International Women’s Day 2016

In honour of International Women’s Day I’ve decided to tell you all about some of my favourite books by female authors!

Ru, by Kim Thúy

This book, written in vignettes, was originally published in French and then translated into English. It’s beautifully written, and can be finished in an afternoon; yes, it’s that captivating. Kim Thúy has eloquently penned her story on these pages, and brings you from Vietnam to a refugee camp in Malaysia, and ends off in Quebec, Canada. However, the story is told from the perspective of the main character, An Tinh; it is based on Thúy’s experiences (so, autobiographical fiction). Reading through this story, you learn about the struggles, hopes, dreams, aspirations and fears of this small girl, forced into making a new life for herself, as she searches for herself and her home.

The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

I remember reading this book in university, and immediately loved it. It’s written by Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros, and tells the story of a young girl, Esperanza Cordero, growing up in Chicago. Similarly to Ru, it is written in vignettes, and is beautiful. However, the vignettes are not in chronological order, so the reader is forced to piece the story together. The House on Mango Street weaves together Esperanza’s story as she goes through her teenage years, and becomes a young adult. She struggles to find herself, but finds solace in writing. This helps her discover herself and her culture, and allows her to make a better life for herself by eventually leaving Mango Street; however, Esperanza vows to always remember her roots.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

If you’re a young twenty-something, fresh out of college and trying to figure out who you are and where you belong, this is the book for you. It’s comforting to know that others, albeit fictional characters, experience the same struggles and pains as you do. What’s not so comforting is learning that the author of one of your favourite books committed suicide because she was so depressed. The Bell Jar explores the life and mind of its main character, Esther Greenwood, and her battle with mental illness. The story is, inevitably, dark, but worth reading. 

All three of these books have obvious links to International Women’s Day — they are written by females — but their larger themes are also extremely important and still topical in today’s world. So today, celebrate all the women you know, everywhere, and take the time to reflect on their journeys, struggles and successes. All of these stories are important, and make us who we are. 

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