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10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

Inspiration, hope, and lessons in love and grief

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

Vulnerability is strength.

You’ll feel this very strongly as you read the following books.

These women didn’t cower and hide their emotions and experiences. Instead, they put pen to paper and bared their souls. And that is one of the most courageous things anyone can do.

Each of the following books offers a unique set of lessons and a fresh perspective on life.

Let’s go through them one by one.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

The real story of a child star.

Janette McCurdy is the teenage star of the famous sitcom iCarly.

This is McCurdy’s tell-all memoir that she wrote when the tour of her one-woman show was canceled due to Covid-19. Her show had the same name as her book.

In her book, she shares her life journey. What we might assume from watching iCarly cannot be farther from the truth.

“My life purpose has always been to make Mom happy, to be who she wants me to be. So without Mom, who am I supposed to be now?”

As a child, Jennette lived in Garden Grove with her parents, siblings, and maternal grandparents. From age six, she was forced into acting by her mom.

Her mom was emotionally erratic and abusive. She was extremely critical of Jennette’s weight and looks. Due to facing psychological and sexual abuse from her mom, Jennette struggled with eating disorders and alcohol abuse.

“Through writing, I feel power for maybe the first time in my life. I don’t have to say somebody else’s words. I can write my own.”

She also shares her experience at Nickelodeon. ‘The Creator’, one of the producers, is aggressive and manipulative according to the author.

Ultimately, this book details a woman’s journey to self-love and finding her own agency.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

Thoughts of a girl wise beyond her years.

Being Jews, Anne Frank and her family were hiding from the Nazis. They successfully did so for almost two years.

During those two years, Anne kept her journal.

“Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share?”

Her journal details the everyday mundane happenings of a family in isolation as well as her deep thoughts about the world around her.

She reflects on the inequality between men and women and how adults fight like children.

“I think it’s odd that grown-ups quarrel so easily and so often and about such petty matters.”

Anne’s family was eventually discovered and sent to concentration camps where no one survived apart from her father, Otto Frank.

Two of Otto’s acquaintances had found Anne’s diary and kept it. It was given back to her father after the war.

Frank decided to publish it so the world can know the experiences of those who suffered persecution under the Nazis.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

This book will give hope to those who have lost it.

Eger’s story will give you chills.

She keeps a sense of hope and purpose despite what she has endured. Her parents were killed in gas chambers during the holocaust.

“Our painful experiences aren’t a liability — they’re a gift. They give us perspective and meaning, an opportunity to find our unique purpose and our strength.”

Edith (known as Edie) and her sister Magda worked in various factories around Germany. They became free when Gunskirchen was liberated by America. Edie was discovered in a pile of corpses.

This book details all of Eger’s experiences.

The author discusses her recovery and her courtship and eventual marriage with Béla Eger. Eventually, they make it to America.

“You can’t change what happened, you can’t change what you did or what was done to you. But you can choose how you live now.”

The author is a psychologist. She discusses her own struggles and those of her patients and continues to offer hope to the reader throughout.

This book will inspire you to look at your hardships with a different lens.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

How food became a source of love and connection for a musician who lost her mother.

In this memoir, the author deals with the pain and grief of losing her mother.

Although Zauner was born in Korea, her family came to America when she was just nine months old.

“Food was how my mother expressed her love.”

Her mother cooked a lot of traditional Korean food and that is how she expressed her love. Learning to make Kimchi and other Korean foods is how the author connects with her mother after she passes away due to cancer.

Zauner also began to frequent H Mart, a supermarket that sells the ingredients for traditional Korean food.

“Cooking my mother’s food had come to represent an absolute role reversal, a role I was meant to fill.”

The author also discusses her music career, her marriage, and her strained relationship with her father.

This is a story of the evolution of a mother-daughter relationship and a bond that stood the test of time and death.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

From isolated to connected.

Raised in the shadows of a paranoid and radical Mormon father, Tara Westover overcame all odds and built a life for herself.

This book tells her story.

“I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create.”

Tara was the youngest of seven children. They had no contact with the outside world.

Her brother Tyler decided to attend college which inspired her to do the same. She bought textbooks, studied on her own, cleared her ACT, and got a university scholarship.

“From my father I had learned that books were to be either adored or exiled. Books that were of God…were not to be studied so much as cherished, like a thing perfect in itself.”

