9 books every woman should read


As a woman at university with a hectic schedule, it can often be hard to find a good book worth getting stuck into, so to help get you started here’s a list of nine books every woman should read in their lifetime. These novels all have strong female voices and positive messages of independence, so snuggle up with a cup of tea and get reading…


The Old Favourite…Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

As every English graduate and great grandma will tell you, Jane Eyre is one of the most epic love stories ever written. In the stormy landscape of northern moors and grand nineteenth century houses, this gothic novel follows the life of the plain but feisty Jane Eyre as she works as a governess at the haunting Thornfield Hall. It is here she meets and falls in love with the elusive master of the house Mr Rochester, whose past is clouded in secrecy and ultimately comes to the surface to threaten the relationships and lives of the couple. In addition to the enveloping romance of the story, Brontë combines horror, suspense and tragedy in order to create the ultimate love story that feels much more modern than it’s time.

Best quote: “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”


The Eye Opener…The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Not everybody can be a fan of love stories, and The Bell Jar is a book to read if you don’t want to hear about any romance at all. Set in the revolutionary era of New York in the 1960’s, the novel follows the turbulent summer of Esther Greenwood, a young woman with an opportune magazine internship, who is battling severe depression. As the novel is semi-autobiographic, Plath’s novel paints an honest portrait of the attitudes to mental illness in the sixties and the extremes of treatment that were believed to work. Although sometimes sad and shocking, this book gives an eye-opening insight into the realities of depression and the extremes it can lead to.

Best quote: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”


The Sad Truth…The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

Everybody knows the story of the young Jewish girl, who hid with her family away from the horrors of Nazi Germany and kept a diary to pass the time: however this classic novel needs to be read first hand in order to be appreciated fully. Filled with the honest thoughts of thirteen-year-old Anne from the family’s annex, the diary raises important questions concerning the war and society, and is a moving novel that will leave you thinking about the nature of human life.

Best quote: “Whoever is happy will make others happy.”


The Classic…Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Another heart-warming love story, Jane Austen’s classic novel tells the story of the Bennetts, a family of five girls whose mother and father are preoccupied with marrying them off to rich male suitors. The star of this satirical tale is the strong-willed and feisty eldest sister Elizabeth, whose fierce determination not to fall in love changes when she meets the quiet and brooding Mr. Darcy. In this comical and ironic love story, Austen challenges the nineteenth century society’s ideal of marriage for security and not for love, creating loveable female characters who don’t need to be saved by a knight in shining armour.

Best quote: “A single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”


The Feminist…The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Although not exactly classic literature, the Hunger Games trilogy stands alone in an endless wave of teen fiction, mostly due to the novel’s protagonist. Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a dystopian world where the annual ‘Hunger Games’ forces teenagers to fight to the death in a twisted reality-tv show. As the face of a rebellion against this regime, Katniss is a rare figure in a teenage novel: a strong, feminist young woman whose main priority is keeping her family alive and is not interested in romance or men in any way.

Best quote: “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favour!”


The Historical Novel…The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Set in Mississippi, in the heavily racial era of the 1960’s, this novel provides a shocking insight into the rich history of slavery in the South of America. The book follows the lives of three women; two black housemaids, Aibileen and Minny, and a white young writer, Skeeter, who takes it upon herself to write a book about the situation of black maids in Mississippi, using the two maids help. The stories that unfold- some touching and some horrifyingly cruel- provide an eye-opening, humorous and fascinating read that questions the segregated society and ideals of the sixties.

Best quote: “We all telling stories that need to be told”.


The Chick Lit…Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

You’ve seen the film, you’ve loved the film, everybody loved the film. Bridget Jones’s Diary is a phenomenon that stemmed from this novel and it’s easy to see why. Bridget is a single thirty-something woman with a lot to say about her life, from her fluctuating weight to her erratic mother and lacklustre job, Bridget shares her opinion with her trusted diary. In this hilarious and witty take on the classic Pride and Prejudice, Fielding creates unforgettable characters that are truly believable, so grab some ice cream and get ready to fall in love with the bumbling and sweet Mr Darcy all over again.

Best quote: “Happiness does not come from love, wealth, or power but the pursuit of attainable goals.”


The Thriller…Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

If you like a story that’s going to keep you up at night, Rebecca is the perfect novel. With its abundance of bleak landscape, creepy housekeeping staff and, let’s face it, a traditional horror movie house, du Maurier pushes the gothic genre to new heights with her masterpiece. After marrying a rich businessman, the young and naive Mrs de Winter moves to her husband’s mansion, the estate of Manderley. It is here that she discovers the estate is rich in secrecy and mystery, as her doting husband has been married before to the beautiful but deceased Rebecca, whom is ever present in the house’s walls and the minds of the staff. A brilliantly layered and suspense-filled novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Rebecca is timelessly haunting and filled with characters that aren’t easy to forget.

Best quote: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”


The Tear-Jerker…The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

As one of the most popular books of 2012, John Green’s novel broke the hearts of thousands of teenage girls across the world, however, it is not to be brushed off as a book solely for pre-teen girls. The story follows sixteen year old Hazel, a depressed cancer patient whose life is changed drastically when she meets fellow cancer survivor Augustus Waters. Hailed as one of the best teenage fiction novels of the decade, this heart-breaking story of love and the frailty of life provides an insight into the life of a cancer patient and will make you thankful for what you have.

Best quote: “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”


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