Judy Blume. Her books when I grew up changed who I was. Their message was about issues that all young girls think about. Issues that I experienced. For me, at the tender age of thirteen, these books helped me understand my feelings and look at the different ways to solve a problem. And yes, I learned that all from one little book. That is why I believe there are books every woman should read.
You see, books have the ability to reach people, to get inside our minds, and really make us think. They give you a perspective through the eyes of a character. [Read:5 signs that your boo is wasting your time]
Books that every woman should read
I’m not saying every book you read will change your life. I can confidently say, with every book you read, you learn more and more about yourself and the world. So, as a woman, it’s important to surround yourself with books that not only teach you things but also make you feel. Regardless of age, there are some timeless and classic books every woman should read.
I don’t want to say you have to, but, I strongly suggest you read these books!
#1 Tiny Beautiful Things. You probably know the author, Cheryl Strayed. She wrote the book Wild which became a film starring Reese Witherspoon. Prior to this film, Strayed was an anonymous advice columnist known as “Sugar.” This book is a collection of her columns where she answered questions about love, grief, and ambition. Let me tell ya, she tells it the way she sees it.
#2 Summer Sisters. Like I said before, Judy Blume’s books are ones everyone should read, especially if you’re in your teenage years. Her books are highly relateable and usually focused on the theme of friendship. Summer Sistersfollows two young girls through their adolescence into adulthood. Read it. It’s even a better read when you’re older.
#3 Pride and Prejudice. The novel is based on five sisters who live together with their parents in their family home in England. Throughout the book, the sisters are confronted with questions of marriage, death, and misjudgements. But it’s more than just that.
You see the dynamics of female relationships and the debate many women go through when looking for a partner. You should know it’s set in the 1800s, so expect some heavy old English sentences, but in a good way!
#4 The Hunger Games. Yes, I know you probably saw the movies, but have you read any of the books? If not, do give them a read. This is about a young, strong woman who fights a corrupt government and stays true to herself, while she constantly battles almost everyone around her. This story depicts the need to stand up for what you believe in, even while they try to mentally and emotionally destroy you.
#5 I Am Malala. In recent years, you may have heard about a young girl shot by the Taliban while coming home from school because she protested the rights of education for women in Pakistan. I’m getting teary-eyed while writing this. This is her story. It explores the obstacles this woman went through to fight for what she believed in. If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.
#6 The Dollmaker. Written by Harriette Arnow, The Dollmaker is about a Kentucky wife and mother who leaves her home and moves to Detroit during World War II. The book follows her journey and struggles as an artist in a time when it was considered a useless skill. If you’re an artist, you’ll relate heavily to this book. Meaning, you need to read it.
#7 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This book is about a young woman, Francie, who uses books as an escape from her rough upbringing in Brooklyn, New York. With her mother working and her father an alcoholic, the book goes through Francie’s life in ways which other books do not.
#8 Slouching Towards Bethlehem. This book contains the collection of Joan Didion’s nonfiction work which is an astounding read. Included is one of her most famous essays, “Goodbye to All That,” which is a love and breakup letter to New York. She encapsulates everything a young person feels and what you learn by walking away.
#9 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. And they’re not! This is what this book is about. Okay, not fruit, but it’s about women not living up to the expectations which society places on them. That, whatever you want to be, whatever woman you see yourself being, reject the norms, and be who you want to be.
#10 The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Junot Diaz is possibly one of my favorite authors, so I’m going to go ahead and tell you that I’m biased. But, I’m biased for a good reason. In this book, Oscar is a fat Dominican nerd and this story focuses on his family life, mixed with Dominican history. It tackles questions of love, family, and manhood.
#11 The Bad Feminist. This book of essays written by Roxane Gay is full of relatable situations which many women have and are experiencing. In your own life, you may have experienced the same things. Now you have the chance to look at it from another perspective. This is definitely a book which reshapes the way you think and view people and the world itself.
#12 Sister Outsider. Audre Lorde is another exceptional female author. Her book, Sister Outsider, is a great place to start if you haven’t read her work before. The book is comprised of fifteen speeches and essays which tackle a variety of issues we all experience such as s*xism, poverty, homophobia, and racism.
#13 The Art of Asking. As women, we want to be taken seriously and seen as strong. Thanks to society, we’re sometimes viewed as “weak creatures.” However, at the same time, it’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t actually make you look weak. In this half memoir, half manifesto book, it teaches you how to ask for help and reassures you that letting people help you doesn’t make you look less than.
#14 The Bell Jar. Now, it’s time for you to read a true classic. Sylvia Plath is a novelist who really understood the issues of womanhood. And that’s why her books are so relatable. In her book, The Bell Jar, Plath honestly discusses womanhood and mental illness through the coming-of-age story of a young girl. Plath is an astounding writer and certainly opens your mind and soul.
#15 Matilda. In my humble opinion, everyone should read all of Roald Dahl’s books. They’re all essential reads. However, a good start would be with the book Matilda. It’s about a young, lonely, yet highly intelligent, girl who holds magic inside her. This book is about looking within in your darkest moments.
Those are the essential books every woman should to grow better into womanhood. These books make you laugh, cry, panic, and open your eyes to the world of womanhood.