From mystical hallways, to revolutionaries toppling institutions, to a witty cat navigating its life, literature is rich with diverse experiences, perspectives and narratives from women. In honor of Women’s History Month in March, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books by women from the past couple of years in various genres.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Imagine being stuck in a constantly changing labyrinthine—and that’s the only thing you’ve ever known in your life. Piranesi follows a man who lives in an eccentric maze-like world with little to no human contact and eventually realizes something insidious behind the reason he lives his life this way.
With themes such as identity, friendship and otherness, Clarke did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the setting with elements of magical realism and how the main character’s life revolves around it. Read my full review here.
Babel by R.F. Kuang
The dark academia genre has taken book communities by storm, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. Combining historical fiction and fantastical elements, the novel focuses on Robin, an orphan shipped away from Canton to London by Professor Lowell, who is set to study at the Oxford University’s Royal Institute of Translation.
As he learns that England hinges on a magical system of translation and languages in order to further British Imperialism, Robin undergoes a dilemma: is institutional reform through pacifist means enough to dismantle oppression?
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Due to the stigma of being in a queer relationship, many issues such as domestic abuse often get sweeped under the rug. Carmen Maria Machado addresses this in her memoir and talks about the narratives of queer abuse, detailing her own account as well as historical narratives in the footnotes of the book.
Poignant and powerful, Machado plays with structure and language innovatively to tell her story while informing her readers of the varying power dynamics at play when it comes to abuse.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Cats are often known to be loveable yet cheeky, nonchalant creatures—and what better way to get inside their head than by reading a book from a cat’s perspective? In this novel, Satoru and his cat Nana go on a seemingly random trip where they meet various people Satoru knows.
The little and mundane interactions involving Nana are hilarious and heartwarming, but readers beware, this book just might turn on the waterworks for you!
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Gothic novels often focus on the psychological and supernatural elements, dispersing them in an enclosed, claustrophobic setting. Moreno-Garcia does this craftfully by intertwining the horrors of colonialism and those of the diabolical entities revealed.
Noemi, an outspoken and determined woman, aims to help her cousin Catalina who now lives at the High Place with the eccentric Doyle family. Slow paced and foreboding, this novel peels off the layers of the High Place that shows Noemi its true foundation. You can read my full review here.
Of course, I have many other iconic favorite books written by women—I could probably make this blog post a hundred pages long, and there remains to be amazing literature that I’ve yet to consume.
What are some of your recent favorite books written by women?
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3 thoughts on “5 of my favorite books by women”
I really want to read Mexican Gothic sometime! I have only heard good things about it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
You definitely should! Totally worth the hype 😊
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