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The Female-Penned Books Worth Reading During Quarantine

Against the odds, writers outside the Ernest Hemingway mould have produced works of true genius of late.

The Western canon has historically been the definition of an old boys’ club.

As Joan Didion once said of her predecessors in an interview with The Paris Review: “There was a kind of social tradition in which male novelists could operate. Hard drinkers, bad livers. Wives, wars, big fish, Africa, Paris, no second acts.”

So, it’s no surprise that virtually every generic list of books that everyone should read has been dominated by works by and about men.

Which is exactly why I chose four books that should be on your radar for Winter 2020, all penned by female authors. Read on. 

1. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Kiley Reid's debut novel Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

2. Older, But Better, But Older by Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas

The second coming of the bestselling How To Be Parisian comes in the form of Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas' Older, But Better, But Older. The piece takes a lighthearted look at ageing (dis)gracefully while also providing details on how you remain your best self throughout. 

3. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener 

Dubbed 'if Joan Didion were to take on a start-up'. Anna Wiener's take on Silicon Valley is as pleasurable as it is precise and jagged. The novel covers life changes, ambition, sexism and addiction wildly impressively. 

4. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This thrilling novel follows a 15-year-old student who falls into a dramatically intense relationship with her far older teacher. It follows how the #metoo movement has forced us to self-interrogate while also showcasing both sides of a predatory relationship combined with the innocence of youth.

It also prompts readers to interrogate their own assumptions about victimhood, consent, and agency.

5. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

And finally, The High Low's Dolly Alderton's new book, Ghosts. Described by Stylist as "The perfect no-holds-barred modern-day rom-com", Alderton's debut novel follows successful food writer Nina Dean as she navigates her early thirties. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. Until... it doesn't.

Funny, tender and filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

Main image by @booksupstairs

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