So, my friend L. recently mentioned her cool new job and asked a question:
Gonna be helping some rough teenage girls. Try to turn them into confident, proud young women. We will see. My Barnard roots are re-rooting. If you have any opportunity to guide me towards some good feminist/woman focused literature, I would be eternally grateful!
Yeah! Let’s do it! Here’s my super quick list, so quick I won’t make links to them or anything because, you know, kids these days with the Google and whatnot.
What books shaped you as young women, you wise women blog reader pals?
The Bell Jar, which must always and forever top all lists like this
Also, Plath’s book of short stories, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
Also, Plath’s letters to her mother, called Letters Home
Everything by Toni Morrison
The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
Franny and Zooey, of course, and Nine Stories
Judy Blume barely needs to be mentioned. I recently reread her entire oeuvre and felt the same rush I did as a kid, don’t you love it when that happens?
I guess Virginia Woolf isn’t typical teenager reading, but Mrs. Dalloway is nice and approachable.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, naturally.
I liked Banana Yoshimoto as a teenager, these days I can’t quite get into her so much.
When I was a teenager I read a lot of Erica Jong, but I can’t exactly recommend it, I think she melted my brain a bit. I also read a lot of Ayn Rand, but I’m done talking about that…
Everything by Ruth Ozeki, particularly All Over Creation
Everything by Jennifer Egan
I loved My Antonia by Willa Cather, so so so much that I vowed to name the cats in my life Antonia forever. Then I met an Antonia I didn’t like and the name was ruined for me.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (nonfiction, required reading)
No Logo by Naomi Klein (nonfiction, required reading), (but not The Shock Doctrine, because that will make them kill themselves).
Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel by Jean Kilbourne (nonfiction, required reading)
The super great graphic novel Fun Home by the super great Alison Bechdel, and if they like graphic novels, of course Persepolis (1 and 2) by Marjane Satrapi
The Way The Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald, a beautiful juicy, toothy novel all about childhood. Loved it loved it loved it.
THE RED TENT by Anita Diamant, especially for those churchy kiddos
Woman, an Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier (nonfiction)
Barbara Kingsolver? I’m talking the good novels of course, not the book I have an issue with.
CRUDDY BY LYNDA BARRY!!! Oh my gosh, have you all read this one? Do you all ADORE Lynda Barry like I do? Did you know she’d written a novel? LOVE IT.
The Color Purple
Zami, A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde’s autobiography.
The Great Gatsby, blah blah
The Gaia Girls set of books is for younger girls, but I read them when I was 31 and they were my favorite books of the year. Written by Lee Welles, they are SO WONDERFUL!
To Kill a Mockingbird, obvs
Anne of Green Gables, why not?
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
On the Road?
Kurt Vonnegut? Ray Bradbury?
Cry, the Beloved Country, which I have four copies of, weirdly
I loved Don DeLillo my senior year in high school, but now I can barely get through a page of his. What does that say about me, and about him?
I guess that will do for now. What are your favorites, smarties?