Asking a book lover to choose their favourite book is a bit like asking a mother to pick her favourite child. Other than Jane Eyre, I don’t think I have a favourite book as such. However, as part of #fairylitjuly on Instagram, Instagrammer @fairylitbooks challenged us to take a photograph of our Top 5 Books for July 5th so I was faced with the challenge of trying to narrow it down. There are so many books that I adore that haven’t made this list but I went with my gut and chose my five favourite books on this day. It’ll probably change again by next week. It just so happens that all of these books are written by women and have incredible messages about what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
1. Room by Emma Donoghue
Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.
I reviewed this book a few weeks ago. You can read that here. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly. This novel’s little narrator is one of the most endearing characters I have ever come across and it deals with a highly sensitive and traumatic topic in such a beautiful and poignant manner.
2. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
So here is the quick way of working out if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.
a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.
This is the book that made me a feminist. Caitlin Moran is one of my biggest inspirations as a writer and, frankly, as a person. If you aren’t sure about gender studies/politics and are weary of the vast amount of feminist writing there is, please start here. It is hilarious, unpretentious and magical!
3. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.
I cannot rave about The Miniaturist and Jessie Burton more. My friend recommended this book to me a while ago and I am forever indebted to that friend as a result. Burton’s seventeenth century Amsterdam world is tantalising and unforgettable. You will have a serious book hangover after reading this stunning magical novel.
4. Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann
Because the princess was a true princess, she preferred death to allowing herself be made the bride of an old king.
This book formed the basis of my dissertation on Narrative and Gender and it is one of those books that will change your perspective on writing and on life in general. Bachmann and her narrator, Ich, are crazy. They play with all of your expectations but leave you gasping for more after you’ve closed the book for good.
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
I could never make a Favourite Book list without including this. I reserve a special place in my heart for untameable Jane and dark, brooding Rochester. Brontë was not only a writer of her time but a writer that exists outside the realms of time. Jane Eyre will always be a beautiful and inspiring tale of self-discovery which every young woman must read. If you love Jane Eyre too, I recommend checking out my review of Classic Bibliophile Literary Designs.