Growing up, the one thing that I used to always enjoy was reading books. And yes, at first it was just stories about Harry Potter and the Famous Five, but as I grew up and my genre range diversified, I came across several books with strong female leads, that inspire you and make you aspire to become like them.
In this post, I wanted to share with you, some of those books which have females with extraordinary strength and resilience, be it mental or physical, and the determination to break the patriarchy and stand above the general norm.
If you are looking for books like these to add in your to-read list, then please keep reading.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
For an author who wrote under the pen name of a man in order to get her work published and her voice heard by the masses, at a time when women weren’t allowed such things, you can very well expect that the protagonist of her book isn’t going to be any different.
Jane Eyre is a novel that is way ahead of its time, because it deals with topics like classism, feminism, religion, sexuality, and whose protagonist has such an individualistic character. Furthermore, given the current scenario going on across the world with regards to women, their rights, and the whole concept of feminism, the need for reading about such characters and taking inspiration from them is important.
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments is a book series about Shadowhunters, demons, politics, love, betrayal, and kickass fighting, with an incredible story line all rolled into one. And in the centre of it all is its protagonist, Clary Fray, whose courage, resilience, will to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, and determination to keep moving forward even when the going gets tough, is something everyone should inspire to become in their lives.
“Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander did not become famous until a TV show was created on it, but the readers of the book (and the viewers of the show) know that its lead, Claire, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a no-bullshit, independent woman who had served in the 2nd world war as a nurse, but during the second honeymoon with her husband, gets flung back in time to the 18th century Scottish Highlands, where the culture is a whole lot different than the one she is used to. However, she perseveres and doesn’t allow the men to hold her back or stop her from being who she truly is.
“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khalid Hosseini
At the crux of it, A thousand splendid suns is a tragedy, but somehow the author manages to bring it to an end on a bright note. The story focuses on two women, both being brought up in a completely different home setting in Afghanistan, but somehow managing to end up under the same roof with the same husband, who is nothing short of cruel. The story tells you about the relentless determination that Laila shows during a desperate time and the kindness that is there in Mariam’s heart for her, that makes her commit the ultimate crime in Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban. These ladies teach you about determination and tell you that no matter how difficult the time gets and how out of hand things seem to get, one should never falter or lose courage.
“Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell
A lot of readers may not be able to understand or even like Scarlett O’Hara, but one thing is for sure, she is certainly an unforgettable one. Scarlett may be selfish and vain, but she is a survivor. The story is based during the American Civil War and is centred in the South in a plantation, and is a historical novel that features of coming-of-age story. The author leaves the ending speculative for the reader, but has identified the primary theme as that of survival.
“Ten Days in a Mad-House” by Nellie Bly
Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, who wrote this under a nom de plume, was one brave woman. Working as a journalist, she feigned insanity in order to be involuntarily admitted to a women’s insane asylum, where she investigated about the reports of brutality and neglect. Her findings were published as a series of articles in the New York World newspaper and then were compiled by her into a novel. Her findings brought forward a much needed change in the US Department of Public Charities and Corrections, because of a Grand Jury investigation that took place based on her book.
“Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” by Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland is a fighter. Not only did she have to fight a vicious custody battle with her mother, but she also had to fight the prejudices thrown at her for being the only black woman in the American Ballet Theatre. Also, if you have seen the movie Black Swan, then you know how competitive the world of professional ballet is and much pressure the dancers have to stay petite. Copeland’s triumph in making the ABT accept her makes this memoir an inspiring and empowering read.