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Carly's avatar

Who are your favorite female authors, and why?

Asked by Carly (4555points) February 3rd, 2012

Looking through my collection of books, I’ve noticed that I don’t have many that were written by women. It’s definitely not on purpose, but still, it caused me to consider finding some female authors to read.

Do you have any suggestions? This question is also just for fun to hear what you guys have read. :)

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18 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

I like science fiction, and Catherine Asaro is one of my favorite SF authors.

Earthgirl's avatar

I like Edith Wharton because she lets you into a woman’s world in a different time and let’s you see it from the inside, Willa Cather because she has a way of making her protagonists come so alive that you feel like you know them as real people, Margaret Atwood because she pierces the veil of outward appearances and shows you the reality of society and the dangers of female subjugation,
Yannick Murphy (I have only read Signed, Mata Hari) because she expresses things so sensually,
Sarah Waters, for pretty much the same reason,lol
and Joyce Carol Oates for her social consciousness and dark realism.
Doris Lessing , and so many more…I am sure I am forgetting some!

Earthgirl's avatar

I forgot Toni Morrison!

jaytkay's avatar

Susan Orlean is living my dream. A smart, interesting writer who latches onto smart, interesting subjects. After she publishes the smart, interesting results, Hollwood descends and writes her a big check for the movie rights.

Her latest is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.

Rin Tin Tin actually won the first Best Actor Oscar, but they fudged the results to give the prize to a human. Susan Orlean is trying to correct that

Aethelflaed's avatar

J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and I are tight. Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre, and just one of my personal favorite historians), Hilary Mantel (A Place of Greater Safety and Wolf Hall), Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel’s Legacy), Sarah Vowell (The Wordy Shipmates), Marion Zimmer Bradley (Mists of Avalon),

Beyond that, I don’t really have many female fiction writers (though about a zillion female non-fiction writers), mostly because I’m not a huge fiction fan. But, Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Kate Atkinson, and Octavia Butler are all ones I know get regularly good reviews.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Anne Carson is one of two living authors whose work I will buy on sight without knowing anything about the book. She is a classicist and writes mostly about ancient Greece and translates classical Greek literature.

Her latest book Nox is a departure from the Greek. In it, she translates word by word a Latin poem to a dead brother. The book is a testament to her brother who had died. It’s an unusual book, though. It’s a box that contains an accordion of paper on which fragments of old letters and other objects along with text are found. It is mightily beautiful and mesmerizing.

Perhaps my favorite book of hers is Eros the Bittersweet, which is a book that I honestly think every writer should read.

Another writer I like very much is Jincy Willett. She has one book I particularly like: Winner of the National Book Award. That’s the name of the book. It didn’t actually win the award. It’s a tale of two sisters, twins, and it has what I believe to be the most beautiful opening line of any book I’ve ever read: “Lightning sought our mother out, when she was a young girl in Brown County, Indiana.”

If you want to venture into foreign writers, Marguerite Duras is excellent. Try her books The Lover and The War. The latter was made into a movie starring Catherine Deneuve.

Berserker's avatar

Tanith Lee. I first read The Book of the Mad and it enthralled me. She has some fucked up, disturbing way to grip you right out of your universe and slam you in hers. She writes sexy gothic horror/fantasy that just chills you to the bone, yet comforts you like a big puffy blanket. Her stories are often really weird and not traditional, yet she adds a flair of drama you can recognize and enjoy. She fuckin rocks. She’s very vivid and imaginative in her writing, that you wonder if these aren’t places she actually visited, rather than created.
Most especially though, I love how her material is emotionally poignant, which I say is a fine job when you consider the abstract factor of her creations. There’s a very human element among all the dudes with bird heads and crazy guys eating their poems.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Earthgirl : I’m completely mistaken. I can’t find where The War was made into a movie anywhere. I believe I’m remembering Indochine which did star Ms. Deneuve. I did see that movie of The Lover.

Interestingly, there was a movie made about Marguerite Duras called Cet Amour-La.

downtide's avatar

Some of my favourite fantasy books were written by women.
Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, Gael Baudino.

troubleinharlem's avatar

Well, I absolutely love Phillipa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl), Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), and Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian). There’s also the Austen books, Bronte, etc.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Limiting myself to people who have not already been mentioned:

Hoda Barakat
Simone de Beauvoir
Simin Behbahani
Gwendolyn Brooks
Rita Dove
Forough Farrokhzad
Madame de La Fayette
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Shahrnush Parsipur
Sylvia Plath
Marjane Satrapi
Anne Sexton
Jeanette Winterson

Kardamom's avatar

Fannie Flagg (quirky, funny, compassionate, is able to put you into a scene so completely that you forget you are reading a novel).

