How I love this story of mother and daughter relationships, the effects of slavery, and the tragedy of both. Beloved is magical and terrifying, deeply sad and wonderfully written. If you haven’t read Toni Morrison, I recommend you devour all of her writing.
Gail Carson Levine
A retelling of Cinderella—but with more spunk. I read this book probably ten times when I was a kid, and it’s come with me to every apartment I’ve ever lived in. Something about a girl finding her voice is still inspiring to me, even today.
Someone Like You
I found this book when I was going through an “every book I read has to be a YA book where somebody dies” phase, but this was one of my favorites. Halley’s best friend gets pregnant with a boy who tragically dies, and the fierce loyalty Halley shows toward her friend is a testament to the strength of female friendships. I especially loved this book because it isn’t a love story—not in the slightest.
I Don't Care About Your Band
Julie is a tough, frank, totally-no-bull kind of New York girl, which I absolutely love. This memoir is fun and harsh and also full of great pop culture references. Julie’s never been afraid to be a little unlikable, and as somebody who wrote a whole book about that, I dig it.
I Was Told There'd Be Cake
This book is kind of like Seinfeld, in that it’s mostly about nothing. I am so jealous of writers who can weave interesting, funny, fantastic tales from something as simple as baking a pie. Sloane Crosley’s such a great writer, and this book is a real joy to read.
You’ve seen the movie, but I really do recommend the book. It’s a wonderful look into a damaged mind and the damaged mental hospitals of the 1960s, just as much as it is a look into growing and becoming better. We can all become better.
I Feel Bad About My Neck
I loved this book. It gave me hope that I could continue writing memoir about little things like makeup and breakups and food, forever and ever and ever.
You Don't Have to Like Me
I read these books as a young girl—novels and memoirs that inspired me, moved me, and showed me examples of brave, powerful women. Their stories are rich and memorable, and I grew up reading them over and over again. Some of these titles I read (and reread) as I was writing my first and second books. They showed me how to be a better writer and introduced me to honest and flawed women. All of the characters, real or imagined, are feminist heroines of mine.
Author Photo: Virginia Ahren