There are many books that raise awareness and inspire action and initiate change. There are female authors who broke conventional rules and created revolutionary books. Here we have listed down 10 books that every woman should read at least once.

Books That Every Woman Should Read At Least Once
Books That Every Woman Should Read At Least Once

Little Women by Louise May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is the most popular and admired book ever. The book follows March sisters from their childhood to their young adulthood. They are strong-willed Jo, frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic but spoiled Amy. They are united in their loyalty and love for each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.  Little Women is about family love, sibling rivalries, search for your own identity, love and relationships, poverty, wealth, priorities in life, death and most importantly, it is about female independence. When the novel was written, a young woman could not compete with her male companions. This novel broke that stereotype. Louisa May Alcott based Little Women on her own early life. This book is one of those books that every woman should read at least once.

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mocking Bird is an unforgettable masterpiece by Harper Lee that won her Pulitzer Prize in 1961. The novel is set during the Great Depression and is told through the eyes of a young girl called Scout. The book portrays the irrational nature of racism in the adult world of the Deep South. When Scout’s father defends a black man charged with the rape of a white girl, readers learn about the roots of human behavior, that are innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and tragedy. The six year old, Scout is a feminist icon in the book as she refuses to accept society’s standards, instead pushes for race and gender equality.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is terrifying, unexpected, and at moments humorous. This book is a devastating satire and one of those books that every woman should read at least once. The book is set in a dystopian world and follows Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She is allowed to leave the home of her Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets that have signs and pictures now instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read.

Once a month Offred, and all the other Handmaid’s must lie on their backs and pray that the Commander makes them pregnant, because in an age of declining births, the Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred before lived with her husband, Luke; she played with and protected her daughter; she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. However, all of that changed when the Republic of Gilead overthrew the U.S government. The Handmaid’s tale is set in a world where women are the reproductive slaves for those in power, with absolutely no rights is a powerful story that is despairing, passionate and wry.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist is a collection of funny and insightful essays by Roxane Gay. Gay takes the readers through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also talking about culture over the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The book is an incredibly insightful about not just a woman who is continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also our culture. It talks about how the culture we consume makes us who we are and all the ways we still need to do better. Bad Feminist is clever, funny, and inspiring.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is the story of Esther Greenwood. She is working as an intern for a New York fashion magazine in the summer of 1953. She is beautiful, immensely talented, and successful. Yet she is on the edge of a darkness that makes her world increasingly unreal. Esther’s vision of the world flickers and shifts everyday. Sylvia Plath takes the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such magnitude that her insanity appears real and at moments even rational.The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is about a woman’s struggle with identity, with mental-illness, exploration of sexuality and the huge pressure to follow society’s sexist conventions. The novel is partly autobiographical.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou wrote seven autobiographical works in her life, and ‘I Know Why The Caged Birds Sings’ is the first installment of the series. The autobiography follows Angelou through her early life from living with her grandmother to later living in San Francisco. The memoir is about her struggle to break away from the shackles of racial oppression and sexism. ‘I Know WHy The Caged Bird Sings’ offers a message of strength and hope. The autobiography is beautiful and inspiring.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one the great classic novel. The story is about an orphaned child, Jane. She has felt as an outcast her entire young life. Even though Jane is of plain appearance, she has an unyielding spirit, a sharp wit and great courage. When she gets a job as a governess for proud Edward Rochester’s ward Adèle at Thornfield Hall, Jane’s courage is tested. Soon after her arrival, Jane finds herself drawn to Edward’s troubled yet kind spirit and she falls in love with him. Jane Eyre is a story about a woman who has been striving for happiness her entire life. It is about love, justice, prejudice, strength, struggles, and existence.

A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room Of One’s Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. Published in 1929, it is widely regarded as the foundation text of feminist literary criticism. It is based on a lecture given at Newnham and Girton College in Cambridge. The essay covers everything from Jane Austen to Shakespeare’s imaginary sister to the sexual constraints on female creativity.

In ‘A Room of One’s Own’ Virginia Woolf gives a brief history of women’s writing in English, a searing account of the subtle and not so subtle ways in which women have been discouraged from writing. Woolf talks about women’s economic disadvantages, the underfunding of women’s education, the discouragement of women from certain kinds of high-income work, how women are socialized into suspicion of each other, and how women participate in their own systemic oppression. Even though ‘A Room Of One’s Own’ talks about vital subjects, throughout the book is funny, light-hearted and engaging.

The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton is the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel ‘The Age Of Innocence’. The book follows Newland Archer, of upper-class 1870s New York. Newland Archer is a lawyer who is happily engaged to sheltered and beautiful May. However, his life turns upside down when he meets and falls in love with May’s exotic cousin, Ellen Olenska. His passion for the mysterious Countess Ellen leads Archer to question the very foundations of his way of life as he is torn between duty and passion. The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton is an alluring story of desire and betrayal.

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

A Woman is No Man is a debut novel by Etaf Rum. The novel is set in Brooklyn, and follows eighteen-year-old Deya, who is starting to meet with suitors. She doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident,  but when she finds a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman, it makes Deya question everything she was told about her past.

The narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and her mother, as she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum gives a look into the daily lives of women from other cultures and what society expects from them. It is an incredible debut novel and one of those books that every woman should read at least once.

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