As the summer draws to a close and the franticness of daily life restarts, we are already nostalgic for the days of reading on the beach.
This summer, I challenged myself to only read books written by women, and to buy the books when possible. I was on a mission to both support and enjoy great books by some truly talented ladies. As a way to wrap up the summer and highlight these books we assembled a list of the best books by women we read this summer!
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
I picked up this book on a whim while I waited for a flight home. The novel follows the intellectual and quiet Frances, who becomes involved with a married man and experiences the painful throws of passion, while simultaneously struggling with her own mental health, friendships, and physical health. The novel artfully explores non-monogamy and sexuality as it addresses women’s health issues through Frances’s silent struggle with endometriosis. The story is captivating, but the highlight of this novel is Frances’ voice, and the author, Sally Rooney’s, observant and delicate prose. The novel is Rooney’s debut, which makes it all the more impressive, and is definitely well worth a read!
Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager
This novel was also bought by me on a whim on a financially unwise yet totally necessary Barnes and Noble run. It explores the life of Emma Nash though her private blog as she navigates a harsh break-up (ghosted!) amongst other disastrous realities of life. The novel is poignant in a lot of ways, exploring the realities of coming out through her friend Faith, as well as the complexities of the mother-daughter dynamic through Emma and her single mother. However, perhaps the most exciting nuance of this book is how accurately it explores teenage sexuality. Seager artfully creates a real girl with real problems, desires, and flaws.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Our Chief Social Media Director Grace Halvorson describes this book as “a historical novel set in the 19th century following the life of Alma Whittaker whose father was a botanical explorer. She becomes the leading expert on moss and travels around the world looking to learn about moss and her dead husband. She is a badass who makes some mistakes in her personal relationships, but we get to follow her through her life and see how she handles it all. It is so beautifully written!” Barbara Kingsolver of the New York Times describes the novel as “a bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to the uncommonly patient minds.”
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Our final read of the summer comes from our Editor-in-Chief, Rachel A.G. Gilman. Rachel says the novel “explores a complicated family through four separate narratives of women of different generations. [She] loves that it has such a complex, intertwined plot that focuses on the struggles of matriarchy and sisterhood.” Lily King of the New York Times describes the novel as captivating, saying the reader will “want to stay with the Kellehers straight through to the end of August, until the sand cools, the sailboats disappear from their moorings, and every last secret has been pried up.”
Other good reads...
Some last minute recommendations are The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and Just Kids, a memoir by Patti Smith, recommended by Hannah Calistri, my fellow Copy Editor. Check out some of these amazing reads and support women writers! Happy reading!
Emma Ragusa is a Copy Editor for The Rational Creature.