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What books written by women should my husband read?

(79 Posts)
MrsDrThorne Mon 05-Jun-17 22:22:21

By his own admission my well educated and pretty well read husband has read naff all books by women. He went to a boys only school with a teacher who was obsessed by a certain male author and didn't study English Literature past GCSE. So bar some Val McDermid, Wolf Hall, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and some Sarah Walters he has read NO books written by women. He reads a lot and likes crime, historical crime eg CJ Sansom, surrealist literature and dry humour. Among his favourite writers are Mikhail Bulgakov, Ian Rankin and Henning Mankell. (He loves a series). He doesn't want to read anything too 'challenging' but is going to try The Handmaid's Tale as we are both loving the C4 adaptation. I don't think he would like Eliot or Austen but am going to insist he tries Wuthering Heights. What else do you think he should try??

Backingvocals Mon 05-Jun-17 22:32:38

I'm not fussed about Wuthering Heights really but Jane Eyre is a book that everyone should read imho. Especially if they want to understand how women have been powerless but are also powerful.

If you want page-turners, I'm not sure you can beat Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

If he wouldn't like Jane Austen (who is the queen of dry humour) then you may have to consider leaving him.

YoullNeverWeeAlone Mon 05-Jun-17 22:33:36

Dorothy L Sayers, Antonia Fraser and PD James are all female crime writers I've enjoyed.

Also Kate Atkinson - I like all her books but the Jackson Brodie ones are probably good for a crime fan.

If he likes Handmaid's Tale, I love lots of Atwood. Alias Grace is probably favourite, although Robber Bride and Cats Eye up there. Oh and the Blind Assassin.

ImperialBlether Mon 05-Jun-17 22:34:49

Get him to read Jane Eyre and then get him to read Wide Sargasso Sea. His mind will be blown!

Backingvocals Mon 05-Jun-17 22:42:13

Oh yes the recent Kate Atkinson ones. Life After Life.

AprilLady Mon 05-Jun-17 22:44:11

If he likes crime, then I think P D James could be a good choice? Her very first novels were quite basic whodunnits, and the less said about Death Comes to Pemberley the better, but the mid series Adam Dalgliesh novels are usually good reads.

honeysucklejasmine Mon 05-Jun-17 22:46:56

Wouldn't like Austen?! Is there such a person? 😱

squoosh Mon 05-Jun-17 22:47:24

Sue Townsend
Barbara Vine
Curtis Sittenfeld

Birdsbeesandtrees Mon 05-Jun-17 22:47:58

Living Dolls

MaryJObliged Mon 05-Jun-17 22:49:15

My DH hated Rebecca. He said it was really boring, that the main character "just went from room to room being miserable" hmm Yet he watched The Walking Dead which is just people going to different bits of forest to fight zombies

I'd definitely recommend Kate Atkinson for a crime fan.

Karen Maitland for historical fiction though I find her books a bit hit and miss.

Andrea Levy for an interesting take on West Indian life both here and in the West Indies.

Isabelle Allende for historical, south American fiction. "Daughter of Fortune" is particularly brilliant.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche for African literature. However, DH didn't enjoy Americana at all.

"Books of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill is brilliant. The author's a man but it's the story of a strong woman of colour.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Mon 05-Jun-17 22:51:49

The Power by Naomi Alderman.

robinia Mon 05-Jun-17 22:52:47

Zadie Smith
Lionel Shriver
Anne Tyler
Carol Shields
Iris Murdoch

MorrisZapp Mon 05-Jun-17 22:53:17

Marie Kondo

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 05-Jun-17 22:53:20

Ann Cleeves (Shetland series) and Tana French (Dublin murder squad series).

Thisarmingman Mon 05-Jun-17 22:55:53

Agree with loads of these and would add Beloved just because it is extraordinary and beautiful and utterly heartbreaking and everyone should read it.

MorrisZapp Mon 05-Jun-17 22:56:29

Don't make the poor sod read Anne Tyler.

My suggestion is Alison Lurie, but second Kate Atkinson. Oh and Catherine O'Flynn, her book about the ageing radio host is brilliant and has a male narrator.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 05-Jun-17 23:01:02

I would avoid 19th century novels altogether. I find most of them incredibly tedious and I think from what you have said about your husband's taste there are other writers he would like better. That said, if you're after something 19th C then I would go for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

For crime how about Maj Sjöwall? She wrote the Martin Beck books with her partner.

Ursula Le Guin might be worth a look.

Doris Lessing - start with something easy like the horror The Fifth Child.

My husband doesn't like Margaret Atwood but she's my favourite. Perhaps try the Maddaddam trilogy?

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is very readable. If he likes narratives that tell family stories then Carol Shields is also good.

ThinkFastNotSlow Mon 05-Jun-17 23:01:52

Yes, pass on Wuthering Heights and go for Jane Eyre instead. Even Villette or Tenant of Wildfell Hall is easier to read than WH.

A S Byatt, Possession and The Children's Book are my favourites of hers.

Anita Brookner - Hotel du Lac is fantastic, much of her work is brilliant.

Siri Hustvedt, Isabel Allende, Carol Shields, Annie Proulx & Banana Yoshimoto are other female writers on my shelf.

If he likes Swedish crime, has he tried Camilla Läckberg? I'm half way through one of hers atm. She's written loads too.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 05-Jun-17 23:03:11

...and Lionel Shriver.

There are loads of women writing great crime so if that's his genre I'd get some specific recommendations.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 05-Jun-17 23:06:25

🙋🏼 Me! I don't like Austen!

I have an English degree smile

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 05-Jun-17 23:06:30

My Àntonia by Willa Cather. Author is female, narrator is male but it's really the story of an American immigrant pioneer woman. Amazing book, one to which I return regularly.

IStoleThisUsername Mon 05-Jun-17 23:11:17

Karin Slaughter
Mo Hayder
Tess Gerritson

All amazing crime writers.

mmack Mon 05-Jun-17 23:18:44

Donna Tartt's The Secret History or any Tana French.

Iloveyouthismuch Mon 05-Jun-17 23:31:42

Ariana Franklin Mistress of The Art of Death Books- for historic crime.

Clair North The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - time travel, philosophy and science but readable.

I also second Doris Lessing, Isabelle Allende, Zadie Smith, Kate Atkinson, and Donna Tart. If he fancies a bit of magical realism he could give Angela Carter a go.

MrsDrThorne Mon 05-Jun-17 23:36:26

Some fabulous suggestions here thank you! I never thought of Zadie Smith or Small Island, both of which I can lend him and I have Behind the Scenes at the Museum. I agree I think he would benefit from trying a Jackson Brodie. He has tried the odd PD James but says he will now try more.
As for the WH question that was my suggestion as he is from Yorkshire but will also suggest he tries JE as he has just said that he knows the basic plot he doesn't need to read it!!?? Villette is probably my favourite Bronte novel but I fear it may be too subtle for him.
Which leads me to the Austen issue. I will not have Austen besmirched in any way shape or form and our marriage is saved, Backingvocals and Honeysuckle, as he has agreed to read one. My all time favourite is Persuasion but think P and P is the obvious place to start.
I love Carol Shields and Anne Tyler (what's wrong with her, Morris??!!) but my attemptes to sell them to him did not wash. I am far more of a fan of the family story than he, I think.

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