You can’t live or experience it all in one life, which is why you need to learn from others’ experiences as you go along. And what better than reading the details of a person’s life, a someone whose life is truly worth emulating. We bring to you some of the most inspiring and thought provoking biographies and autobiographies of all times of women who lived a life less ordinary, shattering stereotypes and gender related myths in the bargain.
The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank
At a time when Jews were being persecuted under Hitler’s regime, Anne Frank was the braveheart who, for two years, tried to hide from the Nazis, while documenting her experiences until she was killed at one of the concentration camps. Her father Otto Frank, the only surviving member from the Frank family later put this everlasting piece of life that his daughter created in times that were most tragically unforgettable. To this day, the book forms a critical piece of academic literature in many parts of the world.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou
This book is what you need to give to that adolescent girl with low self-esteem you care about. It’s the ‘phenomenal woman’ Maya Angelou’s journey of 16 very astonishing years, where she transitioned from an unaware young girl of color with self-image issues to a young mother, and came to terms with racism issues in American society. Maya Angelo went on to become a civil right activist and writer, inspiring millions through her life journey.
Orange is the New Black: Piper Kerman
Most of us are hooked into this successful Netflix series about women in American prison. Truth is, it’s a memoir of a woman caught in drug money laundering, her encounters with a diverse range of women around her in jail and how she battles to keep her existence against the American penal system.
Persepolis-The Story of an Iranian Childhood: Marjane Satrapi
This one is a graphic novel, a style of literary self -expression gaining popularity by the day. Persepolis literally means ‘the Persian city’. The book is an artistic expression of the times of Islamic Revolution in Iran, as seen from the eyes of a young girl. The book was made into an animated film in 2007 . Newsweek regarded this as the 5th best non-fiction piece of literature in the decade.
The Bell Jar: Sylvia Plath
She was the first person to win a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. The book ‘Bell Jar’ is regarded as more of a semi-autobiographical novel, where she shares her own experiences with depression and suicidal tendencies. Relevant poetry use makes the experience of reading it more engaging and full of optimism. However, she committed suicide 21 days after it was published, by puting her head into an oven. One must also read one of her many biographies by various authors, especially the one by Linda Wagner-Martin which seems to be most well researched.
Alive, Alive Oh! : Diana Athill
A year short of a century, this woman has seen it all- both world wars and resettling in the European civilization. All her life, she wrote about her sexual experiences as a woman, and this one is like a closing tell-all tale of her life’s experiences. More than anything else, this book is a must read for understanding female sexuality spanning over some of the toughest times in history.
I am Malala: Malala Yousafzai
It usually takes people a lifetime to actually do something that’s not only worth writing, but also being put out there in the universe as this piece of literature for others to read. But we all know Malala. All that she has ever done is to defy the constructs of age that we carry within us. ‘I am Malala’ is just that- a memoir of the experiences that she and many girls in Pakistan face when they step out of their domestic zones of protection. The Nobel laureate, who is regarded as the most significant teenager of the 21st century, pens her battle and ongoing struggle for education for women.
Iris Grace: Arabella Carter Johnson
If someone in your family or kins has been hit with the misfortune of having a child with intellectual disability, try gifting them this bio about the story of a 6 year old autistic girl and a cat that changed not only her life, but the life of her family forever. It’s a remarkable journey of a young disabled girl, who is seen as a liability, but transcends into success and inspiration.
Hard Choices: Hillary Rodham Clinton
She could create history in this era of women’s uprising by becoming the first lady president of the United States of America. Its a good time to get this one, as it holds answers to many of the allegations that are being slapped at her in the epic election battle. It’s a book about life choices and how they shape up (I believe it will inspire you to question yours).