Best Women Author Recommendations

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, 1818

Historically, women (and people of color) have been sorely underrepresented on many reading lists. To help change that, we're highlighting women authors who more than deserve your attention. 

Discover classic women authors who flew under the radar with male pen names, and re-discover those who broke the mold and dominated their genres (hello, Agatha Christie!) or invented new ones (see: the history of Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein). 

You can also browse books by Black women, by early Irish female writers, or even books by royal women. For more modern and global women’s fiction, we suggest books that pass the Bechdel test, books by Elena Ferrante, and even books by women crime writers. Regardless of what you’re looking for,  all of the recommendations below will add some much-needed feminine perspective to your reading list.

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How Ruth Gruber Helped 1000 European Refugees Find Asylum in America

In Haven, the award-winning journalist recounts her incredible—and controversial—involvement in the rescue of thousands of Jews.

Alice Walker Tells Readers: "Don’t Despair"

"Do we turn on others, or toward others? Do we share our awakening, or only our despair?"

10 Authors Like Louise Penny

Because you need something to hold you over until her next book.

13 Books Like The Girl on the Train

Question everything—especially your own assumptions.

14 Books Like Harry Potter for Adult Readers

Because the wizarding world doesn’t have to end at Hogwarts.

The Enduring Charm of Margery Sharp

Discover the heartfelt work of this under-appreciated author.

5 Beloved Characters Who Shaped Our Identity

We're still taking our cues from our literary kid-heroes.

The Re-Read: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is imperfect—and far more appealing for it.

The Laborious Birth of Jane Eyre

Discover the story behind Jane Eyre in Juliet Barker's astounding biography, The Brontës.

Heathcliff, It’s Me: The Best Brontë Movie Adaptations

Who's your favorite Heathcliff and Rochester?

9 Extraordinary Biographies About Strong Women

Dig into the histories of women who shaped the world.

Valley of the Dolls: 50 Years Later

For its 50th anniversary, Jacqueline Susann's misunderstood novel gets a re-read.

You Do You: 5 Novels for Self-Discovery

These books are sure to set you on your way to "shelf" awareness.

The Re-Read: Little Women

Were we too young to appreciate Alcott's classic novel?

Girl Squad: Fierce Females Throughout History

If girl squads were a thing in the past, these gals would put Taylor and her supermodels to shame.

5 Early Female Irish Writers

Ireland was home to some of the most forward-thinking female writers.

Gloria Steinem on Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower

A celebration of Octavia Butler's groundbreaking science-fiction novel.

Tainted Love: 4 Macabre Literary Love Stories

Love means never having to say you're sorry for exhuming your dead wife's corpse.

Valentine’s Day Antidote: Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Fight reductive HEA (Happily Ever After) with Charlotte Brontë's last, best, novel.