Every year I attempt the Fifty Book Challenge–which you complete by reading fifty books in a year, cleverly named it is not–and in past years I tried to read all or mostly books by women. Then I went on a classics kick and kind of forgot how much I care about reading and promoting female authors. But I came to my senses again, don’t worry, and I’m happy to present, in honor of my renewed commitment, a few of my favorite books by female authors that I’ve read in the past few years:
1. The Alchemy of Stone– This is a sci-fi/fantasy thriller about a mechanical woman in a politically unstable alternate universe and features gargoyles, an enmity between alchemists and mechanics, and political intrigue. Mattie, the main character, is smart, compassionate, and heart-breakingly philosophical about her place in society. I liked Mattie better than I’ve liked many human main characters.
2. China Mountain Zhang– This book has a happy ending! I won’t spoil anything, but I LOVED the ending. It’s an intelligent and creative dystopian novel about a future in which China dominates the earth and we’ve colonized Mars, but there’s levity and gorgeous language and you will love the people and then in the end there is space for hope.
3. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail– I had extremely mixed feelings about this book, but I recommend it because it was one of those books that kept me yammering theories and epiphanies at my girlfriend as she tried to fall asleep every night the whole week after I finished it. The language is often beautiful, and the main character is certainly compelling. And in the end it gave my brain something to chew on.
4. Drift– I read this book because I felt like I had to, but in the end it was a pretty easy read. Rachel Maddow’s style is conversational, and she packs a lot of history in before you realize what’s happening. Don’t read this if you’re looking to be relaxed…the idiotic choices of members of our government gave me repeated aneurysms. DO read it if you want to be entertained while learning about the gross (in both senses of the word) wastefulness and incompetancy of the US Military.
5. As Always, Julia– This book is for JULIA CHILD NERDS ONLY. J/k it’s for everyone but seriously if you love Julia Child, this will be a wonderful experience for you. The letters are funny and bitchy and interesting and heartbreaking. I really, really enjoyed the peek into Julia and Avis’s parallel lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic.
Ok I shared, your turn. What are your favorite books by female authors? I’m especially interested in hearing about recently written books–I’m always on the lookout for new/up and coming authors I should check out!