Books by women you should read before you die

I love book lists and reading lists. And lately, as I’ve been doing my own library inventory, it just dawned on me that around 90-95% of the books I own or have read were written by women. When scouring the shelves in a bookstore, I’m more likely to give a book another look and read the blurb at the back in greater detail if the author was female. I know there are a lot of great male authors out there, and I have nothing against male writers, I promise. It’s just that at this moment in my life, I consciously pay more heed to a woman’s voice. I am after all, a woman, and I am more drawn to the female perspective–how they describe the world around them, their innermost thoughts and experiences that mirror my own or are unique to me. I want to feel a connection with the women I encounter in my readings. I get to live many lives vicariously through them, and I emerge a stronger woman, a richer person out of it.

So imagine my excitement when I came across this list of recommended books to read written by women.

Here are the ones I’ve read so far:

  • Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë) – my favorite!
  • A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
  • Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  • Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – I have a copy of this, but still haven’t finished going through all of Emily Dickinson’s poems. They’re so many!
  • The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)
  • The Giver (Lois Lowry)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – very gripping
  • The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton) – very tragic
  • The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)
  • The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)
  • We Should All Be Feminists (Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie)

Those on my to read list:

  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
  • Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) – currently reading
  • Bad Feminist (Roxanne Gay)
  • I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai)
  • Middlemarch (George Eliot)
  • Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)
  • Obasan (Joy Kogawa)
  • Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
  • Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)
  • Second Sex (Simone de Beauvoir)
  • The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
  • The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
  • The Death of the Heart (Elizabeth Bowen)
  • The Feminine Mystique (Betty Friedan)
  • The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)
  • The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)
  • The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu)
  • Tipping the Velvet (Sarah Waters)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys)
  • Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

3 thoughts on “Books by women you should read before you die

    • I know! I’m beating myself up a bit because I have loved the Sullivan production of Anne of Green Gables (1985) and Anne of Avonlea (1987) since I was a kid (around 6 or 8, I think) but haven’t read any of the Anne books until now. I have read Chronicles of Avonlea when I was 7 and loved it. Also, I have yet to read books by a Bronte other than Charlotte. I do love stories written by women with strong female characters. I have included The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in my reading list. Thank you for the recommendation. 🙂

      P.S. Your blog is so amazing! I want to read through them when I have the time. Little Women was one of the first novels I fell in love with immediately when I was a kid. It’s special because it was one of those books that turned on my love of reading. The first one that did that for me was L.M. Montgomery’s The Story Girl. Anyway, I’m rambling on. Thank you for your comment and I hope you will grace me with other awesome book recommendations in the future. 🙂

      P.P.S. I love the 1994 Little Women film version too. I think Winona Ryder was the perfect Jo March. 🙂


      • Thanks so much for the encouragement!! I loved Little Women part 1 and didn’t realize there was a part 2 until years later. There were plenty of things I loved about the second part, like Meg’s domestic “adventures” and Jo’s writing in New York, but what happened with Jo and Laurie never sat right …


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