Reading Inspiration for Galentine's Day

For those of you who haven’t heard, this week is the mid-February holiday dedicated to ladies celebrating their lady friends. Their galentines, if you will.

I wanted to celebrate Galentine’s Day this year by honoring some of the lady writers who’ve given us so much amazing literature over the years. While I have my own favorites, I’m also aware that my list is limited by the sheer number of books I haven’t read, by authors I’ve never heard of. So I reached out to my own girlfriends–some of the smartest people I know–to help me put together this list of real, strong women authors from all sorts of times and places and genres. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

I present to you, our literary galentines:

Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie

“We all need this boss feminist in our lives.” – Anna

You know her from: Americanah, her award-winning 2013 novel about race, identity, and young love. Check out her TED talk on storytelling when you get a chance.

Margaret Atwood

You know her from: any of her 15 novels or her countless poems, short stories, and essays. Most famously, The Handmaids Tale or Oryx and Crake.

Judy Blume

“The ultimate galentine of my youth.” – Kelsey

You know her from: the 30+ books that led you through the trials and tribulations of growing up. Notably, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge.

Libba Bray

You know her from: the Gemma Doyle TrilogyGoing Bovine, and The Diviners.

Charlotte Brontë

You know her from: high school English class. Special shoutout to Jane Eyre

Emma Donoghue

You know her from: Room, a bestselling about 5-year-old Jack, who has never left the room he shares with his mother.

Elena Ferrante

You know her from: her series of 4 Neapolitan Novels, beginning with My Brilliant Friend.

Roxane Gay

You know her from: her bestselling essay collection, Bad Feminist, along with short fiction and essays from all over the internet and her spectacular twitter account

Mary Beth Keane

You know her from: the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” list and her novel, Fever, about Typhoid Mary.

Barbara Kingsolver

You know her from: The Poisonwood BibleThe Bean Trees, and 10 other novels and poetry and essay collections.

Clarice Lispector

You know her from: actually, you might not. I didn’t, but now that I do, I can’t wait to read her. Lispector was a Brazilian author, considered the most important Jewish writer since Franz Kafka. She was also, according to The New Yorker, very glamourous.

Caitlin Moran

You know her from: her hilarious and true feminist manifestos, How to Build a Girland How to Be a Womanand her recently released essay collection, Moranifesto. If you’re unfamiliar, check out this Fresh Air piece from summer 2012.

Jodi Picoult

You know her from: probably My Sister’s Keeper, or any of her 22 other novels, all praised for their true to life characters. Jodi Picoult is one of those authors with the power to write a book that is equal parts heartbreaking and feelgood. Also, little known fact, she’s written 5 issues of Wonder Woman for DC Comics.

Rainbow Rowell

You know her from: her quirky and excellent young adult novels, including Eleanor and Parkand Fangirlwhich have nearly achieved John Green levels of fandom.

Cheryl Strayed

You know her from: her memoir, Wild, about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (or, at least, the movie version Reese Witherspoon released last year). You may also be familiar with her Rumpus advice column, “Dear Sugar” and the WBUR podcast it spawned.

Thanks to all my galentines for helping me make this list. I’m seriously amazed at the depth and breadth of amazing lady authors you all came up with.

What about you? Who’s your literary galentine?

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