How many great women have you read?
By Daniella Snyder
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’m curious to know: how many women authors have you read? I scoured the Library’s (online) stacks and compiled a list of some of my favorite women authors and their most famous works. Let us know how many you’ve read on social media (@villanovalibrary on Instagram and @FalveyLibrary on Twitter), and let us know what authors you would have had on your list!
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Morrison tells a harrowing tale of slavery and its lasting impact through fragments and flashbacks. Beloved is based on the true story of Margaret Garner. This novel, like the rest of Morrison’s work, is known for its beautiful language and intense imagery.
Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse
Written by Woolf in 1927, To The Lighthouse centers on the Ramsay family between the years 1910 and 1920. Woolf, a mother figure of Modernism, focuses on philosophical introspection, thoughts and observations, subjectivity, the nature of art, and the concept of perception in this novel.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s famous romantic novel of manners, written in 1813. Austen’s novel has consistently appeared near the top lists of “most-loved books” among literary scholars and the reading public for decades and is one of the most popular novels in English literature.
Alice Walker, The Color Purple
The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by Alice Walker, which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. The story focuses on the life of black women in the southern United States in the 1930s. The novel has been a consistent target of censorship and sits on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 most frequently challenged books because of the explicit content.
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre was written in 1847 and follows the experiences of the titular heroine throughout her growth to adulthood and budding romance. The novel revolutionized prose fiction by being the first to focus on its protagonist’s moral and spiritual development through a first-person perspective.
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937. The novel is considered a classic Harlem Renaissance work. Hurston explores protagonist Janie Crawford’s life as she develops from a teenager to a full-grown woman in Florida in the early twentieth century. The novel was initially poorly received but is now considered one of the most influential works of African-American and women’s literature, and TIME included the novel in its list of the 100 best English language novels since 1923.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar is the only novel Sylvia Plath wrote in her short life. It’s considered semi-autobiographical, because the protagonist’s descent into mental illness parallels Plath’s own experiences. Plath committed suicide only a month after the novel’s publication.
bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
I added this book to the list because 1) I love bell hooks, and 2) I think this is a book that every woman (and human!) should read. Combining personal anecdotes, psychology, and philosophical ideas, hooks discusses a different aspect of romantic love in each chapter, with the ultimate goal of making us more open to giving and receiving love. In All About Love: New Visions, hooks presents a view of love in modern society that goes unmatched by any other writer.
Daniella Snyder is a graduate student in the English department and a graduate assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library. This week, she’s been catching up on movies, TV, and books, including the book Followers by Megan Angelo, the Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere, and the movie Troop Zero.
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