15 Books Every Woman Should Read in Her Lifetime

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Resilient female protagonists, haunting love stories, extraordinary adventures, and nourishing words of wisdom are just some of the things you should expect to find in this literary roundup. From classic masterpieces such as Anna Karenina and Jane Eyre to books by women who are giving a voice to our generation, Savoir Flair has compiled – in no particular order – a list of the 15 must-read books that will change your life for the better.


'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy

In what is considered by some to be the greatest book ever written, Leo Tolstoy tells the tale of one of the raciest and most talked-about love affairs in the history of literature – a married aristocrat falls in love with a young Russian soldier. The novel charts the disastrous course of the affair, all the while capturing the spectacular tapestry of late 19th-century Russian society.

Purchase the book here.


'Everything I Never Told You' by Celeste Ng

This beautiful novel tells the story of a mixed race American-Chinese family in the wake of the loss of their eldest daughter, Lydia. Celeste Ng’s story is not only a gripping page-turner, but also thoughtfully examines the complexity of being a family in a small American town during the 1970s.

Purchase the book here.


'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker

Set in Georgia, this book tells the shocking and uplifting coming-of-age story of Celie and the letters she writes to God across a span of 20 years. With the release of The Color Purple, Alice Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

Purchase the book here.


'Lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s controversial book on women and leadership has been shaping the popular discourse on how women should behave in the workplace since its release last March. Whether you agree with her girl-power creed or not, pick up a copy of the book to get involved in the debate.

Purchase the book here.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

'Beloved' by Toni Morrison

Filled with poetry and suspense, Beloved is a spellbinding novel by American writer Toni Morrison. Set after the American Civil War, the story tracks an African-American slave named Margaret Garner, who temporarily escapes slavery during the year 1856. The novel touches upon mother-daughter relationships and the haunting psychological impact of slavery.

Purchase the book here.


'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë’s novel features Jane Eyre, who is easily one of the most strong-willed female protagonists in the history of literature. The book encapsulates the timeless themes of women’s equality, religious faith, and the constraints of society.

Purchase the book here.


'The God of Small Things' by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things tells the story of a family living in India after the Declaration of Independence. Touching on themes of class relations, cultural tensions, forbidden love, and social discrimination, Arundhati Roy’s must-read novel has sold over six million copies and been translated into 40 languages.

Purchase the book here.


'A Room of One’s Own' by Virginia Woolf

“A woman must have money and a room of her own,” is the key thesis of this series of extended essays by Virginia Woolf. Published in 1929, this feminist text argues for space for women writers within a literary landscape that is traditionally dominated by men.

Purchase the book here.


'My Life in France' by Julia Child

My Life in France is the captivating true story of Julia Child’s experience of studying French food and falling in love with the country’s rich culture. The book will not only remind you of the simple joy of cooking, but also teach you about the importance of taking risks and living out your dreams.

Purchase the book here.


'White Oleander' by Janet Fitch

Set in Los Angeles, White Oleander follows Astrid, a young teenager who journeys through several foster homes after her mother goes to prison for committing a crime of passion. This story explores forgiveness, coming of age, and the complex relationship between mother and daughter.

Purchase the book here.


'Bossypants' by Tina Fey

Credited with creating one of the best sitcoms on television, Tina Fey is a role model for smart, quirky women everywhere. Her memoir covers everything from her family to her rise to fame – all written from Fey’s hilarious point of view.

Purchase the book here.


'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini

Set against the backdrop of Afghanistan during the past 30 years, this novel showcases the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. The Kite Runner, written by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, is a sweeping story of love, betrayal, and redemption.

Purchase the book here.


'Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo' by Hayden Herrera

What better way is there to be inspired than reading about the lives of inspiring women? Cue this biography of one of Mexico’s greatest artists, which artfully tells the story of Frida Kahlo’s art as well as her relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera.

Purchase the book here.


'How to Walk in High Heels' by Camilla Morton

For a crash course in the finer points of life – everything from what to do when a heel breaks to appreciating modern art – this book is brimming with nuggets of wisdom. Learn from industry experts such as Manolo Blahnik, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gisele Bündchen.

Purchase the book here.


'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Tracy Chevalier

Set in 17th-century Holland, Girl with a Pearl Earring is the story of a 16-year-old Dutch girl who becomes a maid in the house of a beloved painter. Filled with elegant prose and emotional turbulence, the book narrows in on what exactly drives artistic motivation.

Purchase the book here.

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