With the end of Women’s History Month near I wanted to compile a list to recognize the great contributions women have made to literature. Some of the authors mentioned below have won awards for their novels, most have been on the New York Times Bestseller List and others are forgotten gems.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
When I was in high school our required reading included books that everyone else was reading, which seriously annoyed my English teacher. There’s only so many times you can teach The Catcher in the Rye before you start detesting Holden Caulfield. My teacher was bored. Her students were bored.
So she switched up the material.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of those books I judged before I even opened it. The word ‘God’ in the title made me iffy even though I was Catholic. I went to public school. If you were openly religious you weren’t exactly considered cool.
After the first chapter I found myself reading ahead like I always did. I couldn’t put the book down. As I reached the end I started to cry. This book taught that me just how cruel love and sad love can really be.
Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
You know a book is good when it’s 2 AM and you’re supposed to be at work in a few hours but you need to know what happens next. From the author who brought us The Girl On the Train (if you haven’t read it please do! Just don’t read it on the train like I did). She caught my attention with her newest book Into The Water. This book is chilling. It has so many twists and turns I felt like I was getting slapped in the face every other chapter.
I will say because I read her other book I was trying to pay attention and read between the lines since the very beginning. I love books because they make your imagination run wild and when you’re reading them you might be too invested in the story because you’re creating an image in your head so sometimes you miss the breadcrumb.
I figured out who the killer was thanks to one sentence. All it took was one very insignificant line if I hadn’t been paying attention I never would have never saw it coming but I did. That didn’t spoil the book for me; it made it better.
I don’t know what twisted thoughts go through Hawkins mind on a day-to-day basis and I really don’t want to find out. I will say this book isn’t for the faint of heart. I think it could possibly be triggering with the talk of depression and detailed deaths and attempted suicides.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Love, Simon is the movie that is sweeping the nation. I’ve heard a lot of people describe this book as a ‘coming out’ novel. But I feel like it’s more than that. It’s a refreshingly bright love story.
I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to come out or being forced too, which is an entirely different thing all together.
Even though I’ve been out of high school for nearly ten years now I found Simon to be a relatable character. He’s funny, he’s awkward and just very normal in the sense that he’s just another teenager. I found myself rooting for him and his secret crush, Blue. I became really invested in Simon and his struggle to come out.
I think this book is extremely popular because it gives kids a sense of hope. I’ve read and heard horrible stories of teenagers (and adults) coming out and not being accepted. While Simon does face some struggles and backlash coming out, he is mainly accepted and loved.
This book is about first love, first experiences and hope.
The Sweet Life by Dulce Candy Ruiz
I didn’t start wearing make-up until I turned twenty-one. My mom and my sister never wore any so I didn’t know the difference between foundation, concealer or what the hell color corrector really was. So I turned to the internet to learn how to apply eyeliner and how to blend eyeshadow. It was like learning a new language. I felt lost at sea watching these different YouTubers because there weren’t too many who looked like me.
One day I stumbled upon Dulce Candy. We had a similar skin tone and back then we both could afford the same kind of make-up: anything from the drugstore. I wore pink and purple eyeshadows because of her and bold red lipstick that I applied sloppily like The Joker.
Dulce became a sort of inspiration for me beauty-wise but I started to slowly stop watching her videos as the online beauty community grew. Today there are a number of people that have the same skin color as me. There are a number of women (and some men) who teach me how to highlight and bake but still, I have a soft spot for Dulce.
When I found out she had a book I was intrigued. The young woman I used to watch apply her make-up on a fuzzy camera had slowly turned herself into this bad ass business woman with a huge empire. I’ve seen her in commercials, on TV shows and smiling in large advertisements in stores. I thought she was so lucky. It wasn’t until I read her book I realized it wasn’t luck but pure determination.
Her book reveals the path that led her to YouTube stardom. How she crossed the border with her family to get to the United States as a young girl. It talks about her struggle in school and growing up poor. The fact that she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life and never had a plan to begin with. The moment she first turned on her camera and the way it just felt right but also completely nerve-wracking.
