Inspirational Books Written By Women
In this selection of inspirational books, I’ve decided to focus exclusively on novels and books written by women.
There isn’t really any particular reason that I’ve chosen female authors, except for the fact that I really connected with these books. I think that being female has its own unique challenges, which these writers have illustrated perfectly. With all of these examples, I was really able to get into the head of the character, and imagine going through their setbacks and turmoil myself. Not only that, but I definitely learned something from each of these authors, which I will treasure for a lifetime – I think this is rare to find in literature.
I do think that some people have preconceptions that female authors can only produce “chick lit” or steamy romance novels. However, this selection will hopefully convince you that there are strong female writers out there. All of these books are superbly written, with such a strong and clear message, that you can’t help but feel uplifted and inspired.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is the first in a series of autobiographical novels by Maya Angelou, and focuses on her childhood, growing up in the poverty-stricken deep south. Raped by an older man at the age of eight, falling pregnant as a teenager and dealing with the feeling that she has been abandoned by her parents, Maya goes through more turmoil in her childhood than most of us do in our entire lives. This is all set against a backdrop of racial tensions and prejudice in 1930s America. Despite all of these setbacks, Maya finds a love of literature and a love of herself. Her strength to overcome is a true inspiration.
“Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou
#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso
I’ve read plenty of business manuals and success stories, and I think a lot of them tend to feel very stuffy, and corporate, and as though they are throwing a whole load of buzzwords and jargon at you.
With #Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso turns this completely on its head. She was a rebel teenager, which immediately appealed to me. But instead of changing her lifestyle to fit in, she embraced everything that was unique about her and threw it into her business. And her multi-million dollar company Nasty Gal was born.
Whether you’re thinking of starting up a business, or not, this is a great read.
“No matter where you are in life, you’ll save a lot of time by not worrying too much about what other people think about you. The earlier in your life that you can learn that, the easier the rest of it will be.” – Sophia Amoruso
Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath’s only novel, The Bell Jar, is a semi-autobiographical tale of a woman descending into insanity as she struggles to cope with the pressures of society.
Esther is clever, beautiful and talented, however her future is not clearly defined for her. In 1950s America, her position in society is inextricably linked to her choice of husband (or lack of.) Will she marry her sweetheart and become a typical housewife, or go down the academic route and end up an old maid? Esther sees these female roles as mutually exclusive, where if she chooses one, she must abandon all other options. Whereas all Esther wants from life is to be herself, and write poetry. She feels so overwhelmed at having to choose one of these pre-defined female roles that she attempts suicide.
“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.” – Sylvia Plath
Blackout – Sarah Hepola
This is an essential read for anyone who believes you need alcohol in order to be yourself, and to have a good time.
Blackout: Remembering the things I drank to forget deals with Sarah Hepola’s journey from a fun party girl, at the height of her career, to a sober lifestyle where she has to confront her own insecurities. This one particularly resonated with me, as I’ve always relied on alcohol to get myself through social situations, and would feel a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) if I didn’t spend the weekend drinking. I think in western culture (especially in Scotland!) it is often frowned upon and people are considered boring if they aren’t drinking and partying at weekends.
It is only in recent months since I’ve become pregnant, that I’ve realised I don’t really need alcohol to give me the confidence to go out there and do the things I want to do. Giving up alcohol has been a revelation for me and I think reading this book will offer a new perspective.
“People who quit drinking become terrified they will lose their power… Alcohol is one hell of a pitchman, and perhaps his greatest lie is convincing us we need him, even as he tears us apart.” – Sarah Hepola
Anne Frank – Diary of a Young Girl
Most people will already be familiar with the story of Anne Frank – a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam during the war. However, when faced with such a bleak and desperate situation, Anne’s diary is uplifting and is a great testament to the human spirit.
The Diary of a Young Girl offers a unique perspective on life, and the war, as Anne speaks philosophically about her situation and her future. You can’t help but feel inspired by this young girl’s resilience, maturity, and positive outlook on life.
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” – Anne Frank
As a writer, I’m always looking for new inspirational books to get my hands on, so I would love to hear your own recommendations – please let me know in the comments below
If you’re feeling inspired by my choices and want to read them for yourself – they are all available on Amazon via these links.
Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Sophia Amoruso – #Girlboss
Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
Sarah Hepola – Blackout: Remembering the things I drank to forget
Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl
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