Top 5 books about an interesting woman I've read so far this year

Friends, our reading year is half over! (I'm not the only one who measures time this way, am I?) If you follow any sort of reading challenge for the year, I thought I could help you fill in some of the categories with what I've been reading so far this year.  (For what it's worth, I chose these categories from this popular reading challenge.) 

Previous Top 5s: 

Top 5 books published in 2017 I've read so far this year

Category: A book about an interesting woman

Putting this list together was easy because I realized I love reading about interesting women (fictional or real-life!). It was also hard because I could have added a bunch more! What are your favorite books about interesting, strong, funny, quirky, talented, kind, fierce women?


1.  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin Books, 2003. 336 pages )

The heartbreak of this story is beautifully overshadowed by the beauty of its characters. A book I will re-read every couple of years. I haven't read a book that better describes the beauty of female relationships than this - pass it on!

2.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Broadway Books, 2011. 381 pages)

My daughter Natalie read this in an ethics class for school, and promptly put it in the book pile on my night stand. It took me a while to get to it, and then a while to finish reading it. It's a fascinating, sad, and important story about the history of bio ethics, medical research and the way racism permeates our social institutions at deep levels. This is a story with both a personal (Henrietta Lack's tragic life and the struggle her family faces still today) and epic ("One scientist estimates that if you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—an inconceivable number, given that an individual cell weighs almost nothing.") in scale. Anyone who's had a polio vaccine owe Henrietta a debt of gratitude, not to mention the countless other ways her cells (still alive today in research labs around the world) have benefitted human health, but most of us have never heard of her. Rebecca Skloot does a beautiful job of telling a complex story about science through the lens of story. I heartily recommend this book! (You can read an excerpt here at the author's excellent website.)

3.  You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir by Melissa Ohden (Plough Publishing House, 2017. 160 pages)

The well-documented and dramatic details of Melissa Ohden’s survival stand on their own as an important memoir, and are made more valuable by an invitation to readers to consider their own experiences of suffering. See my full review here. 

4.  Still Life With Bread Crumbs: A Novel by Anna Quindlen (Random House, 2014. 288 pages)

Rebecca Winter is a photographer well known for work she's done in the past, and wanting to make something new. She moves from her luxe city life to a cabin in the woods and befriends a quirky cast of characters who were easy for me to love, too. Pleasant reading. Well-written characters and interesting plot line. A great vacation book!

5.  Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters -- And How to Talk About It by Krista Tippett (Penguin Books, 2008. 240 pages)

For the past year or so, I've been listening to the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett.  This is my first time reading her, and I feel like I've found another important mentor.  Tippett is eloquently skilled at communicating her own faith while intelligently engaging people of all faiths to share their own stories.  This is a rare skill, and I want to grow in it.

I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!  

What are some of the best books you've read so far this year? 


Here's all the books I've read in JanuaryFebruaryMarch/April, & May/June.

Go to my reading lists page to see my reading lists from 2016 and previous years.

Here's my Goodreads page. Let's be friends!

p.s. there are all kinds of affiliate links in this post because I'm trying to be a good steward, and when you buy something through one of these links you don't pay more money, but in some magical twist of capitalism we get a little pocket change. Thanks!