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Subject: Female authors
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 1:37 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 14
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i have realized that a lot of my reading in the past has been stuff by male authors-- now is that because more men write, or is it because men are more acknowledged in the publishing world?

Anyway, i am looking for suggestions on female authors. i am not into romance or chick lit which i understand is dominated by women, but stuff more along the lines of Atwood, Munro (something abut those canadians eh?) and Maxine Hong Kingston, so if you know what i am getting at suggestions are welcome! Doesn't have to be same style as the examples given, i just want to read something intricate... for the lack of a better word.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,284
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Stephanie, How about trying some books by:

Jodi Picoult - so many good ones but my personal favorites are Nineteen Minutes, Perfect Match, Keeping Faith and Change of Heart

Alice Hoffman - sometimes a little weird but I enjoyed Starlight Confessions

Jacqueline Mitchard - my favorite is Cage of Stars

Dani Shapiro - my favorite is Family History

Katrina Kittle - The Kindness of Strangers

Marcia Preston - I just finished reading Trudy's Promise and was very impressed with it.  This is not a book I would normally pick up and it was way better than I expected

Alice Sebold - I loved all of her books The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon and Lucky

 

I am interested in seeing what other members post.  I am sure that my WL is about to get much bigger!
 



Last Edited on: 3/11/10 2:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I can't recommend Kelly Link and Angela Carter enough. Kelly Link writes short stories.  I discovered both of them through PBS, and I'm so glad I did.

2 of Kelly Link's collections are available free in e-book format with a Creative Commons license, which is great if you want to try before you buy. The books can be downloaded here.

 



Last Edited on: 3/11/10 11:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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Some of my faves:

Anne Tyler (fiction, quirky characters)

Anne Rivers Siddons (fiction-a bit of romance but not the whole story, some books cover pertinent issues like 1960s racial issues or environmental issues, family relationships, great Southern writer, IMO)

Maeve Binchy (fiction-set in Ireland)

Carolly Erickson (hist. fiction, bios)

Cathie Pelletier (fiction, small town characters-funny parts, serious parts)

Norris Church Mailer-she wrote "Windchill Summer", which is one of my all time favorite books!  IMO it covers a bit of everything-small town, coming-of-age, racial issues, family relationships, Viet Nam vets, with a bit of romance and mystery thrown it.  It sounds like alot but it all comes together.  Norris Church Mailer is/was the wife of Norman Mailer.

Margaret George-(hist. fiction)

Bella Pollen-"Hunting For Unicorns".  British author, this book is set in England and is SO quirky!  I loved it.

Marlena deBlasi-(memoirs, Italy)-she wrote a trio of memoirs about marrying and Italian and living in Italy.  I enjoyed them very much! 

Also, for Italian travel/restoring old houses/cooking in Italy/memoirs, try Frances Mayes and Carol Drinkwater.

I'm sure I have more but these are off the top of my head and should get you started!  Hope you find some of these and enjoy them like I did/do!

 

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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You could try Annie Proulx.

And if you like literary SF (which is where I place Atwood) you could try Octavia E. Butler or Ursula LeGuin.

And of course, there are always the few classic female authors. . . Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Elliot, Virginia Woolf. . . I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. . .

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 14
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I can't recommend Kelly Link and Angela Carter enough. Kelly Link writes short stories.  I discovered both of them through PBS, and I'm so glad I did.

I just read of short story by Kelly Link in a Nebula anthology, i liked it a lot.

 

And if you like literary SF (which is where I place Atwood) you could try Octavia E. Butler or Ursula LeGuin.

And of course, there are always the few classic female authors. . . Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Elliot, Virginia Woolf. . . I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. . .

You got me pegged. i've almost exhausted Austen and LeGuin, and in the past i have read good amounts of Elliot, Woolf, and Brontes. i just ordered Kindred by Octavia Butler on PBS, it got here a couple of days ago. Love SF.

Thanks everyone, keep 'em coming. Although i don't know why i ask for recommendations when i have about 10 TBR including library books and i am supposed to be looking for a job (: but o well.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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Add Nalo Hopkinson to your list of SF writers.  Her body of  work, expecially Brown Girl in the Ring, is amazing. 

If you like mystery/detective stories, you might like Tana French.  I picked up her first book, Into the Woods, and immediately ordered The Likeness and have the third book in the series(Faithful Place due out in August) on my WL. 

