intelligent woman. This is her story.

7. Obasan by Joy Kogawa ($8) - Naomi was a little girl when the Canadian government starting "relocating" Japanese-Canadian families during World War II. It is a past she spends her life trying to forget. Obasan is a book of remembering.

8. Beloved by Toni Morrison ($16) - If you don't cry when you read this you're most likely a cyborg. There are many reasons why Morrison is lauded as a master of her craft; this book is only one of them.

9. Bone by Fae Mae Ng ($8) - This book is about three first generation Chinese-American sisters. It's written chronologically backwards - you know what happens in the end right from the beginning and you find out why as you read on.

10. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ($10) - Woolf weaves the richness and history of a woman's life into the action of a single day.

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Posted on 12.28.09 at 12:00 PM

Don't forget Jane Eyre! That and The Awakening are my favorites.


Posted on 12.28.09 at 12:06 PM

Oh! Also anything by Willa Cather, and A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark.


Posted on 12.28.09 at 12:50 PM

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a fictional story of Dinah (daughter of Jacob) in the Bible. I wasn't very interested originally fearing something like the 'Left Behind' series. But reading this book made me feel, for the first time ever, a connection to that time period. The sense of womanhood between the wives of Jacob and Dinah is beautiful. Two thumbs up!


Posted on 12.28.09 at 1:38 PM

For me, it has to be Little Women or anything by L.M. Montgomery!


Posted on 12.28.09 at 3:48 PM

I love "Clan of the Cave Bear" and all its sequels by Jean Auel. Ayla is a great female protagonist!


Posted on 01.01.10 at 11:54 PM

Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston is one of the best books I've ever read.

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