At a recent dinner party with our micro-pod of friends, we engaged in a super interesting literary discussion where one friend challenged another friend about his reading list. The challenge was whether he could name five female authors whose books he had read in the last year. It certainly got me thinking as well, since I read so much sci-fi, which is a male-heavy genre. In light of my contemplations, here are five books by female authors that I have recently read and highly recommend:
By all accounts, this was the most important book of the year, possibly the century, possibly ever. If you haven’t read it, stop what you are doing and procure a copy. Isabel Wilkerson takes a deep dive into the caste system in America with an analysis and discussion of two other caste systems – that of India and the Third Reich. Ms. Wilkerson’s mastery of words and metaphor comes together to create the most beautifully written book I have ever read. And the content is eye-opening. This book helped me to understand dynamics in our society that I have never been able to grasp.
In an effort to increase connection and intellectual stimulation during COVID, I joined Malala’s book club on Literati. The first book I received was White Teeth. Reading this was an interesting experience. Smith immediately immerses you into her characters’ lives, which are imperfect and messy. Two best friends, their families, four narrators, and multiple cultures colliding in modern London raises questions of empowerment, societal structures, and the meaning of home. And while this book may explore some important and heavy-hitting themes, Smith’s sharp humor balances this out to make a great read.
Also, a monthly pic from Malala’s book club on Literati, Owusu’s sometimes gritty memoir uses an ongoing earthquake metaphor to discuss the powerful experiences that have shaped her life. This book features discussions about how Owusu found her center to move forward past trauma with a poignant focus on mental health. The relationship dynamics are as heartbreaking as they are eye-opening.
Alderman explores an alternate reality wherein women suddenly begin to develop a special power and how this shift in power results in power shifts that echo through society. The Power explores the role of women in different societies and how a small change could result in an entirely different set of gender expectations. And Alderman does all of this through an exciting and suspenseful story I couldn’t put down. Bonus – the New York Times put out some thought-provoking book club discussion questions if you are reading this with friends.
It wouldn’t be a book recommendation list written by yours truly without a yoga book, right? Laseter, the arguable American godmother of restorative yoga, has written a highly accessible, short, easy read that breaks down small practices you can incorporate into your daily life. With each chapter ending with a short meditation, I found reading a chapter each night before bed put me in the right framework for a good night’s rest, while also giving me new tools to find calm in my everyday life.
BONUS – Triathlon for the Every Woman and Year of No Nonsense by Meredith Atwood
BONUS – Because who could ever narrow down any list to just 5 books?? I have now purchased and given away at least three copies of Triathlon for the Every Woman. The first edition of this book found its way into my life and might as well have been called You Can Be a Triathlete Jessica. Meredith’s story about her journey from overweight lawyer to Ironman social media star to finding her true path is inspiring. She really highlights how triathlon is a sport for everyone. And if you need an extra kick in the pants to work on whatever material you are dealing with, Year of No Nonsense is definitely also worth the read.
Note: This article does not contain any affiliate links. No promotional items or anything else received. I just like Literati and am making a recommendation based on a monthly service I personally pay for and in which I find great enjoyment. And I am making every attempt to equitably feature each of Lafayette’s independent book stores. They’re all great and I love them.