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Some books I like that you might like.


“If you name an important book there is a very good chance I haven’t read it. I’m not against important books. I hope to write one someday. But I read what I like, before I read what’s important. That’s who I am.” Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Here are some books that I like that you might too. They’re organised by mood – that’s not always how we choose to buy, but it’s always how, in the end, we choose what to actually read.

The links all go to Amazon so you can see more info. But since most of them are old you can easily get them secondhand or on Ebay. Or at the library!

Oh and they’re all by women.

You’re thinking about growing up.

You want happiness, warmth and comfort.

You want a new gang of female friends.

You want to feel gripped.

You want to cry.

You want something that feels modern, revolutionary.

You believe in art and love.

You want Downton Abbey in book form.

  • The Light Years (the first volume of the Cazalet Chronicle, read them all!) by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Now my question is: you know what I like, so what should I read next?

  1. Meg #

    Such a lovely list filled with smart, articulate, ballsy women. Thank you for putting it together!

    Have you ever read Kathryn Davis or Lisa Moore? Two women I think deserve more attention. Check out Davis’ “The Thin Place” and Moore’s “February.” The first is strange, otherworldly, beautiful; the latter is heart-wrenching, quiet.

    January 23, 2013
    • Jessica Stanley #

      Wow, I have never heard of Kathryn Davis – thank you.

      January 23, 2013
      • Elizabeth #

        Or read Davis’ “Labrador.” Her first novel- two sisters- an angel- a trip to Labrador. Luminous. And one of my favorite last lines of a novel ever ever. I knew Kathryn Davis once and she was lovely. She quite loved a polar bear named Hope at the zoo, and we used to go and visit her.

        January 26, 2013
  2. GG #

    YES! i’m in full swing of winter hibernation and happy to find so much goodness to get through, book-wise.

    i think my taste is a little more contemporary than yours (i.e: pop culture trash and whinging cat marnell types) so i’ll refrain from offering suggestions. but thanks for sharing this! i bought ‘big girls don’t cry’. :)


    January 23, 2013
    • Jessica Stanley #

      You’ll love it GG well I hope so xxx

      January 23, 2013
  3. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida

    January 23, 2013
    • Jessica Stanley #

      Just looked it up – sounds wonderful, thank you!

      January 23, 2013
  4. Linda Wilke #

    The post-birthday world by Lionel Shriver

    January 23, 2013
    • Jessica Stanley #

      I LOVE this book! I should have put it on the list in the crying section.

      January 23, 2013
  5. I’m always thankful for a book recommendation post.

    January 23, 2013
  6. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

    January 23, 2013
  7. Lani #

    I’m always hesitant to recommend books to people as they are such a personal thing, however, I think you might like Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, Jess.

    January 23, 2013
    • Sandy #

      I LOVE Laurie Colwin, who died way too young, and who seems to be forgotten now. Happy All the Time is a wonderful warm book.

      January 25, 2013
  8. Maddy #

    You will love All That I Am by Anna Funder. Won the ARIA prize in 2011. Seriously, one of the most gripping, fantastically written books I’ve ever read.

    January 23, 2013
    • Jessica Stanley #

      Yes! thank you! great suggestion I’m on it.

      January 23, 2013
  9. I love a recommended reading list, and I love it even more that it’s all female authors! Have you ever read anything by Lynn Coady? She’s a canadian author and Strange Heaven is a great place to start. It’s such a great story about being a teenager and small town life. So funny, too.

    January 23, 2013
  10. What a great list! Some of my all-time favourites on there. Have you read anything by Ali Smith? I’m a huge fan of her short stories, more so than of her novels (although ‘Like’ is absolutely amazing). ‘First Love and other stories’ is probably my favourite collection of hers.
    I also read a short story by Alice Adams the other day (‘The Islands’) – I hadn’t even heard of her before, shamefully. Now I can’t wait to read more.

    January 23, 2013
  11. I kind of want to hug you for this post. And I shall return with some book recommendations once my brain is less foggy. xx

    January 23, 2013
  12. Leah #

    I would put Monica Dickens’ autobiographical books into the “happiness, warmth and comfort” category. Granddaughter of the man himself, writes like your best friend chatting over coffee. I haven’t read any of her novels yet but word is they’re similar.

    January 24, 2013
  13. sarah #

    Hey Jessica, thanks for these great recommendations!

    Two books I read recently that I couldn’t put down are Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

    One of my all time favs is The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing!

    January 24, 2013
  14. Some books I love that you might love that aren’t on your list (alas, not all by women, but all worthy specimens):

    -In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje
    -The Submerged Cathedral by Charlotte Wood
    -The Far Cry by Emma Smith
    -Villette by Charlotte Brontë
    -The Heather Blazing by Colm Tóibín
    -The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
    -The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
    -Sixty Lights by Gail Jones
    -Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones
    -Once Upon the River Love by Andreï Makine
    -The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
    -On Beauty by Zadie Smith
    -Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
    -The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
    -The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    -Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    … xx

    January 24, 2013
  15. Oh and the Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing!

    January 24, 2013
  16. I’m quite into Nora Ephron (her essays more than her novel) and Julian Barnes at the moment. Mariane Pearl’s A Mighty Heart is also amazing.

    January 25, 2013
  17. Sandy #

    In the Gripping category, I’d strongly suggest Tana French’s books. Her first one won the Edgar Award. I’m finding it hard to describe them…suspenseful, surprising, character driven, magical somehow. You must read them in order…well, maybe not MUST, but I think they are better if you do.
    In the Woods
    The Likeness
    Faithful Place
    Broken Harbor

    Sadly, I just finished the most recent one, and now will have to wait a couple of looong years for the next one.

    January 25, 2013
  18. I suspect that you might enjoy Scat (very reminiscent of E.L. Konigsburg) and probably anything by Mavis Gallant (I read Varieties of Exile recently). I also really enjoyed the first 3/4 of Keith Richards’ “Life”. Great list!!

    January 25, 2013

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