Monday, April 9, 2012

Stories for Women: Musing Mondays

Another Musing Mondays prompt from Should be Reading:
What do you think are the top 5 books every woman should read? (And for the men who might be playing today: What do you think are the top 5 books every man should read?)

Wow, that's a tall order. Let me start with the men. I need to be totally honest here. Although I read many genres, I tend to stick to stories with a strong female character or about female relationships. I simply find women more interesting and complex. No hate mail, please.

I'm occasionally surprised, and I'm always happy about it when I am. Recently, I read a great "guy" book: The Voynich Cypher. My husband loves Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, and Tom Clancy. I've read at least one by each and give them props.

Now to women's literature. More problems (if you call these problems): I'm all over the place and have so many books I love.

My thoughts:

For Moms
Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year. It doesn't matter if you have a son or daughter. Lamott offers us all an in-depth and raw look into honest Mom thoughts. No sugary, my-children-are-perfect stories here. I read this during my first daughter's first year, and it helped me own those moments where you feel less than worthy to be a parent.

For Moms of Girls
Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Not only did this book help me in my teenage years, it has also helped my tween daughter. It's timeless.

And, in a bit of shameless self-promotion, my book, Depression Cookies. It's a coming of age story from both the mother and daughter's perspectives (which I wrote with my own mother). It's journey through body image issues, stranger anxiety, emotional drama, and finding common ground. Moms and daughters can read it together and discuss the different perspectives and timeless teen issues.

For Fans of Historical Fiction
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. I read this several years ago in my book club, and I was fascinated. It was the book that made me embrace historical fiction. And you can't ask for a stronger female character.

For Nonfiction Fans
James Fox's Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia. The story focuses on Nancy Astor (married Waldorf Astor), Britain's first female MP, but includes all five sisters. It's female power and strength in spades. (My review)

A close second, if not a downright tie, is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It shows the complexity of the female spirit and reads like fiction. (My review)

For Young Adult
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Yes, the subject matter is difficult, but it's an amazing book with a strong, memorable female lead. Although classified young adult, it's for teens and up.

Only listing five doesn't seem fair (and I even snuck in two extra). I loved The Help, and all dog lovers should read The Art of Racing in the Rain. As far as classics, my all-time favorites are The Good Earth and A Separate Peace. And my go-to romance author is Nora Roberts, hands down.

What's your top book recommendation for women?

I can't wait to hop around and read others' opinions on this subject. If you are also interested, please check out the commenters here.


Kwizgiver said...

I haven't heard of the James Fox book, I'll have to check it out-it sounds so good!

Anonymous said...

I completely forgot about Are You There God? It's Me Margaret!

Also, the Babysitter's Club. haha

Tia Bach said...

Judy Blume is my idol!!

And the Fox book really was great. I love nonfiction that takes me away like fiction does. This one did that.