Now to see us out on my guest post week, I have an absolutely wonderful post from Kirsty Brown about the 10 books that ever young woman should read. Shamefully, I haven’t actually read any of these but they are most definitely on my radar now and a few trips to the library is definitely in order. Have you read any of these? Have a read of Kirsty’s brilliant post and thank you for joining me on guest post week, whilst I’ve been away. And thank you to the amazing guest posters, too!
As an avid reader, I can’t imagine growing up without an entire heap of books helping me navigate the horrendously complicated world that is being a young woman. These ten books are my absolute essentials, although there are countless honourable mentions, that every young woman simply has to read.
- Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
“I was supposed to be having the time of my life.”
Famous for her incredibly difficult life, plagued by mental health issues and only made worse by her marriage to Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel follows a woman through her struggle with mental illness. Within its desperately sad pages there is a feeling of being lost that every young woman can identify with.
- Caitlin Moran – How to be a Woman
“I have read more about Oprah Winfrey’s ass than I have about the rise of China as an economic superpower.”
How To Be a Woman reads like an instruction manual to growing up. Ranging from the scary world of periods and unexpected hair to how to deal with the minefield of marriage and children, this book forms the perfect companion for any woman no matter their age.
- Roxane Gay – Bad Feminist
“When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.”
Although the description of Bad Feminist as a collection of essays doesn’t sound like ideal casual reading, the essays themselves are an absolute must read. Discussing the range of issues modern feminists face, this book deals with the ugly, messy and imperfect ways women can tackle the challenges of today and why being a bad feminist isn’t actually a bad thing at all.
- Roald Dahl – Matilda
“Books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: you are not alone.”
Although all of Roald Dahl’s books are works of absolute genius, Matilda is particularly good for young women. A little girl who is excluded and looked down upon, other than by one special teacher, Matilda exemplifies a generation of strong, intelligent women.
- Malala Yousafzai – I Am Malala
“To all the girls who have faced injustice and been silenced. Together we will be heard.”
I am Malala, tells the incredible story of bravery in the face of evil in the humble words of a young woman herself. Unwilling to give in to terror, Malala stood up for what she believed in and can be seen as inspiration to us all, regardless of gender. Ultimately, in the words of the U.N. Secretary-General, “extremists have showed what they fear most – a girl with a book”.
- Kate Walbert – A Short History of Women
“Mum starved herself for suffrage.”
Following a suffragette and her various female decedents, A Short History of Women tells the story of how women throughout the decades have helped to change the world. It’s impossible to read without being utterly proud to be a woman and proves that we all have much more in common with the women who have gone before us than we may at first think.
- Anthony Quinn – Freya
“I worry that Oxford might be a backward step, which I’ve vowed never to take.”
Set in 1945, Freya centres around the friendship of two young women as they begin to pursue their first careers. Perfect for women beginning to seek independence, this book reassures its readers that although growing up can be unpredictable and complicated, it is possible to navigate with the help of friends and being true to yourself.
- Judy Blume – Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret
“I want to be like everybody else.”
Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret tells the story of a twelve year old girl longing to grow up and fit in. Desperate to become a ‘real’ woman and finally be able to fill a bikini top, Margaret represents all of us who have ever felt like they should be growing up more quickly.
- Anne Frank’s Diary
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Although intensely emotional (and do be prepared to cry) every young woman needs to read the diary of Anne Frank. Despite her persecution under Nazi rule, Anne Frank never abandons her hope in humanity and proves that no matter what the circumstances a woman can never be silenced.
- Alice Oseman – Solitaire
“School literally doesn’t care about you unless you’re good at writing stuff down or you’re good at memorising or you can solve bloody maths equations.”
If you’ve ever struggled with school then Solitarie is the book for you. Combining the perils of growing up with being forced down an unwanted academic path this book perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being seventeen and having no idea what to do with the rest of your life, whilst reassuring readers that that’s perfectly ok.