Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Damn Good Novels For Women

I finished Gone With the Wind on Sunday morning, and it is now one of my favorite books.  I was not emotionally prepared to start reading another novel, so instead, I started listing all my favorite books.  Men might enjoy a lot of the novels on this list, but I created this list with the female reader in mind.  (The world would probably be a better place if all men loved Austen as much as I do).

I have read all of the books on this list (and I've read some of them already four or five times).  These are books that I could not put down.  And, once I finished the last page, I kept thinking about them.  I'll keep updating this list as I read new books or remember books that should be here.  

In no particular order:
  1. Pride & Prejudice, and anything else written by Jane Austen (including her grocery lists, if you can get your hands on them).
  2. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! Seth Grahame-Smith (If you've read the original, this is hilarious).
  3. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough (I read this on my honeymoon, which in retrospect, was a weird choice but it was great to read by the pool).
  5. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  6. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
  7. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  8. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith (I've been reading this at least every five years since I was ten).
  9. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
  10. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zola Neale Hurston
  11. Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
  12. Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
  13. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  14. The Midwife's Tale, Gretchen Moran Laskas
  15. Midwives, Chris Bohjalian (apparently I like books about midwives)
  16. The Blood of Flowers, Anita Amirrezvani
  17. The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery (This might be heresy, but I like this book even better than Anne of Green Gables).
  18. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann (Warning: this book will make you feel stupid, but it's entertaining as hell).
  19. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  20. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (I refuse to watch the movie because the book is perfect and I don't want it ruined).
  21. Dogs of Babel, Carolyn Parkhurst (have a box of Kleenex handy).
  22. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (the King Arthur tale, for women).
  23. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  24. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  25. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  26. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
  27. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns
  28. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl (Full disclosure: some of the members of my book club hated this book and thought it was overly contrived/pretentious.  But I loved it).
  29. Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld
  30. Frangipani, Clestine Vaite
  31. American Dervish, Ayad Akhtar
  32. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (The movie was great, but the book was even better).
  33. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  34. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
  35. The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber (The adventures of a prostitute named Sugar in 1870s London - sooooooooo gooooooooooood.  It only gets a 3 star rating on Amazon, which is just stupid).
  36. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
  37. The Princess Bride, William Goldman (While I was reading this book, my cousin Julie was standing ten feet away and dancing like a chicken.  The book was so engaging, I didn't notice).
  38. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  39. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  40. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
  41. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
  42. The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean Auel (This was actually assigned reading for my ninth grade history class.  As a fifteen year old, I loved it.  But I haven't reread it as an adult).
  43. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  44. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
  45. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  46. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
  47. Wifey, Judy Blume (Judy Blume has been my guilty pleasure since I first read Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret in the second grade).
  48. The Eight, Katherine Neville
  49. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
  50. Twilight Saga, Stephenia Meyer (Shameful, but entertaining, so shut up).
  51. Sookie Stackhouse Series, Charlaine Harris (The HBO True Blood series is based on these books, but the books are less gritty and more about clothes and romance).
  52. The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
  53. The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz (Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize and rightfully so).
  54. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (A book about teenagers with cancer that will make you cry, laugh and remember how precious life is.  I cannot say enough good things about it).
  55. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  56. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (I like reading Hornby's novels because I feel like it gives me a glimpse of the male brain). 
  57. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (The journal of a 17 year old woman living in the English countryside during the 1930s.  If you like Austen and L.M. Montgomery, you'll love this).