Hi there! As promised, I’m back with another book blog post! I’ve been reading like crazy recently and I’ve realised a pattern in the books I usually pick up. Number one, I love books set in New York. For some inexplicable reason, I’ve always had a fixation on the city. Perhaps it’s from the time I visited a couple years back… or perhaps it’s from watching the entire Gossip Girl series multiple times. Yes I’m awful, I know, but aren’t they called guilty pleasures for a reason? Number two, and the subject of this post, I tend to gravitate towards books with female protagonists. Today, I wanted to share a list of books that I’ve read over the past few months that I’ve loved and feature female leads. I have to say, the majority of these women are quite… let’s just say questionable. Reading about complex (and slightly crazy) women is my favourite pastime, feel free to do with that what you will. Please remember before reading any of these to check the content warnings! Enjoy!
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
“Beautiful, young, successful and wealthy, the novel’s narrator lives in an endless bubble of social engagements, caught up in the heady thrill of early 2000’s New York. Superficially her life is perfect but there is a void at the centre of her world.”
I had heard a lot about Moshfegh and wanted to give her a go and so I stumbled upon this book which has found its way into my favourites list. Although the subject matter of this book is quite heavy, it was surprisingly funny! I also loved how she considered a range of topics such as class, femininity and the overwhelming effects of grief. More than anything, this book is definitely a character study so if you’re not too keen on that then I’m not sure that this will be for you. Nonetheless, this was a very interesting read. I continuously found myself loving, hating and relating to the unnamed protagonist which I think is great to find in a book. 5/5.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
“When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into serious depression as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take her aspirations seriously.”
This book was recommended to me a few years ago by my aunt but I didn’t have the chance to pick it up until recently. However, I am very thankful that I did! This is probably another favourite of mine due to how poetically its written. One of the best aspects of this novel is how Plath acknowledges the era it’s set in and isn’t afraid to critique the patriarchal structures that were forced on to women in every aspect of life. Although this book is dated in many ways as with most classics, it still remains worthy of masterpiece status. I was so in love with her writing that a few days ago, I went to a bookstore and bought Sylvia Plath’s poetry collection ‘Ariel’ which I am very excited to read! 5/5.
Bunny by Mona Awad
“Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at Warren University. In fact, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort – a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other ‘Bunny’. But then the Bunnies issue her with an invitation and Samantha finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door, across the threshold, and down their rabbit hole.”
Having heard that Bunny by Mona Awad was a cross between The Secret History and Heathers, I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree! Words cannot describe how completely bizarre this book was and I mean that in the best way. The 8 hours that I spent reading it left me in a dreamlike state that was weirdly unsettling. Mona Awad wrote Bunny in a way that disguises darkness and menace in an intoxicatingly sweet coating, much like the ‘Bunnies’ themselves. I loved how Samantha’s narration slowly becomes more claustrophobic as she spends time with the girls because I think that it truly reflects both her emotions and the reader’s. This was probably the most immersive book I’ve ever read and I cannot recommend it enough! 5/5.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
“Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.”
This wouldn’t be a book recommendations list without mentioning anything written by Sally Rooney! After reading Normal People, I was desperate to get my hands on another one of her books and, as expected, she didn’t disappoint. Rooney’s writing feels more like a conversation (no pun intended) than anything. It is incredibly comforting and intimate and the way that she writes her characters is unbelievably relatable. Whilst reading Frances’ narration, I found myself wondering if Sally Rooney had crawled into my head and written down on paper the things that I had never spoken out loud and I think that’s slightly terrifying yet wonderful! No one writes friendships and relationships like her and I cannot wait for her new novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, to come out! 5/5!
Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to leave a few of your book recommendations down below!
All my love,