There is no better time than the present to start reading books for your own enjoyment.
It's so easy to get caught up in the repetition of reading for your classes that it is easy to forget reading can be fun. Aside from improving your reading skills and reading comprehension, studies have shown that reading for fun can give us an increased sense of empathy, provide insights into our own identities, and introduce us to topics we never knew we were interested in. I interviewed Emma Robles, a GW Undergraduate student studying American Studies and avid bibliophile, to assist me in curating this top 3 list of books to read by women authors right now. With her extensive knowledge of books, she was more than prepared for the task of picking out a few of her favorites, though she admitted it was difficult to do. Between the two of us we came up with a list of 3 great books to read. Emma contributed Circe by Madeline Miller and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I suggested The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.
Our rating system is as follows: 5/5 stars is a book we would read over again because it is so good and a 4.5 is a must read.
1. Circe by Madeline Miller: 5/5 Stars
Circe was born the daughter of a god and a sea nymph but does not possess any special abilities like her parents do. Circe discovers her ability for witchcraft, which threatens Zeus and he banishes her to a deserted island. She remains there by herself interacting with the mortals that pass by and the creatures that live on the island with her. Her newfound abilities find her in a situation where she is pitted against a very powerful Olympian and she must decide whether she sides with her new found mortal companions or the God’s she was born from. Robles didn’t think long before deciding to recommend this novel as her first choice. She enjoys it because the main character is able to grow as a person and become comfortable in her isolation, Robles describes Circe as “alone but not lonely.” Robles also feels that she learned a lot about how to be alone from reading Circe, “It is something that everyone has to learn how to do. We crave relationships with other people but forget to build a relationship with ourselves and this book shows an example of doing that.” Robles read this book in high school at a time when she felt nervous about being alone and without her friends. Since reading Circe and entering college, Robles feels more comfortable with doing things alone and feels she has a better understanding of herself.
2. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 4.5/5 Stars
Daisy Jones and the Six is a story about a rock band in the late 60’s to early 70’s and their relationships. Robles describes the book as having a very unique structure, “as if you’re reading a documentary.” Each character recounts their memories from being in the band and the experiences they had. The story exposes the rock star lifestyle that comes along with touring in a band and the relationships that are formed, largely inspired by the Fleetwood Mac story. Robles found this book to be engaging because it shows that no two people remember an event the exact same way. The novel examines misinterpretations of the past, losing memories, and how that can affect different relationships. Robles reflects on what she learned from reading Daisy Jones and the Six, “People will remember you and the experiences you have together in different ways.”
3. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin: 4.5/5 Stars
The Immortalists is a 4 part novel that follows the experiences of Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya Gold in the years after they go to a fortune teller who tells them the dates of their deaths. Simon moves to San Francisco to experience life in a vibrant city and more accepting environment than where he lived with his family. Klara moves there with him and chases her dreams of becoming a magician where she meets her husband and starts a family. Daniel becomes a doctor, but following the deaths of his siblings, feels an extreme desire to seek revenge on the fortune teller. Varya pursues a career in the study of longevity in genetics and the potential of immortality. This novel forces the reader to contemplate the ways in which each character may have lived their lives differently after knowing the predicted date of their death. The story emphasizes the precious nature of life and the importance of pursuing what one is passionate about. Though the content of the story can be a bit heavy, there are lighthearted moments in each of the characters' lives that omit feelings of pure joy.
There are so many great women in the writing field and an abundance of books to discover. These three books display a good variety of stories and perspectives. You can simultaneously support female authors while reading these novels that will entertain you, make you think, and potentially even teach you something. You can find Emma Robles on Good Reads to keep expanding your list of books as well!