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Women's Words:
75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World

The Women's National Book Association was founded in 1917, three years before women achieved the right to vote in the United States, by women booksellers excluded by the all-male Bookseller's League. This list was published originally in 1992, the 75th anniversary year of the WNBA. It honors women "whose words have changed the world," and who "have brought insight, awe, and pleasure to countless readers over the years." 

Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women    Fiction 

Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits    Fiction 

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings    Fiction 

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice    Fiction 

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture

Boston Women's Health Book Collective Staff, Our Bodies, Ourselves

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre    Fiction 

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights    Fiction 

Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape

Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth    Fiction 

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Willa Cather, My Antonia    Fiction 

Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary from Dixie

Kate Chopin, The Awakening    Fiction 

Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd    Fiction 

Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health

George Eliot (Mary Ann or Marian Evans), Middlemarch    Fiction 

Fannie Farmer, The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book

Francis Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake

Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist

Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl

Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

Emma Goldman, Living My Life

Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch

Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness    Fiction 

Edith Hamilton, Mythology

Betty Lehan Harragan, Games Mother Never Taught You

Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God    Fiction 

Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,On Death and Dying

Frances Moore Lappé, Diet for a Small Planet

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird    Fiction 

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook    Fiction 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals

Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter    Fiction 

Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party    Fiction 

Beryl Markham, West with the Night

Margaret Mead, Coming of Age in Samoa

Golda Meir, My Life

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Collected Poems

Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind    Fiction 

Marianne Moore, Complete Poems of Marianne Moore

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon    Fiction 

Lady Shikibu Murasaki, The Tale Of Genji

Anaïs Nin, The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin

Flannery O'Connor, The Complete Stories    Fiction 

Zoe Oldenbourg, The World Is Not Enough    Fiction 

Tillie Olsen, Silences

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels

Emmeline Pankhurst, My Own Story

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar    Fiction 

Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools    Fiction 

Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born

Margaret Sanger, Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography

Sappho, Sappho: A New Translation

May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein    Fiction 

Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor

Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin    Fiction 

Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror

Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter    Fiction 

Alice Walker, The Color Purple    Fiction 

Eudora Welty, Delta Wedding    Fiction 

Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome    Fiction 

Phyllis Wheatley, The Collected Works of Phyllis Wheatley

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
Source: Women's National Book Association (WNBA) 

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Last updated: 6/14/10