Memorial Hall Library

A Day Without a Woman Would be A Day Without These Books!

Many MHL staff members wore red in solidarity with the Day Without A Woman, and held up a favorite book written by a woman.

March 8th is International Women's Day! Some women went on a general strike to create a Day Without a Woman, to highlight the important, yet often undervalued, work that women do. MHL couldn't open without women, and we know a lot of community members rely on us being open, so we're here at work today. But we want to encourage everyone take a minute to think about all the books we'd miss out on without great women writers! Here are some of our staff members' favorite books written by women.

 

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

 

The story follows Hetty 'Handful' Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined.

--Chosen by Stefani T.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

 

Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

--Chosen by Amy M.

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Turning fifteen in Renaissance Florence, Alessandra Cecchi becomes intoxicated with the works of a young painter whom her father has brought to the city to decorate the family's Florentine palazzo.

--Chosen by Jesse L.

Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh
Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh

 

A latest tale set in the Pennsylvania town depicted in Baker Towers finds an agreement to lease mineral rights to frackers causing unexpected complications in the life of farmer Rich Devilin, his family members and his neighbors throughout Bakerton.

--Chosen by Tricia D.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

 

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

-- Chosen by Theo K.

Patriot Hearts by Barbara Hambly
Patriot Hearts: a novel of the Founding Mothers by Barbara Hambly

 

The passion, politics, triumphs, and turmoil of early America come to life through the fictional portraits of four extraordinary women--Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Sally Hemings, and Dolley Madison--who played key roles behind the scenes of four presidential administrations.

--Chosen by Kim L.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

 

It is November 25, 1960, and the bodies of three beautiful, convent-educated sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. El Caribe, the official newspaper, reports their deaths as an accident. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Raphael Leonidas Trujillo's dictatorship. It doesn't have to. Everyone knows of Las Mariposas - "The Butterflies."

--Chosen by Renata S.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

 

An instant American icon--the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court--tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir. With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronxhousing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

--Chosen by Beth M.

Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

 

Damaged finds Mary DiNunzio, partner at the all-female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, embroiled in one of her most heartbreaking cases yet. Suing the Philadelphia school district to get help for a middle school boy with emotional issues, Mary ends up becoming the guardian ad litem of her minor client. As she goes up against Nick Machiavelli, her opposing counsel and the dark prince of South Philly lawyers who will use any means necessary to defeat her, she becomes more and more invested in the case--andputs everything, including her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, on the line.

--Chosen by Gerry D.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

In late eighteenth-century England, a spirited young woman copes with the suit of a snobbish gentleman as well as the romantic entanglements of three of her four sisters.

--Chosen by Beth K.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
The Round House by Louise Erdrich

 

When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

--Chosen by Anna T.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

 

When Truman Capote gains access to New York high society, he builds an unlikely friendship with socialite Babe Paley.
Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley and her friends, the alluring socialite Swans. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman, desperately longing for true love and connection. Enter Truman Capote. Through Babe, Truman gains unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe's powerful circle. Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake-- even when the stories aren't his to tell.

--Chosen by Clare C.-B.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

 

This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned 'fun home,' as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic, and redemptive.

--Chosen by Justin T.

All Stories Are Love Stories by Elizabeth Perser
All Stories Are Love Stories by Elizabeth Percer

 

In this thoughtful, mesmerizing tale with echoes of Station Eleven, the author of An Uncommon Education follows a group of survivors thrown together in the aftermath of two major earthquakes that strike San Francisco within an hour of each other--an achingly beautiful and lyrical novel about the power of nature, the resilience of the human spirit, and the enduring strength of love.

--Chosen by Larisa S.