March is Women’s History Month. What better way to celebrate than by reading novels with strong female protagonists? Here’s a list partly sourced from “Books for Women’s History Month to read on your commute” of some great reads to make your commute that much more worth it:

  1. Difficult Women By Roxane Gay
    • The author of “Bad Feminist” is back at it again, relaying the fictional lives of women and men of all stations, identities, and backgrounds in this assemblage of short stories.
  2. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race By Margot Lee Shetterly
    • Did you know the Oscar-nominated film of the same title is actually based on a novel? Set in the mid-1900s, this page-turner is the biographical account of three black, female intellectuals employed at NASA during the segregated period in its history.
  3. All Grown Up By Jami Attenberg
    • This is the story of a single 40-year-old by the name of Andrea Bern who lives – stigmatized – in New York. She was “Miss Independent” until an ill newborn niece and her best friend’s marriage shatter her grip on her secure life. If you like this novel, check out another Jami Attenberg’s other title, “The Middlesteins”.
  4. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
    • Enjoy this just-released memoir as it takes you through a tale about anguish, realization and the spectrum of battles amid these.
  5. Ten Days in A Mad-House By Nellie Bly
    • Join reporter Nellie Bly, in 1887, as she is checked into an insane asylum by feigning  insanity in order to get the inside scoop. Nellie Bly also penned “Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings” a book worth looking in to.

In addition to these, here are some personal recommendations, ranging from classics to another film-inspiring novel:

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    • The inspiration for the 2011 movie, “The Help”, this book chronicles the lives of black maids working for white employers in Jim Crow Mississippi. Immerse yourself in this story of heartbreak and hilarity.
  2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    • Arguably, Jane Austen’s most famous novel is “Pride and Prejudice”. If you have never considered picking it up, let me be the one to tell you that this classic has given rise to more than 9 films. The story is set during the time of the French Revolutionary War and follows Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters as they emerge into the world of womanhood: a world of marriage, desire, compromise, betrayal, heartache, and love.
  3. Emily Dickinson’s poems
    • Emily Dickson is one of the most famous female poets. She is known for her short works which center on deeply philosophical, naturalistic, jaded, critical, and introspective thoughts with themes of the morbid and spiritual frequently occurring. Dickson was a truly strong, independent, and witty woman and her slightly eccentric personality is evident in her vast collection of works.
  4. Jane Eyre - by Charlotte Brontë
    • Another classic. An early feminist masterpiece. “Jane Eyre” dives deeply into the consciousness of its heroine Jane Eyre as she enters womanhood and courts her Byronic love. The novel’s individualism and social criticism will definitely make you applaud (just maybe not in public).
  5. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
    • Unlike the last couple English works I’ve mentioned, this is an American masterpiece. Meg, Amy, Beth, and Jo March are sisters living an impoverished, domestic life during the American Civil War. These sisters are, themselves, embattled in their own wars: the war of providing for their families, the war of love, and, most importantly, the war of self-realization. If you like this book, Alcott also wrote several other books about the March sisters.