75 Books Every Woman Should Read

Kerri tweeted this list of books and I thought I’d go thru it and see how woefully underread I am. I hate these lists – they make me feel like a moron. Since I’m feeling like a little self-flagellation, I thought I’d share my lack of akchual literachure reading with all of you.

  • The Lottery (and Other Stories), Shirley Jackson- read the short story but nothing else.
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf- nope, but I loved A Room Of One’s Own. A lot.
  • The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton- nope, but I have read The Buccanneers and Age Of Innocence, which I loved.
  • White Teeth, Zadie Smith- nope
  • The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende – nope
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion – nope
  • Excellent Women, Barbara Pym – nope
  • The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath – nope
  • Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys – nope
  • The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri – nope
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison – nope
  • Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert- yes. Loved it.
  • Like Life, Lorrie Moore – nope
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen- of course. Defining moment of my childhood, reading that book.
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë – Excellent. The pinnacle of gothic novels.
  • The Delta of Venus, Anais Nin – nope
  • A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley – nope
  • A Good Man Is Hard To Find (and Other Stories), Flannery O’Connor – nope
  • The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx – nope, but I tried. I didn’t like it.
  • You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, Alice Walker – nope, but I read The Color Purple.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston – nope
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee- Yes. Awesome book.
  • Fear of Flying, Erica Jong – Yes, althought I didn’t get it.
  • Earthly Paradise, Colette – nope, but I’ve read several of the Claudine books.
  • Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt- yes, and it was really fucking depressing.
  • Property, Valerie Martin – nope
  • Middlemarch, George Eliot – nope, but I own it.
  • Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid – nope
  • The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir – nope
  • Runaway, Alice Munro – nope
  • The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers – nope
  • The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston – nope
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë – Yes, although I didn’t like it much.
  • You Must Remember This, Joyce Carol Oates – nope, but I’ve read other books by her and I haven’t liked them all that much.
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott- I LOVE this book. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
  • Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill – nope (never heard of it)
  • The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr – nope
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou- Yes. Excellent book.
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith – nope, but someone in book group wants to read it – I’m hoping it gets picked.
  • And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie – Yes. I love Agatha Christie. Love. Her.
  • Bastard out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison – nope
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt- Not yet, but it’s on my list.
  • The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley – nope
  • The Portable Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker – nope
  • The Group, Mary McCarthy – nope
  • Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi – nope
  • The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing – nope
  • The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank- hasn’t everyone read this?
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley- yes. It made me sad.
  • Against Interpretation, Susan Sontag – nope
  • In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez – nope
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck – nope
  • Fun Home, Alison Bechdel – nope
  • Three Junes, Julia Glass – nope
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft – nope
  • Sophie’s Choice, William Styron – nope, but I tried. I knew the story and couldn’t bear to read it.
  • Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann- yes. Meh.
  • Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford – nope
  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell- Uh, yeah. About 847 times.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin – nope, but I have read at least one of the Earthsea books.
  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant- great book, but the ending felt rushed.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera – nope, but it’s on my list.
  • The Face of War, Martha Gellhorn – nope
  • My Antonia, Willa Cather – nope
  • Love In The Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez – nope, but I tried.
  • The Harsh Voice, Rebecca West – nope
  • Spending, Mary Gordon – nope
  • The Lover, Marguerite Duras – nope
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy- yes. It weighed about 85 lbs, but I did read it.
  • Tell Me a Riddle, Tillie Olsen – nope
  • Nightwood, Djuna Barnes – nope
  • Three Lives, Gertrude Stein – nope
  • Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons – nope
  • I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith – nope
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt- nope

So yeah. Apparently I am not very well read. *sigh* Great. Something else to feel bad about. Because I don’t have enough issues….


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heidi
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 00:19:00

    Take heart. I saw your entry and thought, “Ooh! A meme!” Then I made my own list and am too ashamed to put it on my blog. lol I can only say I’ve “read” 7, and that’s with a Bill Clintonesque definition of the word “read.” If we’re strict, I’ve really only read 3…


  2. Zazzy
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 00:21:00

    Were you being sarcastic when you said you guessed you weren’t well read? I hate to take you seriously if you were joking. Especially since I know that you’re very well read.I’ve read some of the books on the list – about the same percentage as you. Some of the books on the list I detested, some that I think should be there aren’t. I always wonder who gets to decide on a list like this and why anyone takes it seriously.Of course, you were probably joking.


  3. Major Bedhead
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 00:32:00

    Zaz – I read a lot. What I haven’t read is a lot of what people consider to be literature. Most of it doesn’t speak to me and a lot of it I find boring. So I don’t know. Am I well-read because I read a lot, even if some of what I read isn’t highbrow? Heidi – you should post it!


  4. stepping over the junk
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 07:00:00

    I’ve read about a third of these. Currently printing your list for my book file! (to be read)


  5. Lisa
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 07:56:00

    5…hanging head in shame


  6. Stomper Girl
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 22:12:00

    I’ve read (and not read) almost the same ones as you, including GWTW about 87 times. I read Erica Jong as an adolescent and really that was about sex for me, I doubt i’d enjoy it now that I *know* about sex.But I loved loved loved Love in a Cold Climate, it made me squawk with laughter so I think you should try it.


  7. Ms Picket To You
    Sep 25, 2008 @ 17:59:00

    i’ve only read nine. But I read Like Life about 15 times. It’s one of my all time favorites (add “Cowboys are My Weakness” and that’s pretty much my reading list in college; oh, and “Boys of My Youth.”I think I am the only person never to have read the Red Tent.


  8. Minnesota Nice
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 18:27:00

    OMG, Angela’s Ashes – I read it when I was laid up with my broken ankle. I’d be in my nice cozy bed, with a can of fat-free Pringles, a rice krispie treat, and big diet pepsi and read about the little boys who had nothing to eat and how the mom had to beg for a pig’s head from the St Vincent DePaul Society. Also, they had to ccover up at night with their ratty coats as they had no blankets.Then I found out that it was a true story and got even more depressed…………However, McCourt’s two books that followed, “Tis and Teacher Man are a lot funnier.


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