News for Tuesday 7 August is taken from Women’s Views on News
Like many, I enjoy reading, but sometimes find it hard to track down a good book.
After a while, the book charts and the summer reading lists all start to look the same – murder mysteries, family dramas, sagas, chick lit and historical fiction, but not much else.
Unless you count the latest 50 Shades of Grey frenzy, but that rant is for another day!
So I’ve compiled a reading list of books that I think WVoN readers will enjoy. There is a mix of memoirs, autobiography and fiction, but with one thing in common – they are all about women who defy convention and have the boldness and audacity not to be afraid to stand out.
The Kabul Beauty School: The Art of Friendship and Freedom – Debbie Rodriguez
This book follows the journey of American Debbie Rodriguez as she travels to Kabul and sets up a beauty training school for Afghan women. Detailing the stories of the women she meets in Kabul, Rodriguez takes the reader into the lives of Afghan women post-Taliban. Hair dressing and beauty salons were banned under the regime. Today they are two of the few professions which give women independence and a real sense of freedom. In the most dangerous country in the world, Rodriguez’s account is inspirational and hopeful, and will leave part of your heart in Afghanistan.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell
O’Farrell examines what it is to be an unconventional young woman in 1930s Edinburgh and the 21st century in this thought provoking read. Esme Lennox was sent to an asylum at the age of sixteen for being unruly; refuseing to participate in etiquette and behaviour which was expected of a young woman and daring to declare that she would like to stay on at school, and not get married. Sixty years after she was incarcerated, a young woman, Iris Lockheart, receives a letter stating that her great-aunt Esme (whom she had never heard of) was about to be released. In the midst of her busy life running a vintage clothes shop and having various affairs, the two women’s lives collide . O’Farrell’s novel is well-researched and paints a thought provoking picture of what it is to be a woman challenging the boundaries of her gender in 1930s Britain.
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Superbly written, Stockett’s novel The Help is set during the civil rights era in the southern states of the US, when racism was rife. It is told from the point of view of the three main characters – Skeeter, a white aspiring journalist; Abileen, a black maid who has spent her life raising white children and who recently lost her only son; and Minny, a sassy- mouthed maid with a reputation. The novel is about female friendship, empowerment, and the importance of women telling their stories, in the face of discrimination and in the risk of losing it all. The book has been made into a movie which I strongly recommend, you can watch the trailer here (it does however give away a few spoilers).
The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende
Allende’s novel follows the lives of three generations of headstrong Chilean women leading up to and during the Chilean revolution. Named as one of the most prolific female writers of the Latin American literary boom, Allende is an astounding storyteller and weaves magic into the various elements of this novel, from the way domestic space is transformed into a magical female space, and how women are treated in a period of political turmoil and violence. A great novel that will leave you wanting to read much more of Allende’s work.
If you have anything to add to our summer reads, we’d love to hear your suggestions so please comment and we will add them to this page.
- Book Review: Island Beneath The Sea by Isabel Allende (chalkthesun.wordpress.com)
- Heartwarming and Controversial, Even Now (middayinspiration.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (eatchocolate.wordpress.com)