Updated: May 30, 2019
What a lovely week the Glitter team have had! We've been busy reaching out to you guys on social media to find out more about the books you love and there are certainly so many great ones out there! If you're anything like us you're always looking for something inspirational and empowering , so we've rounded up the following classics for this week's Lifestyle Blog as 5 Books Every Woman should be reading right now!
Warning: Contains Spoilers!
1. Beloved, by Toni Morrison.
"You are your best thing...You are."Denver.
Sethe is an escaped slave who, when faced with the possibility of recapture, takes the decision to murder her children rather than subject them to the harsh realities of Kentucky.
A powerfully graphic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, set in the 1870s and revolving around America's history of slavery. It is based, in part, on the compelling true story of Margaret Garner whose tragic case grabbed the attention of the American public when she was tried for infanticide in the 1850s.
The tale of Beloved unravels when we meet Sethe years later living as a free woman in post civil war Ohio, where she is tormented not only by a poltergeist, but further haunted through the arrival of Beloved, a young girl who may or may not be the reincarnation of her dead daughter. Written in the gothic style where the natural world becomes interwoven with the mystical, modern readers, when opening the book, might be forgiven for thinking they’d stepped into the plot of a Stephen King novel. But the story of Sethe is much more than just another chilling or cautionary tale, and as we journey through, it reveals itself as a testimony to intense love, grief, the consequences of trauma and a study in the limits of devotion and human endurance. Beautiful as it is devastating, once read the tale of Beloved is unforgettable. ★★★★★
2.The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
"Freedom, like everything else, is relative." Offred.
Set some time in the future, we meet Offred, who relates her tale of life in the monotheocracy of Gilead (formerly the USA). The action takes place in a time when the birthrate has declined dramatically and the human race is faced with potentially disastrous environmental problems. Gilead is now ruled by a fundamentalist Christian group who have replaced the former democracy and are set on restoring Biblical rule in order to save the "fallen world." In accordance with the new Government's vision, women are now devoid of all rights and Handmaids are property, kept as "breeders'' in the patriarchal households of the Guardians and their wives. More relevant and poignant today than when it was written, the author is uncompromising in her descriptions and attention to detail, creating an intriguing yet terrifying vision.★★★★★
3. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank.
'As long as this exists, this sunshine and cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?'' Anne Frank.
In July 1942, the Frank family, like many other Jewish families of this period were forced to flee the horrors of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands.
For the next two years, the family's youngest member Anne would chronicle day to day events in a diary received as her 13th birthday gift, less than a month before the family's move into hiding.
Within the claustrophobic confines of her new home, the secret annex, Anne set about writing her diary, the entries addressed to a fictional character named Kitty, and till the present day her diary remains one of the most widely read accounts of Jewish life during the years of the Holocaust.
Surprisingly humorous at times and candid throughout, Anne is unreserved as she describes her relationships and feelings about the events unfolding around her. In many ways the diary entrees are no different to the musings of any other teenager, we experience her first crush, her first kiss, and her hopes for the future, revelations which become all the more poignant and tragic when we are reminded that this is set against a back drop of war torn Europe and her fear of discovery. Profoundly moving, The Diary Of A Young Girl is an exploration of hope and the resilience of the human spirit. A must-read. ★★★★★
4.The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.
"I'm here! I'm here!" Celie.
Winner of the Pulitzer and National Book Award, The Color Purple is an emotional and inspirational tale of an African-American woman named Celie who is born in the deep American South into an abusive and impoverished family.
Having mothered 2 children by her stepfather, only to have them taken from her, Celie is then married off to a widower and is subjected to both physical and psychological abuse in addition to ritual humiliation as she tries to care for him and his 3 children. Separated from her sister Nettie, Celie's only ally, she strikes a lonely, tragic figure, that is until the arrival of her husband's mistress Shug Avery, as the two women gradually form a surprising and close bond. Throughout the novel we watch Celie‘s metamorphosis from a timid mouse into a strong, courageous figure, championing her own independence and the victory of the human spirit.
Controversial, having often been banned due to its explicit descriptions of racism, sexual content, and graphic violence, once read, The Colour Purple is unforgettable as a tale that examines female sexuality, the meaning of sisterhood and its limits. ★★★★★
5. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.
"Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand."Anna Karenina.
Often referred to as the finest novel ever written, Anna Karenina tells the story of obsessive love, adultery and the price that our heroine ultimately pays for pursuing her desires. Set in nineteenth century Russia the novel plays out against the conservative backdrop of an imperialist patriarchy.
After a chance meeting on a train journey our heroine, the much admired, married but bored Anna becomes increasingly infatuated and falls in love with the handsome Vronsky. The two embark on a passionate affair the discovery of which leads her to leave her husband and to be forcibly separated from her child, whereupon she becomes a social outcast, whereas Vronsky's part in their affair is excused and he is welcomed back into society. Denied a divorce by her husband, Anna is forced to live as Vronsky's mistress and as such she finds herself shunned by former friends. Over a relatively short period of time, she becomes increasingly isolated while her possessiveness and insecurity towards her lover intensifies, leading to tragic consequences.
A powerful examination of a society's double standards, where the indiscretions of men are deemed acceptable and those of women can condemn them to a life of shame and exclusion. Our heroine Anna is by no means without her shortcomings, however by the end of the novel we are left with a feeling that her fate, had she not been born a woman would have been very different. ★★★★★
Have we included any of your favourites here? Do you have any recommendations to add to our list? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!
Photo Credits: Many thanks to the afore mentioned for their kind collaboration.