50 books that didn’t make the ‘cool’ list but should have

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Last night I stumbled across this list of the 50 coolest books ever. I’m not really sure how the website Short List defines ‘cool’ but from the list of titles, I’m going to say the ‘cool’ books are the ones you read in your late teens and early twenties that (at the time, at least) seem a little bit edgy and definitely make you feel smart and literary. They’re the books you tuck under your arm instead of carrying in your backpack because you want everyone to know you’re reading them.

As far as arbitrary internet lists go, this list isn’t a bad one. Some of my favourite books made the cut. Except that 47 of the 50 are by male authors. The other three are The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both by Ayn Rand. I know it’s just a stupid list that some low-level content producer probably spewed out in a panic on deadline, but only THREE books by female authors in a list of 50?! Really?! Lame.

To prove just how lame, and how easy it is to make a whole list of so-called ‘cool’ books by only female authors, I went ahead and did it. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there’s probably a whole bunch of really obvious titles I’ve forgotten. But from a quick scan of my real and Goodreads bookshelves, here are 50 books by female authors that I carried around hoping people would notice the titles and think I was cool. Also, unlike the first list, I didn’t cheat—these are 50 books by 50 different authors.

Unknown1. The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

 

 

 

 

ripley2.The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

 

 

 

 

the little friend3. The Little Friend By Donna Tartt

 

 

 

 

Pessl_Night-Film4. Night Film By Marisha Pessl

 

 

 

 

rockaway5. From Rockaway By Jill Eisenstadt

 

 

 

 

light gets in6. How the Light Gets In by M J Hyland

 

 

 

 

oryx7. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

 

 

 

 

red spikes8. Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan

 

 

 

 

toyshop9. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

 

 

 

 

ntkg10. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

 

 

 

 

tampa11. Tampa by Alissa Nutting

 

 

 

 

the end of alice12. The End of Alice

 

 

 

 

theinterestings13. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

 

 

 

 

prozac14. Prozac nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

 

 

 

 

prep15. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

 

 

 

 

Rebecca16. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

 

 

 

 

witch17. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

 

 

 

 

on beauty18. On Beauty by Zadie Smith

 

 

 

 

good man19. A Good man is hard to find and other stories by Flannery o’connor

 

 

 

 

notes on a scandal20. Notes on a scandal by ZoË heller

 

 

 

 

poisonwood21. The Poisonwood bible by Barbara Kingsolver

 

 

 

 

girl interrupted22. Girl Interrupted by Susanna kaysen

 

 

 

 

rehearsal23. The rehearsal by Eleanor catton

 

 

 

 

girl half formed24. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

 

 

 

 

flamethrowers25. The FlameThrowers by Rachel kushner

 

 

 

 

loud earth26. The Loud Earth by Elisabeth murray

 

 

 

 

summer book27. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

 

 

 

 

shipping news28. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

 

 

 

 

god of small29. The God of Small Things by arundhati roy

 

 

 

 

ghosts child30. The Ghost’s Child by sonya hartnett

 

 

 

 

written on the body31. Written on the Body by jeanette winterson

 

 

 

 

frankenstein32. Frankenstein by mary shelley

 

 

 

 

bold as love33. Bold as Love by gwyneth jones

 

 

 

 

kevin34. We Need to Talk About Kevin by lionel shriver

 

 

 

 

strange35. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by susanna clarke

 

 

 

 

duncker36. Hallucinating Foucault by patricia duncker

 

 

 

 

no one belongs here more than you37. No One Belongs Here More Than You by miranda july

 

 

 

 

virgins38. The Virgins by pamela erens

 

 

 

 

oleander39. White Oleander by janet fitch

 

 

 

 

wide sargasso sea40. Wide Sargasso Sea by jean rhys

 

 

 

 

spirits41. The House of the Spirits by isabel allende

 

 

 

 

wuthering heights42. Wuthering heights by emily brontË

 

 

 

 

fingersmith43. fingersmith by sarah waters

 

 

 

 

just a girl44. just_a_girl by kirsten krauth

 

 

 

 

dalloway45. mrs dalloway by virginia woolf

 

 

 

 

moth diaries46. The moth diaries by rachel klein

 

 

 

 

room47. room by emma donoghue

 

 

 

 

yellow48. The yellow wallpaper by charlotte perkins gilman

 

 

 

 

picnic49. picnic at hanging rock by joan lindsay

 

 

 

 

mockingbird50. To kill a mockingbird by harper lee

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