For sheer quirkiness there's Sandi Toksvig.  Flying Under Bridges is a lot of fun, as are her other novels.  She's also a stand-up comedian; if  you're a fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway (the British version) you've probably seen her.

 

edited because I can't seem to type this evening



Last Edited on: 3/11/10 6:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Margaret Atwood is NOT just a sci-fi writer, because she authored The Handmaid's Tale, a nightmare version of what happens in the Future when the old white men get worried about not having progeny to leave their "man's world" to.  She wrote a BUNCH of other novels, starting way back when with The Edible Woman, and continuing with Surfacing, Lady Oracle, Life Before ManBodily Harm, Cat's Eye, and on to Alias Grace, The Robber Bride, etc.  And another Canadian woman novelist of note is Margaret Laurence, author of the Manawaka series:  A Bird in the House, The Fire-Dwellers, A Jest of God, The Diviners, and The Stone Angel.  Another Canadian woman writer, Carol Stone, won the 1995 Pulitzer for The Stone Diaries.

A little bit less 'literary' writer is Marge Piercy, and if you haven't read her Gone to Soldiers, I will recommend that to you, as a "woman's World War Two novel".

Don't forget Eudora Welty, Harper Lee, Betty Smith, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Isaacs, Louise Erdrich, etc.   I also liked some of Isabel Allende's works, such as The House of the Spirits.   If you are also interested in quality non-fiction by women, I highly recommend Annie Dillard, for her An American Childhood, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  You've hit upon a rich "mother lode" in literature, if you'll forgive a little  'word play' here. 



Last Edited on: 3/11/10 8:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2010 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Stephanie -- Oh goody! Since you already like SF, I can recommend a few other authors that I didn't mention before because, well, they're a little too SF for people who aren't already into the genre. ;)

Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga -- Long series that starts great and gets better as it goes along. . . all the books stand-alone reasonably well, though I still recommend reading in series chronological order (so start with Shards of Honor and Barrayar). But since you like Austen, you could also try starting with A Civil Campaign -- it's subtitled "A comedy of biology and manners" and is dedicated to Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Georgette Heyer, and Dorothy Sayers. I wouldn't have thought it would work as an entry point (because it uses so much of the character-building that has gone on in the previous 10 or so novels) but I have heard recently that several people got into the series starting there, so I guess it can. ;)

Connie Willis -- By turns hilariously witty and heartbreaking. All the books have a motif, which you will hear quite a bit about over the course of the novel; I usually recommend people start with Bellwether (the motifs are fads and books) but other good places to start are Doomsday Book (the Black Death); To Say Nothing of the Dog (Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat is the obvious motif); and Passage (the Titanic).

Jo Walton -- Particularly Tooth and Claw. It's essentially an Austen novel where all the characters are dragons and all the Victorian mores are dictated by dragon biology. It's brilliant. But if you don't mind being depressed, her Small Change series is also excellent -- alternate history mysteries and thrillers in a 1949 England that made peace with Hitler at the start of WWII. The first one, Farthing, is as good a British country house mystery as anything since Christie and Sayers were writing.

Elizabeth Bear -- She's got a really diverse catalog (space opera, post-apocalyptic, alternate history, urban fantasy with Arthurian underpinnings, steampunk with vampires, even companion-animal fantasy) and a nice, meaty style with rich world- and character-building.

 

Bonnie -- A Handmaid's Tale is science fiction -- anything set in the future automatically gets labeled SF in my mind, wherever it's shelved in the bookstore.

Date Posted: 3/11/2010 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 7,886
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Diana Gabaldon and Paullina Simons:  Two of the best female authors ever.

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,262
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I don't see that anyone has mentioned:

Sandra Dallas or Augusta Trobaugh, two of my favourites!

Date Posted: 3/12/2010 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 14
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Margaret Atwood is NOT just a sci-fi writer, because she authored The Handmaid's Tale, a nightmare version of what happens in the Future when the old white men get worried about not having progeny to leave their "man's world" to.  She wrote a BUNCH of other novels, starting way back when...

i think some of my favorite Atwood is the non-SF, i remember really enjoying Cat's Eye. The only SF she has done that i can think of is HT and Oryx and Crake. Although she wrote one that i realllly hated, about a group of women friends and their relationship with their husbands.

