5 Things You Should Read by Women

by a contributor

from Laura Kochman, author of  Letters to a Tenant:

  1. Diana Wynne Jones – Anything, but especially Deep Secret. Inter-galatic troubles! A missing heir! Computer codes! A sci-fi convention hotel with too many angles! England! What more could you want? I can’t remember how many times I’ve read this book. I loved Diana Wynne Jones when I was a kid, and I love her just as much as an adult.
  2. Sabrina Orah Mark – Tsim Tsum (and The Babies) are just gorgeous and playful, but they will also rip you apart and leave you behind. These books make me feel desperate and lonely, in a good way.
  3. Cole Swensen – Ours. I mean, I love a good pun, and this one’s in the title. But beyond that, I love Ours because of its sense of structure and containment, questions of form and formality.
  4. Maureen Quilligan – The Language of Allegory: Defining the Genre. I have to confess, I have not read the whole book. But what I have read of this book changed the way that I perceive words, and if that is not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. This is one of very few pieces of literary criticism that I enjoyed reading, not just for the brilliant thought but the way in which it is written. AND she legitimizes puns.
  5. Alice Notley – The Descent of Alette. I recently left this behind on a plane, and I’m going to replace my copy, because it is worth replacing, and also buying as a present. I hope my copy lives with a flight attendant who reads it nightly. The Descent of Alette is about tyranny, in language and in life, and the strength to overcome it from forgotten sources. It’s also about other things. But you should read it yourself.