5 Beloved Heroines to Channel on an Off Day

shelved under Fiction

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.


Little Women (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

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.


Their Eyes Were Watching God

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.


The Complete Claudine: Claudine at School; Claudine in Paris; Claudine Married; Claudine and Annie

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).


Gone with the Wind

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.


The Long Winter

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.

This book also appears on Little House on the Prairie