My top 10 favorite books by women authors

January 30, 2009 at 1:45 pm in Books & Entertainment by Amy Dickinson

1. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A very tender, brainy and sad, evocative look at a family. It’s the language I love.

2. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
A social tragedy. The writing is amazing. I’ve always been fascinated by “society,” because I grew up on a farm as part of a group of people who were completely ignored. There’s something very cruel about it as you see this woman in the process of being shunned by society.

3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
It’s so sweet and tender and it’s a book that my daughter and I enjoyed every night together for a very long time. A book I treasure.

4. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
I didn’t really want to read it. I was just completely drawn in because Joan Didion was able to describe something I had thought was indescribable, which is great loneliness and longing. I loved reading about this very happy and tender relationship that she had with her husband. I had never been exposed to that in my real life and so I’ve always found that so moving and romantic.

5. The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing
by Melissa Bank
It’s the quintessential book about being a single woman of a certain age. It’s a group of linked stories: very, very, very funny. It’s both about being a daughter, a sister, and eventually falling in love and optimistically hoping for a partner in life.

6. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
by Emily Dickinson
We are related, and my daughter is named Emily and Dickinson is her middle name. But more than that I would probably love Emily Dickinson anyway. One time somebody said to me, “Oh! Those depressing poems!” — but I have always seen Emily Dickinson as being someone who celebrated life and looked at nature, and looked at longing, loneliness. A lot of her poetry is very joyful. They are also usually just the right length.

7. Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
A story I really identified with, with all these sisters in a New England setting. Jo March remains a wonderful example for any young, growing, brainy girl. I think of it as sort of a quintessentially American story for girls.

8. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing
by May Sarton
May Sarton has always reminded me of my mother, who is a wonderful writer. And May Sarton’s work is very, very beautifully written and a lot of it is about solitude. This book is about an interviewer who comes to a poet’s home to interview her about her life. And so it’s an older woman talking about her life and her relationships. And I love the conceit.

9. Big Stone Gap: A Novel
by Adrianna Trigiani
The perfect combination of charming. It’s about a woman who returns to her little hometown in a very isolated community in the mountains of Virginia. She’s surrounded by people she’s known forever and everybody already has their point of view all set based on something you did in eighth grade. I highly recommend this as a fun beach book.

10. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Starting when I was about eight it just completely resonated with me because I lived on a farm in an isolated community in a place where winter lasts for nine months. My sisters and I really saw the last, the very last gasp of a certain kind of rural life where my mother knit our sweaters. We simply performed tasks and chores that people no longer do. That’s why the books resonated with me.

Amy Dickinson book giveaway

Related Content

What would you write in a letter to... One of the things Kristine and I recommend in our workshops is to write a letter to your daughter. Writing a letter to...
Creative book club names LUV some of the book club names I've been privileged to meet: Cozy Slippers Book Club, Ladies Guilty Pleasures Book Club, Pulpwood Queens ...
Just Because Art Is Fun Doesn’... I direct a program called the Jeremiah Project which is a creative arts program for at-risk middle school age students.  Students will often express f...