A lot of people knock her down because of the wealth she has today and the make-up collection she has amassed. Now that she’s wealthy they argue she’s no longer relatable but I think if you read this book you’ll realize you shouldn’t count her out just yet.
The Boy Series by Meg Cabot
From the author who brought us The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot was a staple in my bookcase growing up. I remember reading her books and blushing ever so slightly because of the romance she wrote about–sometimes it was scandalous and sometimes it was innocent–either way her books made my heart swell.
If you are having a bad day and feeling absolutely down you need to pick up one of her books from the boy series. I still can’t decide which book is better: Boy Meets Girl, The Boy Next Door, The Boy is Back, and finally Every Boy’s Got One.
These aren’t life changing books but they are an easy read that will make you laugh, smile and leave you with a sense of warmth inside of your heart. All of the characters are likable even if they’re not meant to be.
I like that some of the books are written as e-mails or text messages because I send probably two hundred a day on average and I bet you do too. So it feels almost as if you’re reading someone’s private messages and thoughts. I’m totally for invading someone else’s privacy as long as no one is invading mine.
If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, a beach read, or sad about being single (read: like me!) I’d highly suggest you choose one of these books to perk up your mood.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This book hit me like a ton of bricks.
I found myself crying towards the end.
In the beginning when I read the excerpt on Amazon I didn’t think this would be the book for me. I didn’t love how it was written. The first few pages didn’t captivate me and I was slightly confused given the way the dialogue was written. I kept choosing a different book to read instead of this one but I kept coming back to it each time, a little hopeful that maybe this would be the book for me.
I finally took the plunge and purchased the book and all I can say is my heart.
Pudgy Eleanor with her wild red hair and Park. This book made me feel like jelly and it reminded me what it was like to be young again. I know I’m only twenty-five but time moves so quickly. It feels like it has been decades since I experienced my first love and everything that happened from then until now is a big blur.
This book is poetic, tragic and pulls at your heart strings. It’s a complicated love story written during the time of a young girls life when love should be easy.
I guess it doesn’t always work that way, does it?
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Take out your tissues for this book. I’m serious. As I reached the middle I had to hide the book in the glove compartment in my car because I couldn’t stop crying. At one point I had to force myself to finish the book because I was certain I wouldn’t be able to handle the ending.
If you’re married, in a relationship or have loved someone with ever fiber of your being this book is going to hit you–hard. If you’re pregnant please put the book down and pick up something happier. Maybe something with puppies on the cover.
Matt Beaulieu and Elle McClure are happily married and expecting their first child. Elle is in a fatal accident and Matt decides, against his wife’s wishes, to keep the baby alive. The only way to do that is by keeping Elle on life support. He soon finds himself in a battle against those closest to him as he fights to save his child.
I found myself questioning my beliefs and seriously thinking over what I wanted when I die. We’re all so focused on our life now many of us don’t make plans for the future. What are your plans for when you’re gone? Who is in charge and will they honor your wishes? Are you making the right choices?
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
At eight years old when I first opened this book I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Esperanza Rising sounded like another hopeful story to add to my collection and not something that would bring me to tears.
There’s an obvious theme here with all of these recommendations, isn’t there?
I know most of the people that are reading this list are like, “Come on! This book is for children.”
Yeah, it is, but I would recommend adults to read it. Specifically Gina Rodriguez, who should acknowledge my tweets and turn this into a movie. Also, can I be an extra on Jane? Thanks!
The story begins with Esperanza, a rich girl from Mexico whose entire world is turned upside down when her father is killed. Soon after the family ranch is burned to the ground and with no money she is forced to flee from Mexico to America and begin working as a peasant.
Set during the Great Depression, the book follows young Esperanza as she struggles to adjust to her new life with many unfortunate ups and downs.
The book is about acceptance, change and is at times written in a fairy-tale like fashion. At its core this book is about perseverance, love and family. Who doesn’t love a good book about family?
Who is your favorite female author?
Comment below and let me know if you decide to read any of these books.