Thoughts and other Miscellany

Musing Mondays – Required Reading

This week’s Musing Monday asks:

What do you think are the top 5 books every woman should read?

I think this is a silly question, for exactly the same reason that the HuffPo article has got so many people annoyed. We should read whatever we want, man or woman, and I don’t think that there are any books that you must read if you are a woman but are less important if you are male, or vice versa.

I think everyone should read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, regardless of their gender – we gave this to three of my (male) cousins for Christmas one year. Lee is so right about so many things – injustice in the legal system, racial injustice, education and feminism. I would bet there are very few readers who realise that Scout is a girl in the first few pages.

It really concerns me that lots of the “must read books for women” popping up on lists at the moment are either diet related or self-help in other ways (coping with children, stress, relationships, religion, a messy house, job dissatisfaction, whatever). Have we really got to such a vacuous idea of women that the only books we must read are those to make ourselves thinner? What happened to education, of encouraging women to reach for the stars, to take over the boardroom and take back the right to be guilt-free homemakers? In an era in which The Hunger Games is being hailed for having a strong female protagonist because it’s so rare and in which we still judge businesswomen on their style and family lives (would these things even come up for discussion in interviews with businessmen?), this is the best we can do? Come on girls, we can do a better job for the sisterhood here.

Of course, if you’re just looking for recommendations, I do read a lot of books which would probably appeal to more women than men; check out my (soon to be reorganised) review archive for lists of books I have read – the ratings should give you an idea of the quality of a book.


8 thoughts on “Musing Mondays – Required Reading”

  1. We are of a similar thought on this answer.. I love a question that allows me to rant a bit.

  2. Books just need to be read, and if I had to pick five now, they would be a different five if I picked ones tomorrow.

    I am interested to see what people come up with if they do pick five. This has made me think and the article has simply annoyed me! Grrrr

  3. I agree that it’s silly to make gender a factor in choosing books. I chose books that are influential to me.

  4. The one “must-read” book I foisted on my daughter was Making Money Made Simple by Noel Whittaker (in an edition tailored for our country). I think a good financial literacy book is almost essential for all young adults, irrespective of gender, like the road code.
    The only book that I was tempted to give her specifically because she’s female is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. However, that is based on his Oprah appearances.. I haven’t actually read the book.

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