• The cover of the book Ruby (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    Ruby (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    Ruby Bell

    Young Ruby was “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at.” She survives devastating violence as a child and soon flees the small town of Liberty, Texas to explore 1950s New York—always keeping an eye out for the red hair and green eyes of her mother. Eventually, she must return home and face the truth of her girlhood, one memory at a time. Ruby is resilient, passionate, and courageous. Her story reminds us of the promise of the redemptive power of love.

     
  • The cover of the book Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

    “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart!” Need we say more?

     
  • The cover of the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Lisbeth Salander

    We love the fact that Lisbeth is the whip-smart hero of this series, with hunky guys who always need her help. She’s tortured, for sure, but she’s thrilling to spend time with—almost makes us want to chop our hair and get a motorcycle.

     
  • The cover of the book The Informationist

    The Informationist

    Vanessa Michael Munroe

    Munroe’s often compared to Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She has that same gutsiness, that lone wolf quality, and that depth of character that comes from being damaged. But her androgynous quality and her strangely complicated childhood in lawless Africa make her wholly original. At the center of Stevens’ three novels, Munroe deals in information—governments pay her, criminals fear her, and no one sees her coming.

     
  • The cover of the book Medea and Other Plays

    Medea and Other Plays

    Medea

    Okay, this one might be a controversial choice (given that Medea kills her own children in vengeance against the betrayal of her husband), but we can’t forget her fierceness. “We bid the highest price in dowries
    just to buy some man to be dictator of our bodies … How that compounds the wrong!”

     
  • The cover of the book Persepolis

    Persepolis

    Marjane Satrapi

    Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages 6 to 14, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. Wise, funny, and heartbreaking.

     
  • The cover of the book Mrs. Dalloway

    Mrs. Dalloway

    Clarissa Dalloway

    Back in 1925 when Virginia Woolf published Mrs. Dalloway, it was a revolutionary glimpse into consciousness. The story of one seemingly ordinary day in the life of one seemingly ordinary woman becomes luminous. Mrs. Dalloway putters around preparing for a dinner party, while in the background, war simmers—in the end, the death of a young man she doesn’t know forces us to consider the elemental conflict between life and death.

     
  • The cover of the book The Diary of a Young Girl

    The Diary of a Young Girl

    Anne Frank

    What can we say about Anne Frank? Like any teenager, she veered between the carefree nature of a child and the full-fledged sorrow of an adult. But given her circumstances, her vulnerability and vitality astonishes.

     
  • The cover of the book The Panopticon

    The Panopticon

    Anais Hendricks

    When we meet Anais Hendricks, she’s 15 and in the back of a police car. She’s a sharp-tongued orphan, a counterculture criminal, and one of the most heartbreakingly intelligent and sensitive narrators you’ll ever meet. Fagan’s brilliant debut is at once a scathing portrait of the British foster care system and a shockingly different coming-of-age novel. She’s been compared to Jonathan Safron Foer, Margaret Atwood, and Stieg Larsson.

     
  • The cover of the book Matilda

    Matilda

    Matilda

    “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.” Yes, Matilda.

     
  • The cover of the book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, The Driver's Seat, The Only Problem

    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, The Driver's Seat, The Only Problem

    Miss Jean Brodie

    “These years are still the years of my prime. It is important to recognize the years of one’s prime, always remember that.” We love Miss Brodie’s idealism, her romanticism, and the way she inspires her students with complete unselfconsciousness.

     
  • The cover of the book Madame Bovary

    Madame Bovary

    Emma Bovary

    “Before she married, she thought she was in love; but the happiness that should have resulted from that love, somehow had not come. It seemed to her that she must have made a mistake, have misunderstood in some way or another. And Emma tried hard to discover what, precisely, it was in life that was denoted by the words ‘joy, passion, intoxication,’ which had always looked so fine to her in books.”

     
  • The cover of the book Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted

    Susanna Kaysen

    In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. A dazzling memoir from a razor-sharp point of view, it’s become a cult classic for very good reason.

     
  • The cover of the book Top Secret Twenty-One

    Top Secret Twenty-One

    Stephanie Plum

    Stephanie Plum is the heroine of Janet Evanovich’s “numbered” suspense series. Imagine if Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry had a baby. That’d be Stephanie. When we meet her, she’s living alone with her hamster Rex. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives,” says Evanovich.

     
  • The cover of the book P is for Peril

    P is for Peril

    Kinsey Millhone

    Kinsey Millhone is the heroine of Sue Grafton’s “alphabet” crime series. She’s an unconventional woman: an orphan, in many ways a loner, she solves crimes in 1980s Santa Teresa, a fictionalized town based on Santa Barbara, California. And how can you not adore a woman who cuts her own hair and loves peanut butter and pickle sandwiches?

     
  • The cover of the book The Joy Luck Club

    The Joy Luck Club

    Lindo Jong, Ying-Ying St. Clair, An-Mei Hsu, Suyuan Woo

    Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s telling the stories. In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared, unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits (and money).