WNBA/Washington 25th Anniversary Booklist
Washington Chapter of the Women's National Book Association
marked its 25th anniversary in 2003. In celebration, Chapter members
recommended books authored by women and published within the past
25 years that they have found particularly memorable and enjoyable.
Ansay, A. Manette. River Angel. The legend of an angel watching over
a river frames this resonant novel about faith and its power to transform
individuals and a community.
Bishop, Elizabeth. The Complete Poems, 1927-1979. Poetry
that is by turns tender, hopeful, despairing, wise – but always
clear-eyed about the beauty to be found in things mundane.
Brown, Rosellen. Tender Mercies. A searing
novel about an accident – and
its aftermath - that tests a marriage, damages a family, and alters lives.
Bundesen, Lynne. So the Woman Went Her Way. A
of her spiritual coming-of-age, as she found inspiration and power through
the women of the Bible.
Byatt, A. S. Possession. Overwhelming in the scope of
its writing, this novel combines historical fiction, mystery, and poetry
to tell a fabulous story.
Conway, Jill Ker, ed. In Her Own Words. An anthology
of compelling memoirs in which women from Australia, New Zealand, and
North America examine personal and social issues.
Conway, Jill Ker. The Road from Coorain. Vivid autobiography
by the first woman president of Smith College, revealing her hard Australian
childhood developing independence.
Ehrlich, Gretel. This Cold Heaven. Essayist and naturalist
Ehrlich captures life on the Greenland icecap in this haunting book with
elements of travel and history.
Frame, Janet. The Complete Autobiography. The beautifully
written trilogy by an award-winning New Zealand novelist, describing
her transition from mental patient to writer.
Geniesse, Jane. Passionate Nomad. A compelling biography
of explorer and writer Freya Stark (1893-1993), who discovered lost cities
and created an anti-Nazi intelligence system.
Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the
Attic. Exhilarating feminist literary criticism of 19th century women
writers (particularly notable for having been published in 1979).
Gordimer, Nadine. July’s People. A white family
in South Africa needs help from their former servant in this novel that
examines interconnecting relationships as well as racism.
Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies. A wonderful
collection of short stories by a brilliant new Indian writer.
Lamott, Anne. Operating Instructions. A
comforting, funny, honest journal account of the author’s first
year as a mom with her son Sam.
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird. Engaging,
thoughtful musings on the business of living day to day - “bird by bird” -
as well as witty, solid instructions for the business of writing.
Lively, Penelope. Moon Tiger. A dying writer, who is
a former historian and war correspondent, relates history as seen through
her own eyes in this poignant, intelligent novel.
McNees, Pat, ed. Dying. Subtitled “a book of comfort,” this
treasury has been immeasurably helpful to others during times of trouble
Meyers, Carol, ed. Women in Scripture. A new dictionary
of women in the Bible, this is well-researched, well-written, and free
from denominational bias.
Michaels, Anne. Fugitive Pieces.This first novel by
a Canadian poet deals with the power of memories, loss, and love (which
and sometimes does not) and reads like poetry.
Minot, Susan. Monkeys. The ramifications
of a mother’s death ripple
through a large family in Minot’s critically acclaimed first novel.
Norris, Kathleen. Dakota. Norris draws on story, history,
myth, prayer, and memoir in this spiritual geography, a meditative tribute
to the great
prairies of western Dakota.
Oliver, Mary. House of Light.Thoughtful, beautifully
crafted poems primarily about scenes in nature and their power to stir
Reichl, Ruth. Tender at the Bone. From the New
York Times restaurant critic, a wonderful memoir about food, growing
up, writing, and finding
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter books. Not just for kids,
these monumentally popular books have opened pleasure reading to a world
of readers; they
are best enjoyed chronologically.
Rylant, Cynthia. The Ticky-Tacky Doll. A
lyrical picture book that speaks to folks of all ages about love, loss,
and the importance
and honoring the source of a child’s sorrow.
Simon, Kate. Bronx Primitive.A splendid memoir of an
immigrant child growing up and coming of age in the Bronx.
Smiley, Jane. Horse Heaven. Pure pleasure from start
to finish, this novel is Walter Farley for adults.
Strout, Elizabeth. Amy and Isabelle. A
lovely, beautifully written exploration of the always-challenging mother-daughter
Taber, Sara Mansfield. Bread of Three Rivers.The
author searches France for “the perfect French loaf” in this
book that combines travel, history, and cookery.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. This poetic story of four
Chinese women and their daughters illustrates the powerful bonds within
a culture and
Tyler, Anne. Back When We Were Grownups. The
interior voyage of a woman who, at 53, thinks she’s in the “wrong life” strikes
chords and gives readers a new sense of clarity.
Ulrich, Laurel. A Midwife’s Tale.The
reconstructed diary of Maine midwife Martha Ballard from 1785 to 1812
provides women’s history
in the best and fullest sense.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. A novel praised for
its wonderful, strong female characters, one of whom finds joy in relationships
women and her evolving sense of spirituality.
Welty, Eudora. One Writer’s Beginnings.Describing
how her upbringing shaped her writing and observational skills, Welty
persuades us that “serious
daring starts from within.”
Winterson, Jeanette. Written on the Body. A seductive
novel described as a tour de force of point of view written in what is
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