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The good news: There are 85 bazillion amazing books out there that are written by women. The bad news: Even if you read one book a day for the rest of your life, you’d never finish them all. So we’re narrowing it down for you. Presenting 15 incredible classics by women to check off your list.
The makings of a true horror story: A dystopian world in which a woman’s only worth is her ability to breed. Read it before the new Hulu series starring Elisabeth Moss premieres in April. Buy the book
A celebrated short-story collection about the lives of women, by the woman who revolutionized the short story. So meta. Buy the book
Based on a true story, this haunting novel follows Sethe and her daughter Denver after they escape from slavery and run to Ohio. It’s tough to read twice, but once is mandatory. Buy the book
It’s perhaps the most knocked-off novel in history with material ripe for rom-coms. But you’ve gotta read the original. Buy the book
An exquisite coming-of-age tale that tackled controversial topics—sexuality, religion andclassism—way before it was cool. Initially, Brontë published the book under the male-sounding pseudonym “Currer Bell.” Buy the book
This classic was also published under a pseudonym, but when Emily died a year later, her sister Charlotte re-edited the intense love story about a young woman and her adopted brother and included Emily as the author. Buy the book
The account of a high-society woman planning a party unfolds over the course of a day. Although Woolf denied the connection, it’s often compared to James Joyce’s Ulysses—but a helluva lot shorter. Buy the book
Initially rejected for its frankness about racism, the story of Janie, a black woman grappling with marriage, later became one of the most enduring works of the 20th century. Buy the book
This chilling Gothic novel tells the story of a woman who marries a widower, but discovers that his late wife is still very much a part of their lives. Buy the book
OK, you’ve probably read this Pulitzer Prize-winning coming-of-age novel about racial injustice in the South. But read it again. Read it ten more times. Buy the book
Angelou’s screed about literature’s power to overcome racism and trauma was on The New York Times best-seller list for two years. It’s that good. Buy the book
It’s an emotional read, but this courageous novel based on Plath’s own experiences made it OK to talk about depression. Buy the book
Yes, the movie and the Broadway musical are good, too, but actually read the story of Celie and Nettie, OK? Buy the book
Consider this 1989 best seller an artful, character-driven introduction to mahjong. Buy the book
Read this heartwarming memoir about the unexpected deaths of Didion’s husband and daughter with a box of tissues. Actually, two. Buy the book
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