First, I know this is going up later than usual. I got really good news today, so I spent the morning dancing around excitedly. I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’ll tell you about it when everything is final.
Second, I normally hate the phrase “chick lit” but I couldn’t think of a better way to describe these books. They’re female driven. They’re written by women, for women. They’re truly wonderful stories.
Eat Pray Love | Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve been slowly reading this book since April. I love it, but it’s slow for me. The book is broken up into three main sections (Eat, Pray, and Love or Italy, India, and Indonesia), and then into vignettes that can be as short as one paragraph or as long as 10 pages. The pace in the Italy portion is faster than India, and I’ve just started Indonesia, so I don’t really know its pacing yet. It’s excellent for a plane ride if you have one coming up, and it’s excellent for sitting on the couch with your family members while they argue about politics so you can pretend you’re in Italy, India, or Indonesia.
Confessions of a Shopaholic | Sophie Kinsella
The movie version of this is so different from the book. I read the book a couple of years ago, and I was honestly shocked at how different it was. I knew the book was set in London, but the differences were phenomenal. Honestly, I think I liked the book even better, and this is one of my favorite movies. If you loved the movie, you’ll still love the book. Becky Bloomwood is a shopaholic journalist in the early 2000s, who doesn’t even know how much her credit card debt is. Irresponsible though she can be, you’ll be rooting for Becky the whole time.
Dakota Born | Debbie Macomber
My mom loves Debbie Macomber. So eventually I was convinced to read one. I quite liked Dakota Born, which tells the story of Lindsay Snyder, an outsider in this small farming community in North Dakota where her grandmother lived. Lindsay became fed up with her life in a big southern city and took the opportunity to become a teacher in Buffalo Valley. But getting there, she discovers that the school is in need of so much more than a new teacher. Lindsay has a good heart, but she has a lot of learning to do herself. Normally, I hate books (and movies, to be fair) that push the “get out of the city, move out to the small town, find a husband and be content” message to women, but Lindsay is not the average protagonist of these stories, and she never loses her inner fire.
The Secret Life of Bees | Sue Monk Kidd
I LOVE this book. Oh my god. The story takes place in 1964 in South Carolina, and it doesn’t skim over the racism of the time. In fact, racism and sexism are at the core of the story, and they are intertwined. Lily Owens is 14, and she’s been motherless for most of her life. She’s been raised mostly by Rosaleen, an African-American maid and nanny, because her abusive father tends to ignore her. One day, Rosaleen tries to register to vote, and the confrontation that follows drives Lily to make her escape – but she wouldn’t leave Rosaleen. Lily and Rosaleen head for the small town where Lily’s mother was from, and they find her mother’s former nanny, and the secrets to Lily’s mother’s life. It’s beautiful, it’s incredible, and the story rests on the strength of the bonds between women.
The Devil Wears Prada | Lauren Weisberger
You’ve probably seen the movie. You might even have read the book. But trust me, if you haven’t, you need to. I know you’re thinking this is shallow, superficial, and silly because it’s about the fashion journalism industry. Listen, I used to think similar things. And then I read it. Oh, my friend, how wrong I was. Andrea is driven, headstrong, and sometimes a bit bull-headed. She goes into her job with the same attitude I had when I started the book, but she discovers that this industry is made up of people, interesting, fascinating, intelligent people, and that she actually likes her job. But can she make it for a full year?
(Sidenote: yes, her boyfriend is a jerk. Although I don’t think it’s as bad in the book as it is in the movie, cause holy crap is it bad in the movie).