Happy Women’s Day! In celebration of the many women shaping literature as we know and love it, I thought I’d celebrate some of my favorite female authors with this list today. Obviously, it’s hard to narrow it down, because so many of my favorite authors are women, but I can recommend all of these books from the bottom of my heart. I will be focusing on books that I’m not currently seeing everywhere, which is why you won’t find series like Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab or The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer on this list, but know that I love those just as much. Hope you find something you like!
The Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor is one of the most imaginative authors I’ve read. I originally found this, because it was recommended by John Green in a video. I think he pitched it as something like “girl who travels through space to attend university” (paraphrased), which sounded pretty awesome to me. Now I think his description is underselling the work, but I also find it hard to come up with a good one myself, because you really just have to read this one for yourself. As far as I can tell, it’s a trilogy of novellas (according to goodreads, the last one is set to be released this September), so it’s not a great time commitment, but there’s enough worldbuilding for longer books. I feel like this book is more relevant to my Cross-Cultural Communications degree than most of the academic texts I read (don’t tell my lecturers). I’ve seen a few authors mention these novellas, but I haven’t seen them on many book blogs, so get reading, people!
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
I’m pretty sure I’ve recommended this one before, but with good reason. I randomly found it in a hostel book exchange and picked it without knowing anything about the contents, because the title spoke to me (which is probably not a good thing). Nervous Conditions is set in the 1960s and tells the coming of age story of Tambu. What I liked most about this book is that it focuses not only on Tambu, but on the women in her community and how her relationships with them shape her growing up.
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
This is another one I’ve recommended before, but it never hurts to do it again. Bitterblue is a young woman, who inherits a kingdom from her tyrant father and has to figure out how to rule it in the interest of her people. I mean come on, that’s pretty amazing, right? It’s a coming of age story in an epic setting, but it’s also about the collective trauma of a people, and a ruler, who is really not equipped to deal with it. Bitterblue needs to find the tools and resources to grow into her role, so she can become a good queen, which is definitely a continuing process. I also love how it handles Bitterblue’s first romance, and the fact that it doesn’t take up the majority of the book. This is technically the third in a series (and the first two books are absolutely worth reading), but I think it could probably be read as a standalone as well.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
This book will forever get props for suprising me even though I knew there was a twist coming up. It’s the perfect example of an unreliable narrator, and I can heartily recommend it. It’s dark and clever, and I don’t really want to say much more about it, so I don’t spoil it. You should definitely find out for yourself though, so if the blurb sounds at all intriguing, and if you like morally ambiguous characters and conmen (and women) do give it a try!
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
This came recommended by the lovely Cait, and I’m happy I read it. My favorite thing about this book is how it makes crime seem extremely cool in the beginning only to deconstruct that idea piece by horrible piece. It’s charmingly ruthless, and there are a few surprises I really liked. I personally thought some parts were a little far-fetched, and I liked the second half less than the first, but it’s incredibly entertaining all throughout, so do give it a read.