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New York Times Top 10 Books of 2015: Seven Female Authors

By December 20, 2015Literary Awards

You think genders in literature don’t matter? Why is there no genre called man-lit then? We have the man-cave, a place to relax and get some peace, but no female alternative, and in literature books written by women tend to be assumed as for women and get put in this ‘one size fits all’ basket of chick-lit. It’s a pet hate of mine and something I addressed in a radio appearance last year, so you can imagine how thrilled I am to find that on the New York Times ‘best 10 books this year’ list, seven of them are by female authors!

This is a huge deal for equality and shows that female authors are finally being recognised outside the ‘chick-lit’ genre. Here’s the list, maybe you can add a few to your TBR.

The Door – Magda Szabo

This semi-autobiographical novel by Hungarian writer, Magda Szabo follows a developing relationship between a young writer and her cleaner. It was originally published in 1987 but is only recently translated into English.

The Door US
The Door UK

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A Manual For Cleaning Women: Selected Stories – Lucia Berlin

Published earlier this year, A Manual for Cleaning Women is a selection of short stories and takes a funny and beautiful look at the lives of women in the working classes.

A Manual for Cleaning Women US
A Manual for Cleaning Women UK

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Outline – Rachel Cusk

Outline was a 2014 release and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. It follows the story of a novelist who goes to Athens to teach. It’s a first person novel, but unusually you learn nothing of the narrator and everything of the world she finds herself in.

Outline US
Outline UK

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The Sellout – Paul Beatty

The first on the top ten list by a male author is The Sellout, a biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing. Comic genius and very touching, it has Beatty compared to Vonnegut in many reviews.

The Sellout US
The Sellout UK

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Story of the Lost Child – Elena Ferrante

The Guardian claimed that ‘nothing quite like this has ever been published before’ of this 2014 novel by Elena Ferrante, the fourth in her quartet of the Neapolitan series.

Story of the Lost Child US
Story of the Lost Child UK

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The Literary Gift Company

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

The NY Times second entry by a make author is National Book Award winner Between the World and Me, a profoundly moving memoir about race in America, written as a letter to the author’s 14-year-old son.

Between the World and Me US
Between the World and Me UK

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Empire of Cotton: A Global History – Sven Beckert

Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for History, Empire of Cotton looks at the global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners, ushering in our world of modern capitalism.

Empire of Cotton US
Empire of Cotton UK

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H is for Hawk – Helen MacDonald

H is for Hawk is a memoir by British author Helen MacDonald and won the Samuel Johnson Prize and Costa Book of the Year, it was published in 2014.

H is for Hawk US
H is for Hawk UK

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One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway – Asne Seierstad

One of us is a harrowing account of the atrocity that shook the world, when Anders Breivik killed 77 fellow Norwegians, many of them teenagers.

One of Us US
One of Us UK

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The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World – Andrea Wulf

The Invention of Nature looks at the extraordinary life of German visionary Alexander von Humboldt and how he created the way in which we understand nature today.

The Invention of Nature US
The Invention of Nature UK

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Well they may have been the year’s bestsellers, but I hadn’t heard of many of them. I’ve added a couple to my TBR!

It’s wonderful to see female authors see recognition for works outside the chick-lit genre, and to finally see some lady authors on the top of the bestsellers lists.

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