Top 100 books women should read, from More magazine
Wondering what to load into your spanking new iPad reading device once it arrives? The good ladies — no offense, I’m assuming they’re ladies — over at More.com (“Celebrating Woman 40+”) polled their editors for a list of 100 novels every woman should read.
Of course, the Luddites among you can always buy these books at a bookstore and read them the old-fashioned way. One page at a time.
Starting with the Classics, More’s editors mostly round up the usual suspects: Jane Eyre, by Emily Bronte; To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen; Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys; Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott; To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
A conventional list, true, but credit is due for the mix of sexy, profound and downright challenging, in the case of Woolf. The editors get special points for naming The Awakening, Kate Chopin’s proto-modernist, proto-feminist novella as No. i.
The list deserves kudos, too, for including worthwhile books by men — Nabokov’s Lolita, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country. But I think the editors may have missed an opportunity here. A list made up entirely of female authors would have been more provocative, and provided a valuable service.
Apparently only the first 21 books, the Classics, are up on the website so far. I’m pleasantly surprised by a few selections: Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook; Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; The Arabian Nights. I’m gratified to see one of my very favorite books, Madame Bovary. Not sure in what universe Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying is a classic, though.
Let’s hope More becomes a little bolder as the editors fill out the rest of the list. Here’s a few I’d suggest: The Women’s Room, by Marilyn French; The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin; Surfacing, by Margaret Atwood; Seven Gothic Tales, by Isak Dinesen; West with the Night, by Beryl Markham; Christy, by Catherine Marshall; Tracks, by Louise Erdrich; Wise Blood, by Flannery O’Connor; Regeneration, by Pat Barker; A Sport of Nature, by Nadine Gordimer: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark…
I’ll stop. What a great world of books we live in! Tell me what favorites you’d put on a list of books women should read? Just to make it interesting, let’s only name books written by actual female authors — deal?