Deborah’s Favorite Books by Women Authors

As a lover of literature, I decided to take some time off from editing the WomenArts Funding Newsletters and challenge myself to make a list of my 10 favorite books by women authors (it wasn’t easy to narrow it down!). What follows is not a comprehensive guide, just a list of my personal favorites – 10 books that have, in some way, changed my life. In order to narrow the list down, I limited myself to books originally written in English, and didn’t include collections of poetry – though most of the books on the list experiment with form in some way. All the books explore issues surrounding gender and gender roles.

What are your favorite books by women? Feel free to add your own list.

1. The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
An exploration of passion in the form of a quasi-historical novel. My favorite book ever!
2. Push – Sapphire
A teenage mother’s journey from illiteracy to becoming a poet.
3. The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
A man from earth visits a planet where the people have no gender.
4. Orlando – Virginia Woolf
Published in 1928, this book is still revolutionary and mind-bending today.
5. Break Every Rule: Essays on Language, Longing, and Moments of Desire – Carole Maso
Essays about being an artist written in the form of poetry.
6. Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories – Angela Carter
Classic fairy tales re-told through a feminist lens (and darker than ever!).
7. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Terrifying science fiction story set in a future that could all too easily become reality.
8. The God of Small Things – Arundahti Roy
A beautifully written exploration of a family’s dark secrets.
9. Autobiography of Red – Anne Carson
A classic Greek myth told like a lyric poem and set in modern times.
10. Woman and Nature – Susan Griffin
An analysis and rebuttal of the conflation of women and nature (and man’s treatment of them) in Western culture, written in a collage format that incorporates primary sources and creative writing.