Ten MORE Books Every Woman Should Read

by Ali on September 13, 2011

in Curvy Pop

Back in December, I gave you a list of ten books I think that every woman should read. It is, to date, the most successful piece of writing I have ever done on the internet. I still get comments on it; I still get emails about it; I still mentally add books to the list almost every single day. I am A READER. Thanks in part to a lengthy subway commute, I devour at least a book a week, usually two, except these darn Harry Potter books are really slowing me down lately. I just don’t love them they way I love a good piece of historical fiction or a great character-driven novel.

I knew that the original list was going to need at least a companion piece (or two..or three) so I am back today to give you ten more books that I think every woman should read. There’s a bit of everything here—classics, contemporary, historical. I love them all, and they have all changed me in some way, and continue to change me to this day. They made me think; they made me feel.

1. Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

franny and zooey

2. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee


3. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers

heartisalonely hunter

4. The Red Tent- Anita Diamant

red tent

5. Circle of Friends - Maeve Binchy

circle of friends

6. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan

joy luck club

7. The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff


8. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand


9. The Invisible Bridge – Julie Orringer

invisible bridge

10. One Day – David Nicholls


Ali Martell, is the managing editor of Canada’s Premier Parenting Site, The Yummy Mummy Club. She is also a writer, an ellipticizer, a mother, a wife, a lion-tamer, a diet coke quitter, a juggler, a getter-of-drinks. She is Canada’s Emma Pillsbury and her three children tell her that she is a DOF (destroyer of fun). She is learning to use her camera better and love her thighs more. You can read more from Ali on her blog, Cheaper Than Therapy.

EG September 13, 2011 at 9:29 am

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Should be the companion book to Catcher in the Rye.

amy September 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm


erin margolin September 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Bell Jar
The Hours
Loving Frank

p.s. Snow FLower & Secret Fan is one of my favorites ever. About to start on the Guersney/Potato Peel Society soon!

Ali September 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

The Soldier’s Wife is another book that takes place during WWII on Guernsey. I liked it better than the potato peel one!

Daisy September 13, 2011 at 9:37 am

So many great suggestions on here! I’d add South of Broad & Rain of Gold to the list – such wonderful reads.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] September 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

I know you know this, but I stand firmly behind my vote for The Red Tent to be on every Must-Read list.

Andi September 13, 2011 at 11:11 am

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
The Long Song – Andrea Levy

and I am also casting my vote for The Red Tent. It was so much more than I was expecting, and it stuck with me for weeks afterward!

Ali September 13, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I just downloaded The Paris Wife. I have heard mixed reviews. I’m going to give it a shot, though!

Andi September 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I really enjoyed it! I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve never read much of Hemingway’s work, nor did I really have any sense of who he was as a person, other than the late-in-life, larger-than-life persona. This book gave me a glimpse into his early years, before the fame changed him. I also read somewhere that in his later years, he said that he would rather have died than to ever have fallen in love with anyone but Hadley (his first wife). Knowing that, and discovering Ernest from Hadley’s point of view, the book was incredibly bittersweet. I hope you enjoy it too!

Elizabeth September 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I have to give a loud shout out to The Book Thief. That was amazing.

Amanda September 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I loved “One Day”! In movie formed I loved it as well, but dont go see it without reading it first. “The Book Thief”, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” are also great add ons to this list! Just read recently “The Glass Castle”, that was another good one. This list came at a perfect time, I’ve got a trip coming up and need some reading material! Thanks!! :)

Ali September 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter almost made this list. I loved that book!

Katie September 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm

oh I agree that The Bell Jar is a must. Also Little Women! And anything by Toni Morrison. And Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone is by FAR the best portrayal of a woman written by a man that I have seen in a LONG time.

Dawn September 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

to the lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan

Quart September 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm

“We the Living” is my favorite by Ayn Rand. I also LOVE “Like Water For Chocolate” for women. And maybe “Anna Karenina.” Or “Little Women.”

bellawriter September 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Yay! You included Circle of Friends!! One of Maeve Binchy’s best, though I am also very partial to her Light a Penny Candle. Powerful stuff. She is one of my biggest writing influences. And hero’s.
I also recently read “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom and I was blown away. If you liked “The Help” with it’s alternative humourous and humbling views on segregation, the kitchen house will take you back many years before that and simply blow your mind.
And of course you should all read my books “Autumn Violets” and “Winter Jasmine”. LOL.

CurvyCdn September 14, 2011 at 12:12 am

I have to second Dawn’s suggestion of To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I would also recommend A Room Of One’s Own by the same author.

The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Awakening – Kate Chopin
Emma, Northanger Abbey, or Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Handmaiden’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Maya Angelou’s poetry

Dawn September 14, 2011 at 9:19 am

I am thinking every woman needs to read Virginia Woolf – all of her works. They are such a direct line into so many things that play through my mind as a Mother, as a writer, as a woman, as a wife. All so elegantly and perfectly expressed.

My Antonia by Wila Cather

and a seconding of Kate Chopin. I may have to break out my copy and have a re-read…..

Ali September 14, 2011 at 9:22 am


I may have to do a third post now.

There are just so, so, so many good ones.

jess September 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

I am always looking for new books to enrich my soul. One that I would suggest is “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden. Written by a man but explores the depth of a woman soul from childhood to old age. I love it!!

Tara@DoTheseKidsMakeMeLookCrazy? September 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I loved Gone With the Wind; I think I’ve read it twice.

Laine September 21, 2011 at 4:07 am

Oh man so many of these take me back to my women’s studies days! Where did that girl go? I must go unpack my totes of books I don’t have room for.
Some that I would add off the top of my head:
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (actually anything by her is great)
Anything by Tom Robbins – I am actually thinking of going back and re-reading these now that I’m a woman and not 16.
We Were the Mulvaney’s by Joyce Carol Oats – heartbreaking
Make another list!!

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