I read a lot, and as I was looking through my books to see what I can read next, I realized that most of the authors I have read are men. I think that the number of female authors I have read is possibly not over 15. And I have a hard time thinking of all too many extremely influential female authors. Most of the female authors I have read are Catholic saints, but I haven’t read too many of them either. Joan of Arc, Teresa of Avila, Edith Stein, Therese of Lisieux, Mother Teresa, are the main ones who come to mind. I have decided that for at least a certain period of time, I am going to focus on only reading and studying female authors, as well as musical composers. Do any of you have suggestions on who should be at the front of my list for who I should read? As far as musical composers goes, I can only think of Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, and Hildegard of Bingen. But please suggest good female authors of written works as well.
God bless you all, and may Mary, pray for us all,
Jane Austen: Definitely Pride and Prejudice but do yourself a favor and try Persuasion or Emma as well. George Elliott (despite the masculine name this is a female author whose original name is Mary Ann Evans). Read Middlemarch first if you’re into longer books, otherwise try Silas Marner.
Georgette Heyer for clean, WITTY historical fiction with none of the ‘bodice ripper’ and a host of terms meticulously researched. You would enjoy reading either The Spanish Bride (with the husband, hero of the book, a REAL PERSON, Harry Smith, who did indeed serve with the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo), or else Beauvallet, set in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and again dealing more with the ‘hero.’ For sheer enjoyment of a hero AND heroine, read “Black Sheep” which is set in Regency England and has some of the best dialogue.
Helen Hunt Jackson’s “Ramona”. Set in old California.
Taylor Caldwell (yes she’s female). Try “Great Lion of God” about St. Paul, or “Dear and Glorious Physician” (about St. Luke).
E. S. Nesbitt; try “The Five Children and It.”
Mary Roberts Rinehart for mystery; try “The Bat” or “The Swimming Pool”. Delicious period piece.
Definitely Agatha Christie for mysteries!
Dorothy L. Sayers. Start with “Whose Body?”
Virginia Wolfe: “Mrs. Dalloway’s Room.”
Willa Cather: “Death Comes for the Archbishop”.
Mary Stewart’s Arthurian saga, “The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Wicked Day, and the Last Enchantment.”
D. E. Stevenson’s novels set in the 1930s-1960s, mainly in Scotland; wonderful period pieces.
Rachel Field’s “Calico Bush” set off the coast of Maine in colonial days.
Edith Wharton, “The Age of Innocence”.
Mary Shelley: “Frankenstein, or the Modern Promethius”.
The autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Anne Morrow Lindberg (yes, wife of Charles, fine author in her own right).
Rachel Carson “Silent Spring”.
These should get you started!
Poets: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, Phyllis McGinley.
Mary Higgins Clark for Catholic flavored (and clean–there are maybe two books that hint at illicit relationships) romantic suspense.
Aimee Thurlo (with her husband David) has written a series of mysteries featuring an extern nun named Sister Agatha. Her Ella Clah mysteries are also clean, though they feature Native American mysticism, but are still good reads.
I second Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy L. Sayers. Sayers wrote the classic Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries (I used to really like the PBS adaptations), did one of the great translation of Dante’s Inferno (also The Song of Roland), and the great apologetic work “Creed or Chaos? Why Christians Must Choose Either Dogma or Disaster (Or, Why It Really Does Matter What You Believe).”
I enjoy reading Florence King. She is a traditional conservative, a misanthrope and an Episcopalian (I think). She is primarily an essayist but has written in other genres. I especially recommend STET Damnit, a collection of her essays in The National Review.
Well, Ayn Rand is thought-provoking and certainly provides a different perpective and insight on human nature. ‘We the Living’ is good and is semi-autobiographical based on her experiences in the USSR. If you read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ you’ll at least understand why it’s been referred to so much as matching our times.
Yes, her personal life was morally objectionable, however, if you’re capable of separating the work from the author she’s worth a read.