Category Archives: Top 5

Top 5 women writers

To celebrate International Women’s Day, a list of my top 5 female writers. This list could definitely have been twice as long!

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 07.42.26Margaret Atwood

I first came across Margaret Atwood’s books when I was doing my A-levels and we studied Cat’s Eye. I was immediately caught by her writing style and also by the subject matter. Here, Atwood expertly depicts the power play between young girls. It remains one of my all-time favourite novels. I have fond memories of sitting in the sunshine on campus at uni devouring more of Atwood’s novels. My other top faves are The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin and The Robber Bride.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 07.49.08Jane Austen

Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel. (A controversial choice for some, I realise.) Pride and Prejudice is pretty high up on the list too, closely followed by Sense and Sensibility. I am definitely more of a Elinor than a Marianne, though, although I did want to be Kate Winslet in the movie adaptation. Her curls! Austen’s books are such smart social commentaries, and full of wit.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 07.55.15Toni Morrison

Beloved is my favourite of Morrison’s books. It’s a tough read, often very gruesome, but also heart-breaking and beautiful. I think Morrison is also so inspiring of new writers. “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 07.56.39Charlotte Brontë

I read Jane Eyre for the first time at my grandparents’ house and immediately fell for its stubborn, brave, loyal and intelligent lead. I have since read it many times and love the fact that each time I do, I found something different to admire. It truly feels like one of the first YA novels.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 08.10.20Judy Blume

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Forever defined a generation. Blume was way ahead of her time. I was lucky enough to see her at an event at YALC a couple of years ago, and she came across as so wise, smart and kind. An inspiring writer.

My Top 5 books of 2016

I’ve read some great books this year, and not all of them published this year. I’m going to write about them anyway, because I think sometimes we can get too preoccupied with “new” books. So here goes (in no particular order)…

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.25.10Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again. Twenty years later Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse. But then her newly hopeful world is threatened. If civilization was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?

A smart and original book. Intricately plotted, it will stay with you long after you finish it. A refreshing change from the more dramatic apocalypse books.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.22.45We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

With humour and levity, Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century – one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 

I read quite a few books on feminism this year as I realised I hadn’t done that since uni. This short novella on the subject was one of my favourites. Personal, honest, engaging and enlightening: well-worth a read. It will make you want to shout, “Yes, we should all be feminists.”

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.25.46One by Sarah Crossan

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined.

Sarah Crossan is a terrific writer, and I have endless admiration for how she manages to cram so much story and emotion into so few words. Her verse novels are always my favourite and this (in my opinion) is her best yet. It deserves to have received all the awards and attention that it has. Can’t wait for her next one!

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.23.17The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past: To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory. Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

Time travel, quantum physics … romance – what more could you want from a book? Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s writing is gorgeous. Funny and emotional, this book is about all my favourite things: growing up, falling in love and trying to work out what this thing called life is really all about. (Plus, I think the front cover is gorgeous.)

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 07.22.15I Call Myself a Feminist: The View From Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty, edited by Victoria Pepe, Rachel Holmes, Amy Annette, Alice Stride, Martha Mosse

Is feminism still a dirty word? Twenty-five of the brightest, funniest, bravest young women write about what being a feminist means to them. Contributors include Laura Bates (of the Everyday Sexism Project), Reni Eddo-Lodge (award-winning journalist and author), Yas Necati (an eighteen-year-old activist), Laura Pankhurst (great-great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst) and Louise O’Neill(author of the award-winning feminist YA novel Only Ever Yours)

Another of the books I read on feminism this year that I enjoyed. This one felt very “now”, and I liked how inclusive it was. It was also great that not all the contributors were authors. An inspiring and informative book, and I loved all the quotations in it.