10 of My Favorite Female
TO READ FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
It’s no secret that I am a total book nerd. And while I do read across genres, biography is not usually my category of choice. But once in a while I find an individual that interests me and I reach for her story. Here are ten of the stories I have enjoyed most and are definitely worth your time!
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s storytelling is magical. The woman who penned two of my favorite poems, Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise, describes her childhood from ages three to sixteen in such vivid detail it feels like you are a ghost in the corner, right there observing her life as it unfolds.
Her tale is both full of humor and struggle. She describes her ever-evolving relationships with her family, how she fell in love with books, and her perspective of gr0wing up as a black girl in a white man’s world. This book will make you see the world through someone else’s eyes in a way only a talented storyteller can.
Kisses from Katie
by Katie Davis
Katie Davis was 18 and not yet graduated from high school when she first visited and fell in love with Uganda. In spite of her parents concern, she postponed college and instead she left behind her friends and the comforts of home to teach kindergarten in an orphanage in Uganda. From there, she was led to start a non-profit to help meet the needs of the many children who surrounded her and captured her heart.
This is the story of her struggle and big heart and a love for Jesus that just would not quit.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank
Even if you read this book back when you were in school, it bears a revisit. Anne is every thirteen year old girl, fighting with her mother, romanticizing about a boy. And she is so much more. Even under the most dire circumstances, when no one could have blamed her for choosing the darkest perspective, she consistantly looked for the light.
I believe this is one of the reasons her diary has remained popular through the years. Her irrepressible hope is an inspiration, that regardless of our current situation, we can always choose to look for the good.
My Life in France
by Julia Child
I have no interest in cooking at the level of Julia Child, or cooking anything French, for that matter. You aren’t going to get me near an aspic. But Child spent a decade dedicated to translating The Art of French Cuisine, the second love of her life, into a format that an American publisher would accept. This tenacity, and the enthusiasm with which she went about this project, begun in mid-life no less, brought her a new career and a place as an American icon. THAT is Amazing. Impressive. Inconceivable. (I can hardly keep a project going for a few months, much less 10 years.)
And what a zest for living! You only have to look at this postcard of her and her dear husband, Paul, to see that she loved life and was not shy about embracing it. This woman wasn’t out to impress anyone, she was just following her passion wherever it led. This is a thoroughly charming book.
Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert
When this book first came out I was struggling to recover from a soul-crushing divorce. So perhaps that is why Gilbert’s journey to rediscover how to love herself and to love her life resonated with me.
If you’ve ever found yourself miserable in a life you were supposed to love, or grieving the life you thought you were supposed to have, this book is for you. There is a lot of comfort to be found reading about how Gilbert navigates all the feels…the ones most of us are too embarassed to admit having.
Eat, Pray, Love definitely is a love it/hate it sort of read. But for those who have found themselves totally untethered from themselves, this is a love story about rediscovering your center.
PSA: DO NOT see the movie. No offense to Julia Roberts: the film is terrible.
by Alice Steinbach
Alice Steinbach’s writing is some of the loveliest I have had the pleasure to read. She is also incredibly accomplished and intelligent, which adds even more to her writing style. This is the story of her “Year of Living Dangerously”, as she puts it~traveling in Europe and figuring out who she really is again, independent of the other relationships in her life. (Don’t we all fall into the trap of defining ourselves by who we are to others?) What Elizabeth Gilbert feels compelled to do in her 30s in Eat, Pray, Love, Steinbach does later in life, just because she wants to.
If Julia Child’s memoir doesn’t make you want to visit France, this book will definitely make you want to hop a plane to somewhere immediately!
Year of Yes
by Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes is arguably Hollywood’s most powerful woman. She is a story teller. She is hilarious. And she is also a die-hard introvert, a recovering yo-yo dieter, a former doormat to people who wanted things from her and and, once-upon-a-time, a walking panic attack.
One day she woke up and realized she had this great life. All this success. And she was miserable. So she committed to saying Yes to everything that came her way for one year. This is the story, in hilarious narrative, of how she overcame many of her fears and became the truest version of herself.
The Story of My Life
by Helen Keller
What I find the most amazing about Helen Keller was not only her incredible curiosity about life and her thirst for knowledge, but her constant desire and determination to take it to the next level.
She learned to speak, went to college, rode horseback, could communicate in French, German & Latin, and played chess. The woman was blind and deaf and SHE wrote a book…I’m having trouble with a blog, for goodness sake!
In those moments when I think my life is too hard or my dreams are too difficult to attempt I will try to remember this woman who never lost her enthusiasm for living and for learning.
by Cheryl Strayed
At 22, Cheryl Strayed lost her mother to cancer, and then her family fell apart. She fell into a spiral of destructive behavior which led to a bold (crazy?) decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, over 2500 miles up the west coast. Alone.
Did I mention she wasn’t an experienced hiker? That her backpack started off weighing more than she did? And yet she persevered, because moving forward was the only option she had left. She narrates her journey in great detail, not leaving out the embarassing or painful parts. But she also writes with humor and hope, which was what started her on the trail in the first place.
Little House on the Prarie
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Remember this one?! My last favorite is Wilder’s autobiographical account of her family’s journey to the prarie and the life they built there. (Although I also love Little House in the Big Woods.) Laura is spunky and bright and so fun to watch grow up. As a daddy’s girl myself, Laura’s relationshiop with her Pa is one of my favorite parts of the books.
The unfavorable portrayal of Native Americans in the Little House books is a product of the era in which it was written and should be acknowledged and approached as such. That being said, the resilience and adaptability of the Ingalls family themselves and their affection for each other is still a joy to read.
I am always inspired when I hear stories about how women have struggle and found thier way through to the other side. I’m sure you are as well! These books (alongside my kick-ass female empowered movie collection!) are where I go when I need to be reminded that we women are resilient and able to rise in spite of our obstacles.
I hope this list has inspired you to grab a story for yourself…or possibly to start writing your own.
What books about women have inspired you?!
Share in the comments below!
(I’m always looking for recommendations. )