I’m a life long bookworm. I’ve many books, some good and some bad. But there are some that represent certain markers in my life, that I believe that every woman should read at least once in her life.
Little Women By Louisa May Alcott
Alcott’s Civil War era novel is timeless. It is the story of the four March sisters: sensible Meg, tomboy Jo, shy Beth and wild child Amy. Their father is away, serving in the Union Army. Jo wants to be a writer, but finds herself constricted by the rules of her era. Her best friend is the boy next door, Laurie. It is a novel of growing up, of what it is to be a sister and have a sister. The first time I read this book, I was in junior high school and it was the gateway book to what would become a very happy obsession with books and classic literature.
Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen
I could not write about important books that have impacted my life and not write about Pride and Prejudice. For the initiated, it is the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy and how they overcome the pride and prejudice that each has to find their life’s partner in each other. Yes, it is a love story, but there are so many human qualities to the novel. Making mistakes, falling in love, accepting your flaws and your partner’s flaws. It’s no wonder that after 200 years, it still holds up.
Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte
Some might describe Charlotte Bronte’s iconic character as being born under an unlucky star. Jane is an orphan, raised in her deceased uncle’s home by a wicked stepmother like aunt and treated like sh*t by her cousins. At the age of ten, she is taken to Lowood School, where the headmaster is cruel to the students. Eight years later, she takes a position at Thornfield Hall, where she is governess to the ward of the mysterious Edward Rochester. Despite all of the obstacles that would keep most people down, Jane has courage, strength and follows her heart, even when she is tempted not to. Which is something we all need to remember.
The Feminine Mystique By Betty Friedan
This book is nothing short of earth shattering. Published in 1963, it was controversial in it’s day. Friedan’s exploration of the hypocrisy of what was considered to the be feminine ideal completely changed the world. This book is instrumental in starting the second wave of the feminist movement and allowing future generations to enjoy the rights and achievements that Friedan’s generation would have never dreamed of. My generation would not have what we have without this book.
Fear Of Flying By Erica Jong
Jong’s literary doppelganger, Isadora Wing is traveling with her husband to a work conference in Vienna. She is in her late 20’s and at the point in her life where she is still questioning who she is and what she wants out of life. The character is an open book to the reader, emotionally and sexually. The openness of the character’s sexuality may shock some, but is the overall openness of the character is more shocking. That a female writer in the early 1970’s, would write so openly about what it is to be a woman and to be a woman of a certain age. I read this book for the first time several years ago and I knew her instantly. This is a must read for any woman between the age of 25 and 30.