17 Must-Read Classics By Female Authors

*This post was originally published in December.

Ah, winter break.  Time to unwrap some presents, drink some hot chocolate and spend some much deserved time doing absolutely nothing.  That is until it becomes unbearable to laze around your house for one more hour.  Admit it, it happens.  So for those moments when you just really need to dedicate your brain to something and you’re just tired of watching Netflix, here are some books to keep you busy.

We wanted to highlight some classics by ladies for you since often times they are sorely underrepresented on lists of top books through the ages (but especially in lists of classics).  The Guardian published a list of the 100 greatest novels in 2003, and out of their top 10 books, only 2 are written by women.  So, because we know Lala girls like discovering new #girlbosses and these writers deserve all the credit they’re due, here are 17 ways for you to entertain yourself over the next couple of weeks (or, you know, forever).

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Themes: Race, Justice, Youth, Family

Emma – Jane Austen

Themes: Foolishness, Marriage, Transformation, Respect



Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Themes: Marriage, Education, Morality, Autonomy

jane eyre



Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Themes: Life, Science, Revenge, Secrecy


Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Themes: Femininity, Home, Literature & Writing, Sacrifice

little women








A Wrinkle In Time – Madeline L’Engle

Themes: Wisdom, Fate, Good vs. Evil, Time



The Color Purple – Alice Walker

Themes: Violence, Religion, Race, Love

the color purple









Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Themes: Identity, Children, Femininity, Freedom

handmaid's tale









The Outsiders – SE Hinton

Themes: Society & Class, Loyalty, Violence, Choices










Harry Potter – JK Rowling

Themes: Friendship, Home, Good vs. Evil, Courage










White Teeth – Zadie Smith

Themes: Friendship, Identity, Religion, History

white teeth









The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie

Themes: Death, Justice, Crime










The Secret History – Donna Tartt

Themes: Beauty, Sexuality, Social Class, Guilt

secret history


The Awakening – Kate Chopin

Themes: Identity, Femininity, Love, Art & Culture











Beloved – Tony Morrison

Themes: Home, Masculinity, Family, The Supernatural










Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

Themes: Society & Class, Isolation, Suffering, Madness

mrs dalloway









Like Water For Chocolate – Laura Esquivel

Themes: love, family, sexuality, food (!)


Rachel Knuttel

Contributor, Indiana University Major: Elementary Education Her heart belongs to: sunshine, words, cats, Harry Potter, marching bands, libraries, & endless cups of tea. Her guilty pleasures: going to bed early and eating way too much fancy cheese (and not believing in guilty pleasures)!

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