9 Books Every Woman Should Read NOW, From The Last 5 Years
There is nothing I love more, and nothing I find more relaxing, than curling up with a good book. Lying outside in the sunshine, lost in another world of words? That’s heaven. If you’re the same way, then you also know the struggle of constantly trying to find the next great book to read. Sometimes it seems like all of the “best of” lists are full of the same, hundred-year-old classics we’ve all been reading since high school. Isn’t it time to rethink what we think “best” means? The Huffington Post seems to think so, and they’ve put together a list of books that have all come out in the last five years. Bonus— they’re all by women! Whether you’re looking to laugh, cry, think, or some combination of all three, there are nine books here you absolutely need to read next. Check out:
Room by Emma Donoghue
Convincingly told from the point-of-view of five-year-old Jack, Room explores the plight of a young woman abducted at the age of 19 and forced to live in a 12-food-square room for over seven years. Now that Jack is growing bigger, she has to make some unthinkable choices. One of my personal favorites, this novel will break your heart, make you think and astound you with an unpredictable plot that zooms forward with discomforting clarity, piercing honesty and, ultimately, hope.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Looking for something a little lighter? Then turn to this memoir by funny lady Tina Fey! Full of stories from her days in Second City, on Saturday Night Light, running 30 Rock and growing up in Pennsylvania, she never loses her sense of perspective or her smart wit. Much like the woman herself, this book is the one that cleared the way for memoirs by other comedians like Mindy Kaling, Rachel Dratch, Megan Amram and . . .
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Tina Fey’s BFF and frequent collaborator has a memoir that’s just as funny but totally her own. Yes Please is not just a title but an enthusiastic (and polite!) life philosophy, one Poehler explores with stories that are amusing, moving, smart, and even inspirational. This is a generous, thoughtful book that will make you happier far beyond the last laugh it gives you.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
In 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins took some of the late, 31-year-old Henrietta Lacks’ cervical cells without asking— and the cells kept on living. Now known as “HeLa” cells, they went on to become a vital part of the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and other scientific breakthroughs. Lacks’ family never knew, until now. The only thing that makes this story more interesting, complex and thought-provoking is that it’s absolutely true.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Prefer to have the tough questions come to you in fiction? Then check out Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird which takes on one of the oldest, most familiar fairy tales we have – “Snow White” – and turns it into a thoroughly modern story. Bringing the folk tale out of fairy-land and into a 1950’s Massachusetts town, the story is told from the point-of-view of the “wicked” stepmother, raising important questions about class, race, beauty and family. There are no easy answers, but the journey lies in the importance of asking.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This one is a little thick, but with everything that happens in it – explosions! gangsters! black-market art! Vegas! – Tartt truly needs every page to bring to life the coming-of-age tale of Theo Decker. I’ve had The Goldfinch at the top of my “To Read” list for a while, and I think these remaining weeks of summer are the perfect time to tackle a book that’s been called “mesmerizing,” “extraordinary,” and “stay-up-all-night-worthy.” Oh, and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. No big deal.
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Want a book that’s moving, imaginative, rich, and also just, well, exciting? Then you’ll definitely want to read Swaplandia! next. It has rival theme parks, alligator-wrestling, ghosts, and magical swamps— and that’s just where it all starts.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Moving on to another rich and often-unfamiliar landscape – the settlements near the Mumbai airport in India – and back into the realm of nonfiction, this National-Book-Award-winner introduces us to families and individuals from across India’s class spectrum. These inspiring tales give us a window on tragedies and twists shocking enough for any work of fiction, but are also full of humor and humanity. Boo shows us that everybody deserves our empathy, but never our pity.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Let’s end on some inspiration, shall we? You’ve probably heard of the movie adaptation of this memoir, starring Reese Witherspoon, but we all know the movie’s never as good as the book! This tale of Strayed’s journey to hike the Pacific Coast Trail – over a thousand miles from the Mojave Desert through California to Washington – by herself will leave you in suspense, shock, and, ultimately, cheering, as she recovers from her divorce and her mother’s death. Maybe you’ll be inspired to do a little exploring of your own!
Let’s curl up on a deck chair and get reading! Already finished all of these books? Then be sure to check out The Huffington Post’s original list for even more suggestions. If you’ve read any or all of these, tell us what you think! Which one was your favorite? Do you have any recommendations for your fellow readers?