It’s been 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act became law in the UK. For the first time, a woman could cast a vote in an election. But only if she met certain conditions – she had to be over 30 years old, have a considerable income, property, or a degree. It would take many more years and protests before all British people – irrespective of age, gender, class, and skin colour – would be able to exercise their democratic right to vote.
However, the 1918 Representation of the People Act was a significant step, among many before and since, towards a more equal society. To celebrate, I wanted to share a selection of books written by some fabulous women. Some are still on my TBR, while others are firm favourites of mine.
Women and Power – Mary Beard
I adored this volume of Beard’s lectures, in which she examines the role of women in public life and positions of power from ancient times to the present day. It’s such an excellent work, insightful and relevant. My full review can be found here.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
This has been on my TBR for months – I’ve just never felt ready to take that gorgeous dust jacket off the book. I’m excited to read it, though – Nadyia Hussein from The Great British Bake Off loved it!
The A-Z of Everything – Debbie Johnson
Another one from my TBR, I was about to read this last summer, but the plot (two sisters recovering from their mother’s death) felt a little too close to home. It still does, but it seems like a beautiful concept for a book nonetheless.
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
I adored this novel – following numerous, alternate lives of Ursula Beresford-Todd, we see how the smallest, most trivial of circumstances can change the course of multiple people’s futures. It’s so well-written, a real page-turner!
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
I’m very excited to read this book in 2018. Frankenstein is a cultural phenomenon in many ways, yet there seem to be some aspects of the story that have been skewed slightly. Mary Shelley seems to have been an incredible personality too.
The Birds and Other Stories – Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca aside, this may be my favourite work of du Maurier’s. There are a couple of stories that don’t have quite as much power, but the majority are just stunning. ‘The Birds’ and ‘Monte Verita’ are the standouts for me. So dark, intricate, and complex.
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
One of the things I love most about White Teeth (and Swing Time) is the fascinating depiction of London. Smith captures the ever-evolving vibrancy of the city; the layers upon layers of history and culture that co-exist; how it’s both vast and homely, familiar and strange. White Teeth is a stunning novel, drawing a beautiful tapestry from the characters’ lives.
There were so many other fantastic works written by women that I could have talked about, but I’d be here all day.
Here’s to continuing to create a more equal society for us all to thrive in!