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My top 10 favorite books by women authors Hot Conversation



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

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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

Posted in books & entertainment, love it! lists.

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15 Responses

  1. Heather Cariou Heather Cariou says

    Amy, I’d love to send you a copy of my book, “Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir.”
    Film rights have been optioned by Eva Longoria. Celine Dion wrote the foreword. You can check it out at http://www.sixtyfiverosesthebook.com If you’d like a copy, send me your address and I’ll put one in the mail. And Congratulations on “Mighty Queens.” I’ll be running out to get a copy!

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  2. Generic Image bluewater365 says

    I have dilegently wrote the names of these books ( those I have not read) and will march to my library and see what they offer and order the rest on Amazon then I will give them to the library

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    • Ritergal Ritergal says

      Bluewater, I love that you are giving to your library. I’m a library nut, and also a board member. We need all the help we can get. Donate books, donate money, donate time. But most of all, USE it! Check out materials, attend programs. Even if all you do is walk in the door or click over to the website now and then, you are supporting the library “voting” to keep funding levels healthy.

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  3. gingervista gingervista says

    Still have Goodnight Moon tucked away in a carton, along with other childhood books (my ‘children’ are 27 & 30)–just in case anybody has children.

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  4. rdickes@hctc.com rdickes@hctc.com says

    Everytime I think about my favorite book over the last few years, I must say that it “Laugh, Pray, Love”.  I can’t remember the author’s name, but she is me and I am her.  Since reading that book, my wanderlust has returned……and I can’t really go anywhere!

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    • Generic Image kdlc says

      Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. A movie is now being filmed starring Julia Roberts.

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      • Generic Image Old tom boy says

        I just went to the movie last night.  I hadn’t read the book but will now.  Though I haven’t traveled much in mileage I have in life experiences and I, too, felt the book was written about my life.  I have just recently found a new love on the internet like so many others here on VN. 

        We met 59 days ago.  I have been to AZ to spend a week with him and will be returning next week for a long weekend.  The big news is I am moving from Iowa to AZ in October to begin another chapter of my life with him.

        Yes, my family thinks I have lost my mind but my true friends believe I have found myself.  I know for me this is the right thing at just the right time.  I am 59 and he is 65 and we hope we will be traveling together to the end of our time. 

        When I became a VN sister back in May I could never have imagined I would be writing this entry.  Love does put you out of balance but in a most delightful way.  I can’t quit smiling.  Keep the faith, my sisters, life is not always good nor is it always bad but it is always different.

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    • weezy8150 weezy8150 says

      I have little reading time, but enjoy listening to audio books in the car…like being a kid again and being read to.  It is good to have a book recommended.  If anyone loves Carol Burnett the comedienne, her story is called “One More Time” and tells of her incredibly sad childhood but inspiring work as an adult….get the tissues out !

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  5. gingervista gingervista says

    Reading is my passion, so ordered The Might Queens…… along with Heather Cariou’s. Look forward to receiving them both!

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  6. Generic Image marycloch says

    I discovered Geraldine Brooks last year thanks to my mother – former English teacher/librarian.  “People of the Book,” “Year of Wonders” and “March.”  All three brilliant.

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  7. CBW CBW says

    Wow!  What a great list from Amy Dickenson!  Some I’ve read.  Some I know of and have just added to my list of need-to-reads.  That list is growing and growing thanks to the many wonderful selections on VN.  I’m starting to think of the list and the piles of books by my bedfside table as akin to my quilting stash.  I’ll never lack for something to do–and hope to live long enough to complete the “good intentions” represented by both stashes of books and fabrics/fibers.  I am enriched by owning both stashes and challenged by each stash to make something wonderful from the authors’ words and from the fabrics, their patterns and lessons.

    I must add to the list, my all time favorite book:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Read first as a teenager in the early 1960′s.  Re-read it and taught it to my 8th graders in the 1990′s.  Now 50 years old, the novel continues to inspire and teach its many lessons so beautifully.

    Well, I’m off to visit Amazon for some more books, including “Queen….”  I’ll check my library’s web page first, tho, to see which ones I can borrow from it.  Thanks to y’all for wonderful posts!

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  8. Jaki -- fiftyfab.com Jaki -- fiftyfab.com says

    When my husband’s daughter was pregnant with her first child we hada baby shower for her. We asked each guest to bring their favorite children’s book for the baby.

    My husband bought a copy of Goodnight Moon , which had been his daughters childhood favorite.

    He then recorded himself reading Good night Moon and we put the recording on a CD and slipped it into the back of the book. Now baby Hailey can listen to Grandpa read Goodnight Moon to her whenever she wants.

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  9. Lgood67334 Lgood67334 says

    I love whatever I’m reading…unless I don’t. I hope it doesn’t sound fickle to say that my tastes change with my mood. So glad that GOOD NIGHT MOON, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE all made your list. I love the common theme of self-discovery as well as the ecclecticism. (Is that a word?)

    B. Lynn Goodwin, Owner of Writer Advice, http://www.writeradvice.com &

    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

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  10. janetjo janetjo says

    Great list

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