Although famous authors, such as Dean Koontz, Stephen King, James Patterson and Robert Ludlum are frequently mentioned when discussing bestsellers, there have also been plenty of women who have made their mark on literature. In fact, few men can come close to the acclaim achieved by Agatha Christie, while work by other women such as Barbara Cartland and Danielle Steel are equally impressive. However, there are also other women who have written classic books that don’t always achieve the recognition that they deserve. So, here are five classic books written by women that belong in your library.
Little Women, the tale of four sisters by author Louisa May Alcott, was based loosely on herself and her siblings. It tells the story of how the sisters grow up and have to deal with the realities of becoming women, such as love and loss. The book, which was published in 1868, was a huge success and has had six movie adaptations over the years in addition to multiple television series. Alcott was not only a great author, but also an abolitionist and feminist
Mention epic fantasy and people immediately think of J. R. R. Tolkien or George R. R. Martin. However, Ursual K. Le Guin has had just as big an impact on the genre. She is also one of very few women who has been made a Grandmaster of Science Fiction, and has won numerous awards for her work. Le Guin is fond of weaving topics, such as gender, sexuality and religion into her work and her Earthsea series is every bit as epic as the works of Tolkien and Martin.
Anne of Green Gables is another endearing classic and features the tale of the titular character, an orphan mistakenly adopted by a family who wanted a boy to assist them with their farm. Like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables has not only been translated into many languages, but also saw film and television adaptations. The talkative and imaginative Anne Shirley is the type of character who readers instantly fell in love with and the book does a great job of portraying childhood. Due to the success of the book, Montgomery went on to write five sequels, each featuring Anne at a different age.
The Secret Garden, written by author Frances Hodgson Burnett, is yet another classic novel that saw many film adaptations and television serials since it was published in 1911. The book tells the tale of Mary Lennox, who is initially a selfish and spoiled child due to her wealthy parents leaving her to be cared for by servants. After tragedy strikes, Mary has to live with her uncle at his Manor, which causes a transformation in her. Unlike other classics, The Secret Garden wasn’t a huge success when it was first released and many considered it to be one of the weaker titles by Burnett. However, it has continued to rise in popularity and is now considered by many to be one of the greatest children’s books ever written.
Toni Morrison, an American novelist are known for books such as The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon. However, it is her novel Beloved that is seen by many is her best work. Fans of Morrison love the rich detail with which she imbues her characters and she also has a knack for epic themes while keeping the dialog vivid. Beloved was turned into a movie featuring Oprah Winfrey and received a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It tells the story of a women named Sethe who escapes from slavery with her daughter Denver, but ends up being plagued by supernatural forces. The way in which Morrison skillfully blends different genres into one compelling story makes Beloved a must read.