Ann B. Ross (her Miss Julia series about and older, Southern woman was so perfect in the way in which all of the ensemble characters are fleshed out that I can see them and hear them and want to sit down and talk with them. Very un-expected, very wry humor, great adventurous, yet down to earth story). Note: I was so enthralled with this series, that I actually had visions of movie actors who I knew were perfect for the characters, so I wrote to Ms. Ross and she actually wrote back to me! She was very nice and loved my idea, but said that there were no immediate plans that she knew of to make her books into movies. I think they would be splendid.

Gail Fraser (her Lumby series has created a wonderful set of characters that are both unique, but seem very familiar, as in I know these people! Her story is set in an idyllic scene, but there are silly situations, Wow! situations and hmmmm that sounds like a great idea situations). You will want to move to Lumby after reading her books.

Rosamunde Pilcher Her books are filled with rich dialogue, vivid 3 dimensional characters and she’s able to transport you to small villages and towns in England and Scotland and France in the blink of an eye. She is able to portray romance and longing in a way that is not sappy, just heartwarming and heartbreaking exactly how it needs to be. Her stories are usually very epic in scale, scanning time zones national boundaries.

Amy Tan (she is able to create scenes that are so vividly realistic that I have often forgotten where I am. She can take a story about an exotic place, with people that should be stranger to me, and make me know them in a way in which I think I must have dreamed of this myself. Sights and sounds and smells are rendered in such a way that you are there experiencing them for yourself)

Nancy Thayer is probably the most versatile and prolific of all of my favorite female authors. Her Hot Flash Club series dragged me in like a best friend saying, “Hey come on over, we’ll have dinner and go on an adventure!.” Don’t be fooled by the silly title. This series is about a group of independent, interesting women of a certain age who come together by fate, then end up being each other’s anchors in a the stormy sea called “Life as an older female.” But then I discovered some of Ms. Thayer’s other books and I was blown away by the contrast in how they were written. It’s almost as if An Act of Love or The Summer House were written by completely different authors. The Hot Flash series is yummy and cozy and sometimes bittersweet, but very comforting. An Act of Love blew me away with the horrific subject matter and all of the painful situations and perceptions that follow in the aftermath. The Summer House was like a really well made Made for TV romance, coming of age tale. But if I had not known the author’s name, I would have sworn that they were all very different authors.

Sandra Dallas (her books are American period pieces that feature strong women who are still in the learning process. Dialogue is spot on and there is always a mystery and a theme of quilting or sewing or stitching involved. I ate up The Persian Pickle Club and Alice’s Tulips like a big bowl of warm soup.

stardust's avatar

I love Donna Tartt. I find her style intelligent, witty, dark, etc, etc. She weaves together many different facets about the nature of life, politics, society, the human psyche in the most enthralling way. She is definitely worth looking into.
Ayn Rand is another favourite of mine. Her style of writing is very unique and modern. It leads one to constantly stop and question oneself, society, human nature, etc
Sylvia Plath – most definitely my favourite female writer
Virginia Woolf – there’s so much at work in her writing.
Some of the above mentioned too.

MilkyWay's avatar

From the top of my head:
Torey Hayden : I love her unique veiwpoint on things she writes about.
Malorie Blackman : I used to love reading her books a few years ago, she writes with feeling and you tend to forget it’s a book, her writing style is one which I can easily feel and relate to.
Jane Austen : Need I say anything at all? She’s an absolute legend
Enid Blyton : Another childhood favourite. Witty, dark and enjoyable stuff.
Susan Cooper : Her books are mysterious, very well written. I still remember the details of her stories, it’s impossible to forget. This stuff stays with you.
Sadie Jones : Quite a different yet enjoyable style I think. Her books are well paced and I really enjoyed reading her book ‘The Outcast’ especially.

gailcalled's avatar

(I don’t think I am repeating names here. These are all novelists).

Margaret Atwood
Margaret Drabble
Annie La Mott
Jane Proulx
Anne Perry
Elizabeth George
P.D. James
Ruth Rendell
Ursula Le Guin
Arundhati Roy
Maeve Binchy
Barbara Kingsolver
Jodi Picoult

lonelydragon's avatar

Daphne du Maurier. She is a master of suspense who creates psychologically intriguing, morally ambiguous characters.

DaisyMae's avatar

I enjoy all these female authors for the same reason. They have something to say about the human condition:

George Eliot
Emily Bronte
Edith Wharton
Amy Tan
Toni Morrison
Virginia Woolf
Zora Neale Hurston
Jane Austen

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