Read It or Skip It: Leading Ladies

While continuing with themed editions of Read It or Skip It, I noticed that a lot of recent books had female protagonists. Ranging from fabulously feisty to self-conscious and melancholy, these six books feature a strong voice  and make for damn good reading.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Read it if you love historical fiction, fictionalized biography, and lyrical stories seemingly set in the early 20th century. Skip it if you’d like to keep a high opinion of Charles Lindeberg.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld 

Read it if you like boarding school stories and books with a cast of unique and fun supporting characters. Skip it if self-conscious, teenage narrators drive you crazy. Or you didn’t like Catcher in the Rye.

A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute

Read it! I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Jean is a great leading lady, well before her time in the 1950s and I just adore the love story. If you like the British classics of modern day and yesteryear, stories about Austrailia’s early beginnings, and WWII, then this is the book for you! Sometimes there were too many details, which would be my only reason to skip it.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters 

Read it! This was the literary equivalent of a breath of fresh air. It’s funny, insightful, and beautifully structured. If you like old Hollywood, travel stories, and novels that incorporate a huge cast and lots of different writing styles, then I especially recommend it. I would never say to skip it. 

Witches of Eastwick by John Updike 

Read it if you like a sexy, small town story, enjoyed the movie and TV versions, or just want to enjoy Updike’s wonderful prose. Skip it if you want books about witches to actually involve the witches performing magic (they do, but it’s a background thing.)

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

Read it if you like an ‘against all odds’ love story and if you have a particular passion for people with special needs. Otherwise, skip it. Her memoir Riding the Bus with my Sister is much better.


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