Friday, June 27, 2014

Loves :: Your Summer Reading List, Featuring Female Authors! (Guest Post)

Hey, Loudmouths! You may have heard: there's been a bit of a revolution this year in the literary world. It's a movement called #readwomen2014 and it's a celebration of all the unique talents of female writers. I see it as a campaign to draw attention to the unique way the feminine spirt can touch the craft of writing. We all know that men write great books, books that are read by women and men alike, but often books written by women (especially when they fall outside of the literary fiction sphere) are shuffled into gender-specific genres like "women's fiction" or "chick lit". As far as whether those genres are helpful or constricting for women, I think that's an entirely subjective debate and one that can't necessarily be won from either side. But what I love about the #readwomen2014 movement is that it becomes an opportunity for those separations to be pushed a bit into the background, and for women writers in every genre to be celebrated. In the spirit of #readwomen2014, here are twelve books ideal for your upcoming trips to the beach, all born of the fabulous female imagination.

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

Naomi Wood's Mrs. Hemingway carries on the fictionalized story of Ernest Hemingway's four consecutive, true-life wives as begun by Paula McLain in her bestseller, The Paris Wife. Meanwhile Courtney Maum's I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is a novel of love and fidelity, one of the summer's most buzzed-about debuts. Then there's Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamontt's Life in Pictures, who's back with The Vacationers, a story about family dynamics (and then some). Linda Francis Lee has written a steady collection of books and she's back this summer with The Glass Kitchen which is a novel about the promises and dedication at the heart of sisterhood.

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriques
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

Mary Kay Andrews is a favorite lady for summertime novels, like Ladies' Night and Summer Rental; this year's book, Save the Date draws on the wedding scene for a fun romance. Cristina Henriquez's novel of immigrant teenagers falling in love, The Book of Unknown Americans is being heralded for its beautiful writing and touching story. For the nonfiction readers, NastyGal founder Sophia Amoruso wrote a book about her experiences in entrepreneurship with the appropriately fierce title #GIRLBOSS. Meanwhile Beatriz Williams, whose novel A Hundred Summers was a favorite beach read for many, is back with the historical fiction The Secret Life of Violet Grant.

The Blessings by Elise Juska
The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

Another novel about the ups and downs of families, Elise Juska's The Blessings explores the impact of a loss in a large Irish-Catholic family; I've read some wonderful things about Juska's writing with this one. For a bit of mystery, Mary Vensel White's The Qualities of Wood tells of a husband and wife in the midst of a marital struggle and the dark discovery that will change their lives. Meanwhile Miranda Beverly-Whittemore tells of privilege, excess, and the unraveling of a wealthy family's reputation as secrets are exposed. And in The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street Susan Jane Gilman takes us across the decades from the 1910s to the 1970s as one little Jewish girl takes control of her future and shapes her own identity.

I hope you read lots of exciting and powerful books by women this summer! If you find a new/new-to-you female writer whose work has been particularly memorable for you feel free to stop by Literary Inklings or The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower and tell me all about it. Happy reading!

*These awesome recommendations were brought to you by the lovely Casee Marie! Be sure to visit her at her personal and book blogs. If you're interested in what I've been reading, you can check out my monthly updates here! Thanks for sharing, Casee!
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