Later, she moved to England to pursue higher studies.

When she confides in her family about the physical abuse of his brother Shawn, the already fragile relationship breaks down.

But Tara is content. She has discovered the complex realities that exist in this world and has made a life for herself.

This book will tell you that if you are dedicated enough, anything is possible.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

Flashbacks on a trail.

The writer was 22 when her mother died.

Her death leads to a downward spiral in Cheryl’s life. She cheated on her husband and they eventually divorced. The relationship between her and her father and siblings breaks down.

“It hadn’t occurred to me that my mother would die. Until she was dying, the thought had never entered my mind.”

To find her older self, the author takes on a long and perilous hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. She packs her belongings in a backpack, which she names ‘monster’.

Despite the hardships, the hike offers her clarity and perspective.

“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.”

Her life story is narrated through the flashbacks that she has while on her quest.

She also shares the stories of people she meets on her journey.

To be honest, Cheryl’s story makes me want to pack up and set on a solo hike. Perhaps, I’ll find myself in the wilderness.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

What do plants teach us?

Hope Jahren is a geobiologist. In her higher studies, her subjects were geology and soil science.

Through this book, Jahren takes us into her lab and her personal life.

“Working in the hospital teaches you that there are only two kinds of people in the world: the sick and the not sick. If you are not sick, shut up and help.”

She tells us about her friendships, relationships, and the awe-inspiring facts about plants.

This book is filled with personal reflections and the tough journey of a scientist as she tries to secure research grants. Jahren also discusses misogyny that exists in STEM fields.

“My laboratory is like a church because it is where I figure out what I believe.”

Reading Jahren’s words, I experience nostalgia for a life unlived. There is so much that science and experiments teach us about the wonders of the world.

Perhaps someday, I can experience what the author has. Till then, the book is as close as it gets.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

Lessons in loss and grief.

MacDonald’s father helped cultivate her love of nature and falconry.

When he dies, she decides to honor her father by training a falcon. This falcon is a goshawk that the writer names Mabel.

“You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer.”

The writer talks about her feelings of grief and loss along with her struggles in training Mabel.

The goshawk is a solitary animal. Macdonald models the same behavior as she withdraws from her friends and the people around her.

“I think of what wild animals are in our imaginations. And how they are disappearing — not just from the wild, but from people’s everyday lives, replaced by images of themselves in print and on screen.”

This book chronicles her journey of eventually realizing the importance of human connections and empathy.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

A battle with an unknown demon.

Something was wrong with her but the doctors didn’t know what.

The writer talks about her unknown illness being diagnosed and treated and what she learned on the way.

Cahalan struggled with weird symptoms. She was paranoid and had aggressive episodes. Doctors diagnosed her with psychological issues and ‘partying too much.’

“In the spring of 2009, I was the 217th person ever to be diagnosed with anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis.”

Ultimately a doctor by the name of Najjar took over her case. He gives her a simple activity to draw a clock. She puts all the numbers on the right side.


Her right side of the brain which regulates the left side is inflamed.

Finally, she is diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. This begins her path to recovery.

“Our minds have the incredible capacity to both alter the strength of connections among neurons, essentially rewiring them, and create entirely new pathways.”

Cahalan’s story has also been made into a Netflix movie under the name, ‘Brain on Fire’.

10 Mind-blowing Books by Women That Everyone Should Read (At Least Once)

An inspiring tale of a family who risked it all.

In her memoir, Yeonmi Park details the difficult journey of her family as they escaped North Korea’s harsh system of social status or “songbun”.

“It’s not easy to give up a worldview that is built into your bones and imprinted on your brain like the sound of your own father’s voice.”

Yeonmi’s sister is the first one to escape to China. Yeonmi and her mother follow in her footsteps. Unfortunately, they get entangled in human trafficking in China.

Their final journey to South Korea takes place through the Gobi desert. There, they start building their lives from scratch.

“…we all have our own deserts. They may not be the same as my desert, but we all have to cross them to find a purpose in life and be free.”

This is where Yeonmi starts telling her story publicly.

Some of the claims made in the book have been disputed by other North Korean defectors as being exaggerated or untrue. Yeonmi attributes the inconsistencies to the language barrier and her imperfect memory.

This book is a story of hope and survival against all odds.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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