Whenever you find yourself in a search for a purpose, crack open motivational reads which are filled with words of wisdom. The right book can guide, educate and inspire; and help you nurse a broken heart or help you to discover people and places. In a world saturated with tech, TV shows, games and apps at our fingertips — nothing can replace the pleasure of a good book. Here’s a list of life-changing books every woman should read.
- “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir
It is as relevant now as it was when it first appeared in 1949; de Beauvoir is often credited in part with launching feminism’s second-wave with this work. The existentialist author explores the treatment of women throughout history.
- “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant
A beautifully written work of historical fiction expands on the Old Testament story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah. A celebration of womanhood, the red tent of the title refers to the sisterhood of relationships formed when women take refuge in the tent for their monthly menstrual cycles and while giving birth.
- “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
This coming-of-age tale focuses on identity, racism, trauma and life in the American South in the 1930s. It is about a young girl who learns to overcome prejudice and hardship to become a strong and independent adult.
- “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion
This masterful, devastating book on grief sees the author’s introspective eye and powers of analysis as she attempts to make sense of a year, in which she lost her husband of 40 years to a massive coronary. Simultaneously, her daughter, Quintana, fell victim to flu, then pneumonia, then septic shock and a hematoma, never recovering from her illness.
- “Complete Stories” by Dorothy Parker
Witty, pithy, brash and unafraid to expose the foibles of the New York high-society milieu which was the backdrop to her life, Parker’s staunchly feminist stories will put a smile on your face.
- “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
This 19th-century novel tells the story of four sisters during the American Civil War. It has one of literature’s best female characters: the strong-willed, fiery-tempered Jo March, known for love of literature and utter disinterest in anything romantic.
- “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Austen’s tale of early-1800s manners and morality is light-hearted, fun and utterly timeless. This story of love, marriage and not doing what other people want you to feels as contemporary, and addictive.
- “The Second Shift” by Arlie Russell Hochschild
Published in 1989, this book is as essential a read. It sheds light on the dual-career households and the domestic duties that women are still expected to perform after the workday is done. Sociologist Hochschild found that working women put in a month of work a year more than their spouses.