We've all had those days... no energy, no spunk, no will to do much that doesn't involve a pint of ice cream and a pair of PJs. Luckily, the literary canon is full of gutsy heroines to inspire and incite mayhem when we can't really muster up the chutzpah to navigate adult life. Even better: many of literature's most kick-ass heroines have the honor of belonging to equally heroic authors... women whose life stories are often stranger than fiction.
by Louisa May Alcott, illustrated by Julie Doucet, introduction by Jane Smiley
Jo isn't just a self-sacrificing Little Woman... she's a hairpin-losing, back-talking hoyden who infuses some much-needed life into her sleepy Concord community. Outspoken, raw, and full of frustrated energy, her passion turns a staid children's book into a timeless one about war and work. She can rescue me from cracked ice anytime.
by Zora Neale Hurston
Next time you're feeling buffeted by economic pressures or compassion fatigue, look to Janie. This gritty heroine blazes a trail through terrible marriages, crushing poverty, even a hurricane, without losing her grip on her dignity or her self. I find both solace and faith to move forward in Hurston's poetic, prophetic words.
by Colette, translated by Antonia White
When's the last time you really indulged yourself? Claudine does — she ditches school, revolts against her teachers, and enjoys herself in extravagant fashion. Claudine's adventures in the schoolroom and the bedroom are the perfect antidote to frugality and fear (and a great indulgence for sick days or staycations).
by Margaret Mitchell
Do you suspect you're not getting your due? Take a page out of Scarlett O'Hara's book and snatch up what's yours anyway. Sure, she's not exactly known for her tact or maturity, but Scarlett's got spunk to spare. Whether making an epic grab for her man or her land, Scarlett's got enough fight to enliven your struggles at work and at home.
by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams
Karen Kennedy says:
This is the most serious book and suspenseful book in the series. Laura and her family are snowed in for months, and the people back east decide not to send the trains — bearing much-needed supplies — until spring. Almanzo and Royal hit upon a plan that keeps the whole town from starving.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Erin Blakemore
Erin Blakemore learned to drool over Darcy and cry over Little Women in suburban San Diego, California. These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Learn more about Erin and The Heroine's Bookshelf at ErinBlakemore.com.
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