 

i've got a lot of ordering to do now...

Date Posted: 3/14/2010 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/16/2009
Posts: 13
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For "literary" fiction:  Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Lisa Appignanesi (who also writes non-fiction), Iris Murdoch, A.S. Byatt

For SF:  Sheri Tepper, ditto on Ursula LeGuin

For mystery:  Elizabeth George

Date Posted: 3/14/2010 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Oh, yes, forgot Tepper! Add my recommendation to that! (My favorite is The Family Tree.)

Date Posted: 3/14/2010 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2008
Posts: 389
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**Although i don't know why i ask for recommendations when i have about 10 TBR including library books and i am supposed to be looking for a job (: but o well.**

We just can't help ourselves...that's why we're here! LOL!

Date Posted: 3/17/2010 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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If you're interested in Asian culture, especially China, try Pearl S. Buck's books.  Even though she is long deceased, many of her books are still in print including The Good Earth, for which she won the Nobel Prize.  I even have a couple of her books on my shelf!

Date Posted: 3/17/2010 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 14
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If you're interested in Asian culture, especially China, try Pearl S. Buck's books.  Even though she is long deceased, many of her books are still in print including The Good Earth, for which she won the Nobel Prize.  I even have a couple of her books on my shelf!

i love Pearl Buck, which of hers is your favorite? i enjoyed "Imperial Woman" the most, though it has been a long time since i read it.

i've read a lot of fiction by other Chinese authors (i know Buck isn't Chinese but she was raised there-- same thing) which were translated into English. BUT i do not really enjoy fiction written by someone outside of the culture or historical period in which the story is set, it often sounds fake-y and spends too much time describing people's outfits ~lol

Date Posted: 3/17/2010 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
Posts: 3,574
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On a cultural note, no one has mentioned Amy Tan yet, one of my 500 top favorite authors, definitely!

Date Posted: 3/18/2010 2:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 14
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Top 500?! Either you don't like her that much or you've read many 1000s of books (:

Date Posted: 3/18/2010 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Hmm...

This thread made me go back and tally the female:male ratio of the books I've reviewed on the site.

30 female: 24 male.

If I didn't go back and look, I would recommend Japanese author Natsuo Kirino and Australian Geraldine Brooks for People of the Book.

Iris Murdoch is on my list of authors to try. Any opinions?

Date Posted: 3/19/2010 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 14
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Sophia: I RL'd one Murdoch thanx to the thread, and will be WL pending getting more credits. (:

One of the librarything.com widgets tells how many male to female authors you've read... mine is ~ 70m:30f. Thus the thread.

To contribute, i am currently in the middle of Geek Love by Katharine Dunn at the recommendation of a friend. It is awesome so far.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 5,444
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I am just about to start North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  She is a somewhat forgotten author of the Victorian era.  I also like Charlotte Bronte, Lavyrle Spencer and Linda Lael Miller.

Subject: Re: male:female ratio
Date Posted: 3/20/2010 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I've actually just started tracking this on GoodReads (created a "male author" shelf and a "female author" shelf) -- so far it's pretty even, but I haven't put in all the stuff I read in high school (I'd guess 90% male) or my Agatha Christies (82 by a female author) so I don't have a sense yet of how it'll turn out. I'm committed to keeping it pretty even. . . which will mean a change in my reading habits, because I was caught up trying to even the score so to speak the last several years and have been preferentially reading female authors. ;)

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,496
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I find I read mostly female authors, though not because they are female.  It just happens that way.  I'm not big on romance of chick lit either.

Try Edith Wharton, Anita Diamant, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Tracy Chevalier, Pearl Buck, Gail Tsukiyama (The Samurai's Garden, I think it was called, was incredible), Billie Letts, Anna Quindlen (Blessings, especially), Bharti Kirchner, Terry Macmillan, Bebe Moore Campbell, Willa Cather...

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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Oh, yes, forgot Tepper! Add my recommendation to that! (My favorite is The Family Tree.)   +1  I picked this book up one day and couldn't put it down.

The Gate to Women's Country, Raising the Stones and Grass are also Sherri Tepper books that are just great.

Anne Lamott,  Barbara Kingsolver,  Alice Walker,  Marge Piercy, Geraldine Brooks, Jane Smiley



Last Edited on: 3/20/10 11:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
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