A place for women & men to amuse, refine & educate through civil conversation
Is there a list you carry in your head of books every young woman (or older woman) should at least try to read? I can think of a few books I'd want my daughter to at least know about, even if she wasn't inclined to read them...I'm thinking stories that inspire or revolt, those that tell you something about growing or show you how not to grow.
In no particular order, this would be the first ten on my pester list:
10. Turn of the Screw
I'm sort of thinking about this because I'm going to be working with some teenagers for World Book Day in March. I just realised I never thought of a coming-of-age list for women specifically. I'd love to hear what everyone thinks of either my list or any better suggestions you have.
I've never read any Simone de Beauvoir but I've heard lots of recommendations... Any views?
I have only read Jane Eyre and Turn of the Screw on this list so far. I loved Jane Eyre and am going to read the prequel Wide Sargasso Sea by Jane Rhyse. It tells the tale of the mad woman Bertha in the attic before she went crazy. I AM EXCITED!
There's an interesting academic article that compares Jane and Bertha as two sides of the same coin in 'Madwoman in the Attic', really alters the way you read Jane Eyre.
If you like nineteenth century novels Madame Bovary is really worth getting hold of, I loved it!
I'm not sure what age range of teen your talking about. Each generation seems to grow up faster than the generation before, however, there are some book series that are near and dear to my heart that I read as a child into my teens and still read occasionally.
This can be an on-going discussion because I have more to post, there are so many!
I'm not sure of the age range either yet. I suspect it's on the 16+ side.
I think I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights at around 15 or 16. I didn't come to Hedda Gabler and Madame Bovary until I was in my twenties but they're both so profoundly teenagerish in their character that I could imagine they could be read on at least one level during the teenager years. Ditto Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and Rebecca is so focussed on a heroine with no self identity being continually compared to a more beautiful, charismatic woman that I can't think of a better premise for a story for teenage girls!
I love Secret Garden and Little Women. I haven't head of Little House in the Big Woods, so I'll definitely check that out.
All in good spirits!
I've a sneaking suspicion a lot of men feel the way you do. Of course a lot of women have similar hopes for marriage too. It seems modern life gets the art of marriage all muddled.
Is Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? really a book? It sounds like a punchline.
I don't really have an argument, but I think only after the age of 18 do women need to read different books than boys. That is, I don't advocate different reading lists for teen boys v. teen girls. So I'd start a list for teen girls with Gus's dad's list for boys and men, because it has most of the usual contemporary classics for adolescents. Maybe it needs some of these, IMO. (Outside of school, kids can read whatever age-appropriate literature they want. I'm just saying if I were in charge of adolescents' education, I wouldn't assign different books to boys than girls.)
After 18 and outside of school, I'm still uncomfortable with "should" and "must." Required reading for all adults is the instruction books and forms for income taxes, a daily newspaper or equivalent (though you don't have to read it daily), and the Bible. Then people "should" read what they like and what will make them happier and their lives better. Will the reading lists of men and women broadly be different? Likely. Will they necessarily be different? No. My boyfriend is reading 2 novels these days. If I weren't buried in reading for work, I'd be reading Caesar's Gallic Wars in Latin and a Greek philosopher that my boyfriend is also studying.
I just posted a blog on AoM about how a church I've visited several times is doing a men's study of the great theologian and bioethicist (before the term was coined) Francis Schaeffer, while the women's study is doing a woman author I've never heard of. If I were a member of the church, which is 3,000 miles away, I'd probably abstain from the women's study and be sad I can't study Schaeffer with like-minded people.
All that said, I applaud the suggestions here for their general intellectual rigor. This is in contrast to other lists, on supposedly the same theme, I've read that mix Austen with skin care books and the latest self-help nonsense.