My last list of the year (I promise). I’ve had plenty of book groups asking me for recommendations, so here they are. In truth, with all the skirmishes lately over the New York Times and how many books by women are reviewed, sold, or placed on the most important book shelves, I gave myself a task: Make a list of your own favorite books by women and then take a gander at their commonalities, strengths, courage, etc. As a novelist, I chose novels. And as I made my list, I was certainly intrigued by what I saw. Every one of the books below is unapologetically literary. Every one of them is smart, difficult, driven by voice and vision, and offers the reader an undeniable reward in the end. They all plunge into serial point of views, twist and turn through time and event, consider subjectivity and truth, its impossibility, and its implications. These books make their own rules, and by doing so they will always remain at the crest of our literary imaginations. Forget the markets and the reviews and the bookstore numbers. These are the kind of books that will remain.
So here they are, in alphabetical order only. Some are old standards; some I might get plenty of arguments about (or even groans). I’ll be listing them on twitter as well under the tag #novelsbywomen, so please join me in doing the same if you want to give a shout out to your favorites.
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Bone People, by Keri Hulme
Evening, by Susan Minot
Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels
The Gardens of Kyoto, by Kate Walbert
The Gathering, by Anne Enright
Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson
The Inheritance of Loss, by Kerin Desai
To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte