By The Ladies Finger
Originally published on 1 September 2014.
Confused about where to start with the whole feminism thing? Looking for something new to dip into? Eager for a fresh, fun book? Here is a great list to get you going. We’ve got fiction, non-fiction, classics, graphic novels, science, history, food writing, the works.
1. We Also Made History: Women in the Ambedkarite Movement by Meenakshi Moon & Urmila Pawar. Translated by Wandana Sonalkar
This book was originally published in Marathi in 1989 and is now a contemporary classic. It recorded for the first time the history of women’s participation in the Dalit political movements of the 20th century. The book has letters, interviews with 29 activists from the 1930s and the life-histories of 13 other fascinating women (ranging from a wrestler who settled disputes to a woman who worked in a printing press). This is quite apart from the straight-forward and very important discussion of the Ambedkarite movement in the first half of the book.
2. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Screwed if you are pretty. Screwed if you are not. And the author confirms what you’ve always suspected: the pressure on women for physical beauty is getting worse every year.
3. Women Writing in India. Vol 1 & 2. Edited by Susie Tharu and K. Lalita
This two-volume blockbuster takes you all the way from 600 BC right through the 20th century. It’s got fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs and drama. It’s got Buddhist nuns, women who learnt to read in secret, court poets, languid lovers, revolutionaries and wedding singers. Translated from dozens of Indian languages, these books took years of adventure to put together and will give you years of pleasure.
4. How To Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ
A hilarious book full of examples from American and British literature of how books written by women are received, reviewed and read. (When old-timey literary dudes thought Wuthering Heights was written by a man, they had rather unexpected things to say.) Written like a guide book, Russ, a science fiction writer, will change the way you read a book review. And the way you listen to people talking about books by women writers they haven’t read!
5. Hard Time by Sara Paretsky
VI Warshawski is the real deal. Tough, funny, fast-driving, obsessed with justice. Choosing poverty over ease, she is a working-class detective who jumps off roofs onto moving trains, cooks, cleans, takes lovers and reads balance-sheets like a pro. Read one and you will want to read them all. This is one of the later Paretskys. If you are never going to read any other, read this one. But of course, you are going to read all of them.
6. Villette, Charlotte Brontë
Dump Jane Eyre. Dump Wuthering Heights. Okay, don’t entirely dump these, but at least let yourself realise that Charlotte Brontë’s Villette is vastly superior to all over-plugged, over-studied and over-adapted 19th century novels. Lucy Snow, the central character, charges out of her father’s drawing room (where many a 19th century novelist would have trapped her) and into continental Europe where she is a school teacher. She is a lone female urban adventurer before the concept existed in books. So many of Lucy Snow’s adventures take place in her head and Brontë has the most enlivening pulse on complex psychology.
7. Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie
Nell’s been dumped by her husband of two decades. Suze doesn’t know what’s missing from her life. Only that she doesn’t want to take one more part-time course. Margie is not sure when she became a permanent fiance. This is the status quo until Nell gets a job at the local detective agency. Suddenly all three friends are done with status quo. One of the best novels from one of the best romance novelists.
8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a woman living in the near future in a Christian-military totalitarian United States that has taken control over women’s bodies. Offred is a handmaid who lives to serve elite families who want children. Childbirth has declined and Offred is valuable as a handmaid only as long as she is fertile. A speculative fiction classic that will make you laugh and also cross your legs in utter terror.
9. Sexing The Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
A slim, highly imaginative novel full of gender-bending, genre-bending action. The story takes off from London in the 1660s with the giantess Dog Woman and her adopted son Jordan. Time-travel. Teleportation. Magic-realism. Enjoy!
10. Leave me alone, I’m reading by Maureen Corrigan
This is the memoir of a book lover who has a covetable career being a book critic in mainstream media including radio. Unlike many books about books and book-loving, Corrigan shifts your perspective on the way you read both classics and popular culture. She looks at detective fiction in fresh new ways and introduces some genres which may not be part of the average mix: Catholic martyr stories, for instance. Her phrase “female extreme adventure” will certainly shake up what you remember feeling about Jane Eyre.
11. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
A very funny memoir plus polemic by a woman who has since become a contemporary cult figure. As one reviewer said, this book is entirely too forceful to be just another wry personal essay. Moran says “Feminism is too important to be discussed only by academics” and proceeds to have a ball of time discussing everything from abortion to waxing and leaves you with millions of quotable quotes. “It’s difficult to see the glass ceiling because it’s made of glass. Virtually invisible. What we need is for more birds to fly above it and shit all over it, so we can see it properly.”
12. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
You’ll love this short, painful novel with character observations like a box of needles. First published in The New Yorker, Spark’s best-known work is about an Edinburgh schoolteacher in her “prime”, whose idea of education has more to do with lived experience (specifically, her own) than it does with textbooks. And her students, who navigate the world – their families, careers, romance, war – despite the plans their mentor lays out for them. If you’re looking for a book with marvellously complicated characters and taut, devastating storytelling, look no further.
13. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar
This 1979 gem looks at Victorian literature through a feminist lens. The title’s a reference to Jane Eyre‘s Bertha Mason, and it’s a book that talks about madness, monsters, Gothic horror, femininity and women’s writing (what more can you ask for?). It’s a classic of literary criticism that we guarantee you will have fun reading.
14. The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
It’s long, rambling and has some caftan-clad dancing towards self-actualisation. But French’s novel about a brilliant woman’s imprisonment in suburban marriage and subsequent escape to a newly emancipated community of women in the 1950s is full of unforgettable lines and unforgettable characters. Somewhere among Mira’s circle are women you’ve met. And you. The book’s been translated into over 20 languages and made into a movie we are afraid to see. When you do get the book, don’t miss our favourite passage: Val’s hilarious, evil monologue about the blinding nature of heterosexual love.
15. Shareer Ki Jaankari/About The Body by Mahila Samuh, Rajasthan
An illustrated handbook available in Hindi and English about the body, sexual health and reproductive health created by a women’s collective from Rajasthan and published originally by Kali For Women.
16. Sexing The Millenium by Linda Grant
Linda Grant is now better known as a novelist. But at one point she wrote this stunning book about the murky beginnings of The Pill, the sexual revolution, the subsequent cracks in the Catholic establishment and so much else. Seemingly effortless, extraordinary reportage.
17. The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
This is a near-perfect selection from Alison Bechdel’s comic strip, which ran from 1987 to 2008. You will flip through these years and find them animated by Mo, the protagonist, and her intricately connected dyke universe. Side effects of reading include a) wanting to steal Mo’s friends and replace your own b) a growing inability to tolerate humourless political conversation c) a strong sense that Mo & gang’s transition from their early 20s to 40+ strongly mirrors that of many people you know.
18. Paro by Namita Gokhale
In 1984, when Namita Gokhale wrote Paro: Dreams of Passion, she was 27. Her equally youthful heroine Priya lived vicariously through the excesses of Paro, a woman the Victorians would have called an adventuress. Paro reveals itself as something of a genre bender. It’s too cynical to be chick-lit and too familiar to be literary and too smart to be forgotten. Paro herself, though beautiful and ambitious, is too fat to fit neatly into that ’80s sex-and-shoulder pads subgenre most familiar to us through Judith Krantz or Shobhaa De. Paro is a wonderful odd bird and an early bird, one who was born before Rushdie gave feverish feelings to Indian Writing in English. Go get.
19. Snapshots by Shobhaa De
Six female school friends reunite for a seemingly innocuous kitty-party, only to discover that adulthood hasn’t made their lives any less sordid. A patronizing male reviewer (De was targeted by many in her time) declared that the book had “lots of bitches and no heroines”. From where we stand, that isn’t such a bad thing. So unvarnished, psychically dense female interiority it is — or as one helpful Shobhaa De blurb put it once, her books are a meditation on “death, infidelity, lies, rape and incest.”
20. Quieter Than Sleep: A Modern Mystery of Emily Dickinson by Joanne Dobson
Amanda Cross is alright but Dobson has the better literary mysteries. Her protagonist Karen Pelletier, working-class, single mom, teaches in an elite college and is somehow always stumbling over bodies. The real kind and the kind buried in the sexist, racist literary canon.
21. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Even if you just read the first chapter for the description of the famous protagonist Isadora Wing’s formulation — the zipless fuck — the book is totally worth it. It might be hard to fully register how controversial and radical Jong’s attitudes to female desire seemed in the early 1970s, but they were. And surprise, the book has aged well. Isadora’s screwball, narcissistic narratorial voice is still very sharp. And old or not, the sex is still fun.
22. All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
Lady Slane, an 88-year-old woman who is recently widowed, defies her officious children by deciding at this late age to become a painter. She moves into a house by herself, effectively stops all contact with her family (minus one bright granddaughter) and acquires a set of colourful friends. Sackville-West’s under-appreciated 1931 classic is an ultra-lucid story about how a woman takes her intellectual life seriously. While we are told that Lady Slane is no feminist, we don’t really care because her journey of self-discovery is sharp, vivid and moving.
23. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
From the very first delightful panel of this now mega-famous graphic novel, Satrapi plunges you into a chequered girlhood in Iran. Satrapi was 9 when the Islamic Revolution changed the lives of Iranian women forever. At ten Satrapi is in a veil and in a stew of rebellion. Through her eyes we encounter her large, eccentric family, the rising violence and oppressive patriarchy in Iran and the figments of her truly original imagination.
24. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
Since 1975, lakhs of readers have looked at this book and wondered. Is it memoir? Is it fiction? Is it poetry? Is it folktake? Take the section, “White Tigers” in which Kingston reimagines her own first-generation Chinese-American childhood self as the folk heroine Hua Mulan (who some of us first met as a Disney cartoon). Mulan famously got bored of weaving and went to war dressed as a boy. Kingston’s version deploys kung-fu coolness, folktale and another famous girl soldier, Joan of Arc. The book has also generated some very heated arguments about authenticity and Orientalism. You will enjoy all of it — the paradoxes, the gaps, the revenge drama, the more conventional mother anecdotes and Mulan, of course.
25. The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India 1800-1990 by Radha Kumar
Everything you wanted to know about the fight for women’s rights in India between 1800 and 1990 is in this book. And if you are the kind of person who is put off by the memory of those NCERT textbooks, never fear. You will enjoy the photographs, letters, excerpts from books, old documents, the clothes, the placards, the steely jaws. You will want this book everytime you feel like there’s no way of making things better. Because this is a book full of women who didn’t believe in that nonsense.
26. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers by Marina Warner
You could begin at the beginning with a great Kenyan folktale, the point of which is that story-telling makes women (and not just women, even sultans) thrive. But really you could start anywhere. From Cinderella to Salman Rushdie, from Mother Goose to Angela Carter, this is a book with tremendous range. What is the place of women in society? What is the role of women in sharing stories and what is the role of women in the stories? What is the importance of gossip and why does it petrify men? From The Beast also has some stunning images. This is one of the books you are likely to fall into and not want to climb out of.
27. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks
For decades American social activist and writer bell hooks (yes, in the lower case) has written highly influential books about the connections between race, capitalism and gender, Ain’t I A Woman is perhaps the best-known of her books. This book is a slim memoir about being a black, female and gifted child in the segregated 1950s. Through lyrical fragments and vignettes she steeps in an American subculture the world still knows too little about. Here is a famous bit: “Real good hair is straight hair, hair like white folks’ hair. Yet no one says so. No one says ‘Your hair is so nice, so beautiful because it is like white folk’s hair’. We pretend that the standards we measure our beauty by are our own invention.”
28. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #1) by Laurie R. King
Fifteen-year-old Mary Russell meets Sherlock Holmes, 54, now retired and a keeper of bees. She finds a keen mentor, he finds a worthy apprentice, and an incredible partnership is forged. It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story of a girl growing up at the turn of the 20th century, and connection between two obsessive, peculiar and brilliant minds. This is the first book in King’s Mary Russell series, and this year marks the book’s 20th anniversary – what better time to start?
29. Double Talk, Manjula Padmanabhan
Get your copy and join the Suki cult. Who is Suki? Padmanabhan invented a daily strip about a young Bombay woman called Suki in 1993 for The Pioneer. Over the decades, Suki had friends, lovers, rants about Diwali, cabaret, fat, animals and aliens. A selection of that work went into this fantastic collection which you must get your hands on. Years later, Padmanabhan wrote, “In a culture where the birth of a daughter is regarded as a calamity and young brides are routinely murdered, what place is there for an awkward, fuzzy-haired girl whose best friend is a frog and whose favourite activity is sleeping late?” We disagree. To quote a lovestruck fan, “Its themes take it some way beyond its time—how a woman may go solo and still live and have fun, the resilient presence of the absurd in the everyday, the daily subsidence of conversation into tennis-match aggression, the habitus that urban Indians build within the English language even as they lose mother tongues and multilinguality.” That’s really why we need Suki and we freaked out with joy at the possibility of the Return of Suki.
30. How To Cook A Wolf by MFK Fisher
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher wrote this book when the WW2 food shortage was at its worst. A woman who had grown up with plain and plentiful American food, she truly fell in love with food – eating, cooking and writing about it – in Dijon, France as a young bride. In this, her second book, she wrote about the peculiar pleasures and sorrows of making do. Her prose is funny and rude and kind and always, always obsessed with the practical magic of food. You may never try her bread recipes but you will always remember her amazing turns of phrase.
31. Blanche Cleans Up, Barbara Neely
This is a special treat for murder mystery lovers. Blanche White is a middle-aged African-American domestic worker who is shocked continously by the ridiculous, privileged behaviour of her white employers, and the occasional dead body. Using her sharp wits and the remarkable old-girl network among the domestic workers, Blanche solves crime and shakes her head at a racist, unequal world.
32. Men Explain Things To Me, Rebecca Solnit
This is the woman you need to thank for the word ‘mansplaining’. In 2010 this political writer wrote an essay on all women’s experience of having a man speaking to you with the assumption that you know less than he does about whichever topic is being discussed because. Well, because he the man. Beyond its incredible meme-worthiness, Solnit points out how mansplaining leads to the silencing of women in matters small and big. Would you a trust a female expert’s opinion on a major work of art, scientific discovery, the threat of Al-Qaeda? Would you trust a woman’s opinion that her life is under threat? This new book includes that perfect, viral essay and a half a dozen cool others.
33. No Onions, Nor Garlic by Srividya Natarajan
This book is a brilliant, romantic comedy set in a Chennai university full of young lovers, crazy parents and a superb arch-villain. Caste-politics and academic pomposity are the primary targets of Natarajan’s wit. But nothing is so simple-simple in this book. Even the title is not just the recognisable ‘strict vegetarian’ reference. It’s also a quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The rhythm of speech is Wodehousian, the vocabulary is occasionally David Lodge but the brilliance is all Srividya Natarajan. How can you not love someone who has one senior academic screaming “Reactionary Punnaku!” to another senior academic. Her only crime is to not write a second novel. Did we mention she’s also responsible for the cool cover-art? Yes, she’s that cool.
34. Warrior in A Pink Sari by Sampat Pal (as told to Anne Berthold)
Warrior in a Pink Sari is the English translation of Pal’s gripping memoir as told to French journalist Anne Berthold. The tight first-person narrative takes you all the way from Sampat Pal’s childhood in a livestock-rearing family in rural Uttar Pradesh to her marriage at 12, to her transformation into a 40-something powerhouse who leads a group of 20,000 pink-sari wearing women – The Gulabi Gang. Pal does herself injustice when she calls herself a woman of action, not reflection. Sure, much of the drama in the book comes out of her fearlessness. But the actions she undertakes (including the adoption of the gang’s name and uniform, her critique of micro-credit schemes or the peace in her marriage) come out of years of strategising. This book is more like a V.I. Warshawski novel than any autobiography you’ve ever read. Only, the detective-vigilante is based in Bundelkhand, cracks cases of corrupt ration shops, terrifies lazy policemen and enforces the NREGA.
35. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
This is the tenth Peter Wimsey murder mystery and definitely the most fascinating. Harriet Vane is still being wooed very carefully by Wimsey who helped prove that she hadn’t killed her lover (Strong Poison). Vane doesn’t want to confuse gratitude with love and is sick of all the notoriety. She retreats to what (she doesnt quite phrase as) the warm womb of her all-women’s college in Oxford. But the college has its own problems with a malicious prankster. The book has the usual Sayers class-blindness which can grate. But the excellent discussions on work, love vs work, independence, women’s education, female friendship does qualify it for the running as one of the first feminist detective novels.
36. Feminist Fables by Suniti Namjoshi
If you haven’t read this book yet, you are missing out! Namjoshi’s first collection is a series of tiny paragraphs of perfection. Namjoshi takes fables and folktales and does some unprecedented gender-bender things to “There was once…” Her versions are sometimes simple, koan-like and other times more intricate. But the stories are always elegant, thoughtful and unpredictable. Here are some.
37. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Do you love Tina Fey from her television shows or because you love the script of Mean Girls? That’s great. But really you don’t need to love her to love this book. It has some memoir-ish elements but it’s more polemic than memoir and is non-stop funny. This book is also home to this awesome, quotable anecdote. “Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to [Amy Poehler] and in a faux-squeamish voice said: “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.” Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit …” Go on. Say it aloud. I don’t fucking care if you like it.
38. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman
What is the book about? The book is about an immigrant Hmong family whose little daughter is diagnosed with epilepsy and their struggles with the medical establishment in California. But really, the book is not about that at all. It is about cultural dissonance, a dissonance that can’t be wished away with goodwill or kindness. Fadiman is better known for her books about reading and bibliomania but this is a wonderful work that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.
39. Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
This children’s classic is perfect for many grown-up readers. You will empathise with the 11-year-old Harriet’s love for writing and love of people-watching. She takes notes of all the people-watching enthusiastically to further her art. But one day Harriet drops her notebook and everybody finds out what she’s been writing about them. And nobody is happy. What will happen to Harriet now?
40. Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But… by Gogu Shyamala
This is Dalit feminist Gogu Shyamala’s first collection of short stories. Translated from Telugu, the stories are witty and subversive. As one critic said, “Many things can and do go wrong, but there are no burnings, killings, maimings and rape (though there are threats of, and attempts at, some of these things). This is an interesting tactic because when stories end well—such as Braveheart Badeyya or Tataki Wins Again—the reader is forced to question her expectation of violence in fiction and ask what it means that the author refuses time and again to offer it.” Here is an excerpt.
41. A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
The title of this blistering essay is its argument. To write, and to win a place in the male literary world, female writers need a room of their own. With this deceptively simple line Woolf shows us how female writers are always in a race against time, space and money. Woolf is most often celebrating as a formally inventive, human consciousness-exploring modernist fiction writer. But nobody has better non-fiction persuasion skills than Virginia Woolf.
42. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler
Judith Butler’s 1991 book Gender Trouble sent the academic world into a complete tailspin. Most radically, she flung a series of searching questions at the feminist universe. By arguing that gender was not simply innate or biological, Butler spotlighted our daily performance of gender roles. Social control and power, for Butler, were not amorphous, out-there concepts. She told us that our smallest actions — how we dress, how we talk — could perpetuate both. In short, the starting point of feminism wasn’t the biological women. PS: Certain “radical” feminists have used Butler’s work to underplay biology and cast female-to-male trans people as deluded by patriarchy. Butler categorically rejected this. Read on.
43. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
One of the best-known feminist books in the world written by a French existentialist philosopher. It is arguably the most influential book on second-wave feminism in the West. It’s the feminist treatise equivalent of doing a plank pose for 5 minutes. It’s back-to-basics. It’s hard-core. And builds muscles.
44. Aphrodite: A Memoir of The Senses by Isabel Allende
In interviews about the book, Allende says she had been in mourning for her daughter Paula for a while when she had a dream of a naked Antonio Banderas slathered in guacamole and rolled up in a tortilla. This she saw as the beginning of her recovery. While the book could have drowned in its own aromas (certainly the reviews are mostly fainty-swoony) Allende retained a sense of light-heartedness. There’s a bunch of stuff about cooking in the nude and about grandmothers. The biggest clue about the project lies in the description of her (and collaborator Robert Shekter’s) experiments on people with these recipes. “Friends who, as they enjoyed the aphrodisiacs, were informed of their power confessed to delicious thoughts, winged impulses, fits of perverse imagination and secretive behaviour, while those who knew nothing about the experiment devoured their fare without visible change.” Do get your hands on Aphrodite for several hours of fun and some competent, if slightly old-fashioned, recipes.
45. A Life Less Ordinary by Baby Halder, Translated by Urvashi Butalia
Now translated into over 20 languages and counting, this memoir by Baby Halder is a compelling one – after living through a traumatic childhood and suffering an abusive husband, Baby, who was a mother of three and worked as a domestic help, found employment in the home of Prabodh Kumar, who happened to be the grandson of the legendary writer Premchand. On noticing her interest in the books in his home, he encouraged her to read, and then encouraged her to write a memoir and have it published. Baby’s memoir (originally titled Aalo Andhari and written in Bengali) has since become a besteller, and highlights the rights of domestic workers.
46. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
Written as a series of first-person vignettes, the book is about a young Latina growing up in Chicago, determined to leave her poor neighbourhood behind. Esperanza, the novel’s main character, navigates class, identity and gender roles in this book, which was published 30 years ago to instant critical acclaim. Look out for the lovely moment in the book where Esperanza’s mum tells her not to “lay her [her neck] on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain” of marriage.
47. The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story by A. Revathi, Translated by V. Geetha
This book by Bangalore-based transgender rights activist A. Revathi is an account of her quest to establish her identity and live with dignity, tracing her journey from a village in Tamil Nadu, where she was born, to Delhi and elsewhere, detailing the discrimination, violence and abuse she faced at several turns. It’s the story of an incredibly brave person making her way through an unforgiving society, and well worth a read.
48. And Who Will Make The Chapatis? Edited by Bishakha Datta
How did changes in policy post-Independence create space for women in politics, particularly at the local, rural level? This award-winning collection of interviews with women from all-women political panchayats in Maharashtra, spanning panchayats from the oldest one on record (between 1963 and 1968) to ones active at the time of publication in 1998, looks at the impact women’s involvement had on governance. It includes reports by Meenakshi Shedde, Sonali Sathaye, Sharmila Joshi and Bishakha Datta.
49. Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World by Claudia Roth Pierpont
“A writer to reckon with takes on a dozen women who were writers to reckon with,” says Salon. A collection of critical essays originally published in the New Yorker on women occupying as diverse positions in the literary world as Olive Schreiner, Ayn Rand, Margaret Mitchell, Hannah Arendt and Doris Lessing, Pierpont’s interesting work connects these women by looking at them in terms of specific issues including race, sexual freedom and politics.
50. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Álvarez
The Garcia family is displaced from the Dominican Republic to the US as an immigrant family that was forced to leave behind the upper-middle class existence they once led. The story is told backwards, moving from the US to the family’s early lives in the Dominican Republic, focusing on four sisters – Carla, Yolanda, Sandra and Sofia – exploring their identities and coming-of-age. Don’t miss Álvarez’s first novel, said to have “made a resounding splash on the literary scene”.
(And that, folks, was only Part 1. Look out for more books on our reading list, coming soon!)
Update: Here is Part 2.