Feminista!’s List of 100 Best Works by Women Writers

I did so much better with the BBC top 100 list that included all those children’s books and titles by dead white men we were required to read in school. I’d only read 18 of the 100 best works by women. So, I’ve challenged myself to read all 100, including rereading the ones I’d read before. So I’ve marked the ones I’d read before and I’ll label the ones as I go back through, plus I’ll  review them as I go. Take the book challenge with me. Let me know what you’re reading and how you like it.

The embarassingly few books I’ve already read are bolded; the handful-plus of those I’m interested in reading are italicized. I’ve honestly never even heard of several of the remaining, though, and might be interested if I knew more about them, so recommendations are welcomed.

No promises on when I’ll get around to reading any of them, much less reviewing, but whenever I make a list of my favorite books, Harper Lee and Jessica Rydill are the only consistent female presences on them and that’s something I’d like to rectify.

NOTES: I’ve also enjoyed Sue Grafton and Charlaine Harris’ books, though neither have books I’d put on a Best Ever list; Jessica Abel’s La Perdida remains one of my all-time favorites, but this list doesn’t appear to include graphic novels. Not a single Octavia Butler book? (I haven’t read her, but have heard raves from people I greatly respect.) Where is Esmeralda Santiago’s When I Was Puerto Rican?

1. Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina, 1992
2. Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969
3. Atwood, Margaret. Cat’s Eye, 1988
4. Bainbridge, Beryl. The Bottle Factory Outing, 1974
5. Bambara, Toni Cade. Gorilla, My Love, 1992
6. Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood, 1937
7. Barker, Pat. Regeneration, 1992
8. Brookner, Anita. Hotel du Lac, 1984
9. Brown, Rita Mae. Rubyfruit Jungle, 1973
10. Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth, 1931
11. Byatt, A.S. Possession: A Romance, 1990
12. Carter, Angela. Nights at the Circus, 1984
13. Castillo, Ana. So Far From God, 1993
14. Cather, Willa. My Antonia, 1918
15. Chopin, Kate. The Awakening, 1900
16. Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street, 1984
17. Compton-Burnett, Ivy. Elders and Betters, 1944
18. Desai, Anita. Clear Light of Day, 1980
19. Dinesen, Isak. Out of Africa, 1938
20. Doerr, Harriet. Stones for Ibarra, 1984
21. Drabble, Margaret. The Radiant Way, 1987
22. DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca, 1938
23. Emecheta, Buchi. Second Class Citizen, 1974
24. Erdrich, Louise. Tracks: A Novel, 1988
25. Fitzgerald, Penelope. At Freddie’s, 1985
26. Flagg, Fannie. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, 1987
27. Frame, Janet. Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room, 1969
28. French, Marilyn. The Women’s Room, 1977
29. Goldstein, Rebecca. The Mind-Body Problem: A Novel, 1983
30. Gordimer, Nadine. July’s People, 1981
31. Gordon, Mary. The Rest of Life, 1993
32. Hall, Radclyffe. The Well of Loneliness, 1928
33. Head, Bessie. When Rain Clouds Gather, 1968
34. Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1955
35. Hobhouse, Janet. The Furies, 1993
36. Hulme, Keri. The Bone People, 1983
37. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937
38. Jackson, Shirley. The Haunting of Hill House, 1959
39. Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer. Heat and Dust, 1975
40. Jong, Erica. Fear of Flying, 1973
41. Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy, 1990
42. Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees, 1988
43. Kingston, Maxine Hong. Tripmaster Monkey, 1989
44. Kogawa, Joy. Obasan, 1981
45. Laurence, Margaret. The Fire-Dwellers, 1969
46. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960 – (One of my absolute all-time favorite books, and also an excellent movie.)
47. Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook, 1962
48. Lively, Penelope. Moon Tiger, 1987
49. Loos, Anita. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1925
50. McCarthy, Mary. The Group, 1963
51. McCullers, Carson. Ballad of the Sad Cafe, 1951
52. McMillan, Terry. Mama, 1987
53. Manning, Olivia. The Balkan Trilogy, 1981
54. Miller, Isabel. Patience and Sarah, 1969
55. Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind, 1936
56. Moore, Lorrie. Anagrams: A Novel, 1986
57. Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel, 1987
58. Mukherjee, Bharati. Wife, 1975
59. Munro, Alice. Lives of Girls and Women, 1971
60. Murdoch, Iris. A Severed Head, 1961
61. Oates, Joyce Carol. You Must Remember This, 1987
62. O’Brien, Edna. House of Splendid Isolation, 1994
63. O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find, 1955
64. Olsen, Tillie. Tell Me a Riddle, 1979
65. Paley, Grace. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, 1974
66. Parker, Dorothy. The Collected Dorothy Parker, 1973
67. Phillips, Jayne Anne. Black Tickets, 1979
68. Piercy, Marge. Braided Lives, 1982
69. Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar, 1963
70. Porter, Katharine Anne. Ship of Fools, 1962
71. Powell, Dawn. The Golden Spur, 1962
72. Proulx, E. Annie. The Shipping News, 1993
73. Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead, 1943
74. Renault, Mary. The King Must Die, 1958
75. Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966
76. Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping, 1980
77. Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things, 1997
78. Sarton, May. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, 1965
79. Shields, Carol. The Stone Diaries, 1994
80. Shreve, Anita. The Weight of Water, 1997
81. Silko, Leslie Marmon. Almanac of the Dead, 1991
82. Simpson, Mona. Anywhere But Here, 1986
83. Smart, Elizabeth. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, 1966
84. Smiley, Jane. The Age of Grief, 1987
85. Sontag, Susan. The Volcano Lover, 1992
86. Spark, Muriel. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1961
87. Stead, Christina. The Man Who Loved Children, 1965
88. Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives, 1909
89. Taylor, Elizabeth. Angel, 1957
90. Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, 1989
91. Tyler, Anne. If Morning Ever Comes, 1964
92. Urquhart, Jane. Away, 1993
93. Walker, Alice. The Color Purple, 1982
94. Weldon, Fay. The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, 1983
95. Welty, Eudora. Selected Stories, 1943
96. West, Rebecca. The Return of the Soldier, 1918
97. Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome, 1911
98. White, Antonia. Frost in May, 1933
99. Winterson, Jeannette. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, 1985
100. Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway, 1925

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