5 women every writer should read in 2014

Samantha Shannon
Category: Reading
Tagged: women, fiction

As a female writer, sometimes the statistics can be daunting. After all, according to the 2012 Vida count the number of women being reviewed by and reviewing for major publications is scant compared to their male counterparts. 2014 is looking to change that and Twitter is leading the way. The #readwomen2014 hashtag has gone viral. The campaign calls for readers to make an effort to read books by the amazing female authors who don’t always get their due. In honour of that, here are five books we should all read this year:


The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Shannon has been referred to as the next JK Rowling for the first book in her planned seven book YA series. While I wouldn’t go that far, Shannon’s take on the dystopian future is certainly worth reading. It follows Paige, a clairvoyant, in a society where clairvoyance is outlawed. Shannon’s novel does a good job of bridging YA with adult literature, as Paige is nearly twenty. It may cover many familiar themes, but The Bone Season blends sci-fi, YA, and alt history in a way that makes me sure the next installment in Paige’s story is sure to be an interesting one.


Gone Girl ­– Gillian Flynn

Flynn’s third novel was a smash hit when it was released, and for good reason. The tightly plotted thriller provides a great example of moral ambiguity without trying too hard. For those who don’t know, the novel follows Nick Dunne as we try to decipher whether or not he murdered his wife on their fifth wedding anniversary. With the David Fincher adaptation being released later this year, 2014 is the perfect time to delve into Flynn’s take on the psychology of a long-term relationship.


Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson

 Robinson’s novel is a blend of Native Canadian culture and tight prose. She is the first Native Canadian writer to receive international acclaim and it’s easy to see why. Monkey Beach has been described as evoking ‘the redemptive, vital lives of a once dying culture with Robinson’s insider compassion and trickster wit.’ The crux of the novel is a familiar story – a teenage girl in search of understanding. But by including so much about her own native culture, Robinson allows us to explore a world rarely seen in international literature.


Kitchen – Banana Yashimoto

It’s not only her choice of first name that makes Yashimoto a unique writer. The Japanese writer is a critical darling with Kitchen – her first novel ­ receiving both critical praise and commercial success. She has been described as ‘the poster child for Gen X in Japan’ as she explores themes like death and the way such experiences shape our lives. While tales of love and loss are not new, Yashimoto’s way of juxtaposing stories and characters give books like Kitchen  a genuine sense of originality.


The Embassy of Cambodia – Zadie Smith

I couldn’t make it through a list of women to read in 2014 without mentioning Zadie Smith. The Embassy of Cambodia  is a bold publication in that it’s a 69-page book, divided into 21 chapters. While that may not seem like enough book for someone who writes as vibrantly as Smith, she manages to ‘shrink the novel yet create a poised, vibrant world in just 69 pages.’ Smith is someone who should be on everyone’s reading list, but for those more inclined to short fiction, this story is a definite must read.

Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading this year? Share them in the comments below!

If you’re looking for more reading recommendations, check out our book lists, including 10 Funny Books by Women and Pioneering Women.

Melissa Hugel

Melissa Hugel is a writer based in Edinburgh. Her story 'Finally' won the April round of the 50 Word Fiction Competition. Follow Melissa on twitter @mellyhugs

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