A selection of brilliant voices from around the world – unputdownable novels that can take you worlds away without leaving your favourite reading spot or doing too much damage to your bank balance.
Anyone who has been asked to give book recommendations knows how excruciating it is to leave some books out of the list, but thankfully, there was a word limit that helped make this list concise, not the Concise Oxford Dictionary! The below selection is inspired by a desire to offer different points of view, different stories, emotions, and styles of writing from all over the world, and from female voices that are, unfortunately, often less prominent than male voices. Hope you enjoy all or some of these amazing novels; they are
“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.”Harper Lee
great companions to any holiday, evenings in the garden, or stolen bits of time from family, partners and general adulting duties.
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quick, brilliant and also optimistic read from one of the most gifted novelists of our time. Her Ted Talk, '
all be feminist’, took the world by storm and this is a variation on the subject. She’s writing to her friend that’s just had a baby girl and in the form of a letter, she gives her advice on how to raise a girl and, to us, a powerful feminist manifesto.The House of Spirits, by Isabel AllendeSome critics may say the master of magical realism is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but having appreciated both, I think Isabel Allende does it better. This book, about a quirky Chilean family, that spans throughout the 20th century, through wars and revolutions, is a brilliant example of writing. Once it has you gripped it won’t let you go.The Summer Book, by Tove JanssonA little token of a book. Quick to read, hard to forget. Tove Jansson, the woman who created the Moomins, also wrote eight novels for adults. This is one of her most famous pieces and once read, it is easy to see why.The Break, by Marian KeyesA fun, fast read from one of the most hilarious voices of our generation. She tackles important themes with a light heart and a light pen. It's the story of a woman coping with change, family, work and a husband trying to find himself. Circe, by Madeline MillerIt takes Madeline Miller years and many drafts to write a novel, and usually the result is next to perfect. With her new
oeuvre she retells the story of Circe (of Odyssey and Aeneid fame) from her point of view, narrating myths that have always only been told from a male perspective and now live again through the eyes of this ridiculously talented American writer.My Brilliant Friend, by Elena FerranteFirst of the Neapolitan Novels series,
My Brilliant Friend is a masterwork in fiction writing. Starting as a bildungsroman, a story of growing up and becoming an adult, it develops into an epic story about families, friendship, decisions, corruption, love and betrayal, set in one of the most degraded, poor and dangerous areas of Italy. HBO is also developing a TV adaption, so watch out, as it could be the next Game of Thrones!Books that didn’t make the cut but could inspire further reading:The Song of Achilles, Madeline MillerThe Secret History, Donna TarttThe God of Small Things, Arundhati RoyOlive Kitteridge, Elizabeth StroutEmma, Jane AustenAmericanah, Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieWhite Teeth, Zadie SmithHome Fire, Kamila ShamsieThe Female Persuasion, Meg WolitzerA Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
______________________________About Pam Ruffo
Project Editor for the International Curriculum at Pearson. When writing this, her phone changed she reads a lot to she runs a lot; she wishes the latter were true.