I learned to read at an unusually early age and I haven’t stopped since. There are always piles of books on my nightstand and a never-ending book list on my phone. For a book nerd like me, the one good thing about our current situation is that it has given me the much needed, uninterrupted time I crave to simply sit and read, guilt-free.
I’m a non-discriminatory reader, meaning depending on my mood, you are as likely to find me immersed in one of my favorite classics as you are to find me laughing over a light, beach read. So when I was asked to name five books every woman should read, I panicked: ONLY FIVE? So, when creating this list, I took into account our current global situation, coupled with this mid-life stage I’m in, and then went through some of the titles I’ve enjoyed over the years that best speak to those topics. I invite you to grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and let these stories inspire you too.
1. Untamed by Glennon Melton
I heard Melton speak at a local luncheon several years ago before she was just everywhere. I just finished her latest book, “Untamed,” and was so moved by her evolution and how she, like so many of us, had been defined by what we are“supposed” to be rather than what we were born to be. With her raw realness and humor, Melton is one of the most relatable authors and women out there today.
2. A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Let’s start with Lindbergh herself. This award-winning author was the first woman in America to earn a first-class glider pilot’s license in 1930, and she followed that up by becoming the first woman to win the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal in 1934 for her aviation and exploration adventures. Oh—and she was raising five children. Although she penned several books, this one touches the soul in a way that few books can. Maybe it’s because I am a beach lover and her shell metaphors resonate with me on a deeper level. Maybe it’s because the insight the author offers into the struggles women face to find stillness and be present in every one of life’s circumstances is as relevant today as when she wrote it in the 1950s. Whatever the reason---it is a true treasure, and I find a new gem within its pages every time I pick it up.
3. Room by Emma Donoghue
Under the current circumstances, this story of a woman and her five-year-old son living in a 12-foot square room that they cannot leave, seems fitting. Told from the little boy’s perspective, it depicts a woman held hostage who is doing her best to keep her son entertained, educated, healthy, and happy while trying to devise a plan to escape from the man who has been holding her captive for seven years. As intense as their situation is, adjusting to life back in the real world proves to be equally challenging.
4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
If you haven’t already read this best-selling debut novel from Delia Owns yet, now is a good time to pick it up. It is a coming-of-age story about an abandoned child living a relatively isolated existence in the marshes of North Carolina who relies on her own strength and ingenuity to create her own private world. The author’s descriptions of nature alone make this book a must-read.
5. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I love a good story about finding and forgiving yourself. I love it even more when it’s based on a true story. This outstanding book checks all the boxes. After her mother’s death, Strayed finds herself spinning out of control. With her life in shambles, this determined young woman laces up her hiking boots and sets off on an 1100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. This story follows her every painful, rewarding, and healing step on this long journey back to herself.
Bonny Osterhage is a contributing writer for the Bonafide blog. For this post, Bonny was asked to list and summarize her top five favorite books involving leading ladies. This piece is written from her point of view and the selection of books outlined here includes her expressed written opinion.