Regular readers of this blog will know that I love a good book, in fact I have a book club Ladies Lit Squad and I do try and read a book a week (I’m fast and usually do it in one day at the weekend) unless life gets in the way. Anyway this crappy winter weather is probably a very good impetus for us all to get snuggled up with a good page-turner and here are three written by women and with a truly compelling female lead,enjoy!
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
In this super-interesting book, science writer Rebecca Skloot looks at the life and afterlife of Henrietta Lacks, the African-American woman whose cancer cells were harvested and used to create an immortal cell line for scientific experimentation. You could say that Henrietta is the most important woman in medical history as her cells, taken from a cervical-cancer biopsy, became the first immortal human cell line and have helped scientists to research and find cures for literally hundreds of diseases. So why do we know nothing about this woman? Why do her family still live in poverty while other people have made millions off of her biology? This book is a riveting look at science and race and you have to read it.
Tampa by Alissa Nutting
This novel was inspired by the case of Debra Lafave, a 24-year-old American teacher who was arrested for an affair with her 14-year-old student, but escaped prison when her defence lawyer successfully argued that she was “too pretty for prison”. The plot of Tampa follows Celeste Price a 26 year-old, affluent, stunning schoolteacher in suburban, Florida. All she wants is sex with pubescent boys, all the time, and her job allows her access. This book makes for uncomfortable reading at times, Celeste is unapologetic, a predator, but there are moments where you do warm to her. The effect on the boys she seduces is well-written and it’s definitely an… interesting… read.
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
This book follows the story of brilliant but fraying Bernadette, her adoring husband Elgie and her daughter Bee. It’s written in an interesting style through a series of letters, emails, phone transcripts, doctors’ reports, instant messaging exchanges and even a transcript of a TED Talk. Bernadette is such an interesting character, fiercely intelligent but kooky, she’s agoraphobic, she lives in a crumbling house, the neighbours hate her, but she’s so likeable. This story revolves around the story of how she goes missing… but will she be found?