I make it my personal mission in life to get people I know to start reading. I just cannot understand when folks tell me, “I don’t really like to read.” That’s like saying you don’t like eating. Maybe you don’t like fish or carrots, but you most definitely like food. If you say you do not like reading, you just haven’t found a book you enjoy. That’s why I am always throwing books at my sisters and friends. Sometimes this works beautifully. Other times they call me on the phone screaming of boredom.
These “Book Everyone Should Read” lists are always so subjective. Five different people could write a list and you could end up with 50 different books. But since this is my blog and I’m in charge, here are the 10 books I would recommend to all my female friends. Some of them are really great literature while others are fun and silly. There is such great literature out there that I don’t think you should just limit yourself to Chick Lit. But every once in awhile it’s great to read something mindless, purely for entertainment purposes.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This is one of my all time favorite books, and definitely one which all women should read at least once in their lives. Reading it when you’re just in your 20s means that you will be able to revisit it again and again in later years. I think now, more than ever, this book is so important if you take into account some of the more atrocious comments uttered by members of the Republican Party recently.
Persuasion by Jane Austen – Wait, what? A Jane Austen novel and it’s not Pride and Prejudice! How can this be you ask? Well as I’ve already stated, I’m in charge and this is my favorite Austen novel. I did enjoy Pride and Prejudice but I am sure most people have already read it. Persuasion is definitely worth a read. If you can ignore the fact that Anne, the protagonist, is presented as elderly at seven-and-twenty, there are plenty of relatable themes. We’ve all had fears of rejection and have been guilty of allowing our friends to persuade us one way or another.
Hunger Point by Jillian Medoff – Be warned: There is a good chance you will not like the main character, Frannie Hunter. But I am sure that if someone was in my head 24/7 right after I graduated college and couldn’t even land a job interview, I would come across as extremely unlikable. Frannie is dealing with issues with food, which take a heartbreaking turn with her younger, anorexic sister, living at home with her parents at 26, her complicated relationships with boys and her best friend, and her search for the right job, while waiting tables at the local restaurant.
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb – “I can’t believe this was written by a man!” That’s the most popular response I’ve seen from people who have read this book. This book can be incredibly heartbreaking at times but it’s beautifully written.
Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin – Emily Giffin does chick lit right. Love the One You’re With is a fun, easy read but I’m sure most of us can relate to the overall theme of the story. This book is for anyone who has that one person who is never too far from their mind no matter how long it’s been since they’ve last seen each other.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin – This is one of those books that you will easily revisit again and again as it is short enough to be read in it’s entirety in a single day. First published in 1899, this novel is a great example to show women just how far we have come in the feminist movement. The protagonist Edna is a tragically depressed woman dealing with an unfulfilling life and marriage.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – I loved this book and really enjoyed what Anita Diamant did. Female characters in the bible are never fleshed out or truly defined. They are normally included to just add to the plot line of a story. She takes Dinah, who is mentioned briefly in the Book of Genesis, and gives her a rich and inspiring story.
The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld – From what I’ve seen, Curtis Sittenfeld seems to be a pretty polarizing author. Readers tend to either love her work or hate her work; not much of an in between. I happen to be in the group that loves her work. Her characters are genuine and relatable, especially in The Man of My Dreams. Hannah Gavener has the image of how her life and relationships should go but that image always collides with real life.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – It’s Sylvia Plath. Even if you aren’t completely impressed with the story, the writing should be enough to keep you enthralled. This is one of those books that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – I’ll admit to not liking this book when I first read it. There’s something about being forced to read a book that makes you dislike it, no matter how good it actually is. But after revisiting it a few years later, I was able to truly appreciate it. The story depicts young society men and women in 1870s New York but the themes and stories ring true today.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max – You do not have to read the entire book. After the first two or three stories, it all becomes extremely repetitive. Simply skim through this book and use it as a guideline; If you come across a man who reminds you of the author in any way, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
So what do you think? How many of these books have you read? And because I’m always looking for new books to add to my to-read list, which books do you think should be included in this list?