Want to infuse a little inspiration into your reading? This is the list! The women in these books—three real, three fictional—are incredible. They’ll inspire you to learn more, work hard, be feminine, and live to the fullest.
This was one of my STUDIO 5 segments. To watch, CLICK HERE.
“I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai
When the Taliban took over her home town in Pakistan, fifteen-year-old Malala fought for her right to an education. For speaking up, she was shot in the face. Not only did she survive but went on to be a global symbol of peace and education rights. At seventeen, she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story is unforgettable!
Content note: Some descriptions of Taliban violence, and Malala’s injuries and recovery process.
“At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life” by Jennifer L. Scott
In college, Jennifer Scott did a study-abroad to Paris. She went as a typical, causal American young adult, but living with her chic host family changed everything. As she observed Madame Chic (her name for the mother of the host family), she learned how to live simply, but elegantly. When she returned to the US, she starting writing her popular blog, handing out advice on chic daily living, from wardrobe advice to cleaning tips.
Content note: Clean
“West With the Night” by Beryl Markham
Beryl Markham lived at the start of the 20th Century. Born in England, she moved to Kenya at a young age. She spent her life defying all expectations of what a woman should be. She had a pet zebra, trained racehorses, and was the first person to fly an airplane nonstop from Europe to America. She writes about her passion for life with beautiful prose.
Content note: I haven’t had time to read this one yet, so not sure on content.
“The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen
Kelsa spent her first nineteen years living in a small cottage in the forest, exploring and reading and learning. On her nineteenth birthday, the queen’s guard comes for her to take her to the capital; it’s time for her to take the throne as queen. Kelsa is so fantastic—she’s savvy, smart, loves books, and believes in the power of learning. She fights off assassins, brings books back to the kingdom, and stops a slave trade. Amazing read!
Content: Some mild sexual references, a few uses of foul language including one or two F-words, mild violence.
“The Velvet Hours” by Alyson Richman
This is such a lovely book! It’s the story of two women, Marthe and Solange, grandmother and granddaughter. Martha raises herself from poverty to become an expert on art, beauty, fashion, and love. She recounts her life to her granddaughter, who learns so much from Marthe’s story, things that help her find love, face the coming of WWII, and discovers her mother’s past. It’s a beautifully written, evocative book of beauty and romance.
Content note: Marthe is a courtesan, so her life centers on pleasure. However, there are no described sex scenes, only mild references.
“My Name is Mary Sutter” by Robin Oliveira
Mary Sutter is a talented midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon. But it’s America at the eve of the Civil War and women aren’t allowed to be doctors. Against all odds, Mary pushes for her dream, learning everything she can and finally finding a doctor to mentor her. She travels to the frontline, saving soldiers. This book is dramatic and heartfelt—so good!
Content note: Lots of detailed descriptions of war injuries and surgical procedures.