Wednesday, December 19, 2007

100 Most Influential Books by Women

Grabbed this over at reading is my superpower; it is supposedly the 100 most influential books written by women. This is a somewhat commercially slanted and current list, actually I would almost say 'pop.' Annie was astounded at the lack of Jane Austen, I'm equally miffed at the lack of May Sarton, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott and Lillian Hellman, but very pleased to see Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Pat Barker, Dawn Powell and Iris Murdoch. I guess it's only 100 titles, so it will never please anyone. It does give me some great titles and writers to add to the TBR pile (just what I needed!). I'm going to update the rules - bold the ones you've read (I'm putting them in red, since my background is black- easier to see) and add one missing title at the bottom, and pass it on.

1. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
2. Anne Rice, Interview With the Vampire

3. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
4. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
5. Virginia Woolf, The Waves
6. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
7. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
8. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
9. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
10. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome

11. Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
12. Nadine Gordimer, Burger’s Daughter
13. Harriette Simpson Arnow, The Dollmaker
14. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
15. Willa Cather, My √Āntonia
16. Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

17. Erica Jong, Fanny
18. Joy Kogawa, Obasan
19. Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
20. Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child

21. Doris Lessing, The Grass Is Singing
22. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
23. Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time

24. Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
25. Lore Segal, Her First American
26. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
27. Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland
28. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
29. Muriel Spark, Memento Mori
30. Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
31. Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
32. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
33. Susan Fromberg Shaeffer, Anya
34. Cynthia Ozick, Trust
35. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
36. Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife
37. Ann Beattie, Chilly Scenes of Winter
38. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

39. Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer
40. Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays
41. Mary McCarthy, The Group
42. Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps
43. Grace Paley, The Little Disturbances of Man
44. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
45. Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
46. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
47. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood
48. Mona Simpson, Anywhere But Here
49. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
50. Toni Morrison, Beloved
51. Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
52. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mr. Fortune’s Maggot
53. Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools
54. Laura Riding, Progress of Stories
55. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
56. Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
57. Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits
58. A.S. Byatt, Possession
59. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
60. Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle
61. Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
62. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
63. Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
64. Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
65. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
66. Barbara Pym, Excellent Women
67. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
68. Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
69. Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

70. Nancy Willard, Things Invisible to See
71. Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
72. Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Disturbances in the Field
73. Rosellen Brown, Civil Wars
74. Harriet Doerr, Stones for Ibarra
75. Harriet Doerr, The Mountain Lion
76. Stevie Smith. Novel on Yellow Paper
77. E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
78. Rebecca Goldstein, The Mind-Body Problem
79. P.D. James, The Children of Men
80. Ursula Hegi, Stones From the River
81. Fay Weldon, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
82. Katherine Mansfield, Collected Stories
83. Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
84. Louise Erdrich, The Beet Queen
85. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
86. Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy
87. Margaret Drabble, Realms of Gold
88. Margaret Drabble, The Waterfall
89. Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King
90. Marilyn French, The Women’s Room
91. Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter
92. Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries (I just reviewed this one!)
93. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
94. Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle
95. Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
96. Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head
97. Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day
98. Alice Hoffman, The Drowning Season
99. Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
100. Penelope Mortimer, The Pumpkin Eater
101. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

45 out of 101, and you?


Sheila O'Malley said...

Jane Smiley and no Charlotte Bronte?

What a bizarre list.

Anonymous said...

I like your idea... I'd add Pride & Prejudice & Bridget Jones' Diary (since the list IS pop, as you said).

Ted said...

Sheila - Truly, oh and Janet Frame, Alice Munro and Margaret Yourcenar, and since it says books and not fiction how about Rachel Carson and Barbara Tuchman?

Annie - Thanks for the great list - let's see if it turns into 200 most influential books by women!

Kagemusha said...

I perfectly adore Joan Didion... just got a copy of Play it as It Lays...

Ted said...

JCR - Didion is relentlessly observant - whatever it takes. She is pretty amazing!

Sheila O'Malley said...

And Rebecca West - is she on there? I'd be hard pressed to think of a better non-fiction book (by male or female) than Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.

(which - if you haven't read ... I beg of you to put on your radar. Yes, it's 5,387 pages long. But you can dip into it and out of it ... it would go along well with the Balkan trilogy you've been reading as well. Amazing book!!)

Sheila O'Malley said...

3 by Doris Lessing and none by Charlotte Bronte???


Trying to let it go now.

Not a Lessing fan anyway, so I'm biased.

Anonymous said...

Nothing by Nadine Gordimer...I'm surprised. How do they put these things together? Still, interesting list!

Anonymous said...

ooops, okay ONE by Gordimer...but that still seems a little slim!

Iliana said...

Ooh I have to snag this from you and post my list. Where is Margaret Atwood on this list! :)

Ted said...

bookgirl - please do.

Iliana said...

Ah, I just re-read through the list and Margaret Atwood is on it. I just posted my list :)

Anonymous said...

I think Austen, the Brontes, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Christina Rosetti, Simone de Beauvoir, Rebecca West, Maya Angelou, Germaine Greer, Francis Burney, Florence Nightingale's Cassandra and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin should be on this list.

To me, the 100 most influential novels by women means the novels that have changed or impacted literature and/or the world the most, so the list should include books that have had a great influence (whether you personally like them or not). Surely a list like this requires a lot of research? Books can be influential for the most surprising reasons.