Really Good Books For People Who Are Reading a Lot of Articles About Girls

Let’s just say there are a lot of articles about Girls. And, if you’re like me, it’s been making you think a lot about women, and friends, and the city, and becoming a person, and ESPECIALLY about all the wonderful, wonderful books about those things. Like these!

The Best of Everything, Rona Jaffe — I read somewhere that Lena Dunham makes everyone read the first two books on our list, which makes perfect sense to me, since they are The Books.

The Group, Mary McCarthy — Oh, okay, I mean anything by McCarthy is good for our purposes. You could also go with Memories of a Catholic Girlhood.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, ZZ Packer — Short stories are the best. More short stories. Sometimes I go through a phase where I decide to read a single short story every night before bed. Some of them by Packer, who is young and brilliant and beautiful and has interesting things to say.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath / The Women’s Room, Marilyn French — So, here’s the deal. I do not actually like either of these books, personally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re extremely important for the whole gestalt of this thing we’re talking about. Maybe you should buy a lot of wine and get in bed for a week and plow through Valley of the Dolls and Peyton Place, too? Call me! That sounds like fun.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Jeanette Winterson — I just finished Winterson’s new memoir. Oooomph. Wow. Please read it, because it’s really vital for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the masses of privilege being brought to the table by many of our other selections and also our main topic. She’s a genius. She was this tough, scrappy genius in a terrible environment, saved by THE WRITTEN WORD, AS ARE WE ALL.

The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood — WOMEN, am I right? No, really. Am I right? Are we here to help each other, or to return from the dead and steal each other’s lovers? Who knows.

Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood, bell hooks — This is definitely not one of hooks’ better known works, but it’s a personal favourite. I never get tired of hearing about how reading can fuck up your life in the best possible way: complicating you, freeing you, pissing you off, making you difficult to work with, making you hard to pacify.

Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v. Wade
, Rickie Solinger — The losers at Kirkus called it “regrettably dry.” They can suck it, because it’s completely fascinating and rocks your entire world. There’s no point in talking about girls becoming women in this country without talking about reproductive freedom, and you really do have to talk about reproductive freedom as meaning completely different things, historically, to black and white women. It’s incredible.

You should be watching Veep, too. Veep is fun. Watch it with your female friends. Don’t come back from the dead to steal their lovers.