Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Bookshelf of Our Own ~ a different kind of teaser

Yesterday I picked up another book from the library: A Bookshelf of Our Own by Deborah G. Felder (2005). Felder selected "the fifty most important and admired books by and about women." These books, she says, have defined and shaped our experiences since the Middle Ages. Maria Kochis, in her review for Library Journal, said, "Stretching across the millennium, these works of literature have made the case for female autonomy and helped lay the groundwork for modern-day feminism." I haven't read the book yet, obviously, but I'm curious about her selections.


Here are the fifty books she chose, many of which I have read.  There's a second list of Felder's "Honorable Mentions."  Pick one (or more) of these and tell me how the book was meaningful to you.  You are welcome to tell me how many you have read, if you want to, but I'm especially interested in how any of these books may have shaped any of us, personally.  Is there a book you think should have been listed?  Tell us why.  I'll even write something in the comments myself, after I look over the list and think about it.

Felder's Fifty

The Tale of Genji ~ by Murasaki Shikibu
The Book of the City of Ladies ~ by Christine de Pisan
The Princess of Cleves ~ by Madame de La Fayette
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman ~ by Mary Wollstonecraft
Emma ~ by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre ~ by Charlotte Bronte
The Scarlet Letter ~ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Madame Bovary ~ by Gustave Falubert
Little Women ~ by Louisa May Alcott
Middlemarch ~ by George Eliot
Anna Karenina ~ by Leo Tolstoy
A Doll's House ~ by Henrik Ibsen
Tess of the d'Urbervilles ~ by Thomas Hardy
The Yellow Wallpaper ~ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Awakening ~ by Kate Chopin
The House of Mirth ~ by Edith Wharton
My Antonia ~ by Willa Cather
Cheri ~ by Colette
A Room of One's Own ~ by Virginia Woolf
Gone with the Wind ~ by Margaret Mitchell
Gaudy Night ~ by Dorothy L. Sayers
Their Eyes Were Watching God ~ by Zora Neale Hurston
The Diary of a Young Girl ~ by Anne Frank
The Second Sex ~ by Simone de Beauvoir
Century of Struggle: The Women's Rights Movement in the United States ~ by Eleanor Flexner
The Little Disturbances of Man ~ by Grace Paley
The Golden Notebook ~ by Doris Lessing
The Feminine Mystique ~ by Betty Friedan
The Bell Jar ~ by Sylvia Plath
Wide Sargasso Sea ~ by Jean Rhys
Sexual Politics ~ by Kate Millett
Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement ~ compiled and edited by Robin Morgan
The Female Eunuch ~ by Germaine Greer
Black Women in White America: A Documentary History ~ compiled and edited by Gerda Lerner
From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies ~ by Molly Haskell
Fear of Flying ~ by Erica Jong
Against Our Will ~ by Susan Brownmiller
Looking for Mr. Goodbar ~ by Judith Rossner
The Woman Warrior ~ by Maxine Hong Kingston
Of Woman Born ~ by Adrienne Rich
The Women's Room ~ by Marilyn French
Silences ~ by Tillie Olsen
Women, Race & Class ~ by Angela Davis
The House of the Spirits ~ by Isabel Allende
Beloved ~ by Toni Morrison
The Shawl ~ by Cynthia Ozick
Backlash ~ by Susan Faludi
The Beauty Myth ~ by Naomi Wolf
Bridget Jones's Diary ~ by Helen Fielding
The Bitch in the House ~ compiled and edited by Cathi Hanauer

Honorable Mentions

Twenty Years at Hull House ~ by Jane Addams
Bastard Out of Carolina ~ by Dorothy E. Allison
Kinflicks ~ by Lisa Alther
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents ~ by Julia Alvarez
The Handmaid's Tale ~ by Margaret Atwood
Pride and Prejudice ~ by Jane Austen
Persuasion ~ by Jane Austen
The Death of the Heart ~ by Elizabeth Bowen
Villette ~ by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights ~ by Emily Bronte
Rubyfruit Jungle ~ by Rita Mae Brown
Pavilion of Women ~ by Pearl Buck
Evelina ~ by Fanny Burney
The Three Sisters ~ by Anton Chekhov
The House on Mango Street ~ by Sandra Cisneros
Happy All the Time ~ by Laurie Colwin
The Hours ~ by Michael Cunningham
Life in the Iron Mills ~ by Rebecca Harding Davis
Moll Flanders ~ by Daniel Defoe
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ~ by Annie Dillard
Rebecca ~ by Daphne du Maurier
Cold Mountain ~ by Charles Frazier
The Second Stage ~ by Betty Friedan
The Fountain of Age ~ by Betty Friedan
Women in the Nineteenth Century ~ by Margaret Fuller
Wives and Daughters ~ by Elizabeth Gaskell
In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development ~ by Carol Gilligan
Burgher's Daughter ~ Nadine Gordimer
Writing a Woman's Life ~ by Carolyn Heilbrun
The Children's Hour ~ by Lillian Hellman
Frida ~ by Hayden Herrera
The Portrait of a Lady ~ by Henry James
At the Bottom of the River ~ by Jamaica Kincaid
Interpreter of Maladies ~ by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Women ~ Clare Booth Luce
The Group ~ by Mary McCarthy
The Member of the Wedding ~ by Carson McCullers
'Night Mother ~ by Marsha Norman
them ~ by Joyce Carol Oates
Popcorn Venus ~ by Marjorie Rosen
The Magnificent Spinster ~ by May Sarton
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen ~ by Alix Kates Shulman
A Thousand Acres ~ by Jane Smiley
The Joy Luck Club ~ by Amy Tan
Breathing Lessons ~ by Anne Tyler
How I Learned to Drive ~ by Paula Vogel
The Color Purple ~ by Alice Walker
The Heidi Chronicles ~ by Wendy Wasserstein
Delta Wedding ~ by Eudora Welty
Mrs. Dalloway ~ by Virginia Woolf


Anonymous said...

The Feminine Mystique ~ by Betty Friedan

Without question this book had the most impact. I was in college and struggling and one of my male professors suggested I read this. He thought it would really be meaningful to me and it was. I changed my focus and became a major feminist and absolutely changed my life and gave me purpose.

susan said...

Well, first of all, I clearly have a lot of reading to do. Second, while I love seeing Hurston listed I wish when it comes to black writers these lists didn't limit themselves to the top 5 of black women writers. Based on these list you think only 5 black women have written anything that would appeal to all women.

I've read a few of the poc books. I came to the feminist party late. I've said it before that I felt I was a feminist by default but I didn't identify with the movement.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Susan, I don't think this book is specifically for feminists. It lists books by and about women that she considers "important and admired." Not all are by women, but are ABOUT women. And Felder doesn't say all these books appeal to all women. Something about each of these books, according to the author, made a difference to our lives. I haven't finished it yet, but I'll write a review then.