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NHPR Reads: March 2024

To honor Women’s History Month, we chose a few of our favorite texts by extraordinary women. Not all of the extraordinary women authors out there, not by a long shot, but just a handful of favorites - this list could truly go on for miles. I spent a few years only reading books by women, and it was a time full of rich characters, true gems, bracing emotional gut punches, falling in love and getting my heart broken, and I cherished every page. I’d recommend it to everyone! Hopefully, this is a small place to start. If you add any of these to your indie bookstore order or your reading list, give us a shout at voices@nhpr.org - we’d love to hear what you think! - Sara

Thank Your Lucky Stars by Sherrie Flick

This collection feels like a treasure chest. Sherrie Flick's fifty stories range in length from a paragraph to a small handful of pages. Some read more like poetry, that you’ll finish and immediately have to read again. But no matter what, each story will leave you with the feeling that anything is possible and no wish should ever go unwished. - Zoë

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

A dying woman recounts the summer of 1969, when she struck up a beautiful but complicated friendship with a couple that aren’t all that they seem to be. Written in a gothic style, with occasionally jarring prose, Bitter Orange is a slow burn that gradually unfolds into mystery and intrigue. Who are we if not the stories we tell about ourselves? - Sara

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

Tom Lake is a gorgeous sweeping novel about family, love, storytelling, and the role those stories take in shaping our own lives. Patchett’s biggest strengths as an author, to me, is her ability to effortlessly connect timeline and Tom Lake is a stunning example. I found myself daydreaming about the book for weeks after reading it. If possible, I recommend listening to the audiobook - narrated by the legendary Meryl Streep! - Zoë

All’s Well by Mona Awad

A magical, surreal text where a theater director, riddled with chronic pain and hopped up on meds, is determined to put on the play that ended her stage career. She receives an offer that might be too good to be true. All’s Well is funny and heartbreaking and weird. Mona Awad tells stories about women that are hard and occasionally heartless, but brimming with delight and surprise. - Sara

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

Queer fiction is a vital part of the literary world and Carmen Maria Machado is an extraordinarily important voice. This collection explores how women navigate a society that is obsessed with policing female bodies while men ask for more even after being given everything. Each sentence is meticulously and lovingly crafted. Machado’s haunting magical realism will stick to your bones (and mine!) for years to come. - Zoë

A Darker Shade of Magic (series) by V. E. Schwab

A mysterious man with a red coat, a brash and sassy lady pirate heroine, and four Londons, all in their own individual planes with their own forms of magic (or lack thereof). A rollicking fantasy series that will have you glued to the pages, rooting for Delilah and Kel as they traverse worlds together. - Sara

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

“The girl detective must go to the underworld to solve the case of the tap-dancing bank robbers. A librarian falls in love with a girl whose father collects artificial noses. A dead man posts letters home to his estranged wife. Two women named Louise begin a series of consecutive love affairs with a string of cellists.” I didn’t think I could do better than the synopsis at encapsulating Kelly Link’s strange and touching tales. This is her first collection of short stories, and it’s the one that hooked me. - Sara

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I am a sucker for dark academia novel, for an effete group of private school students getting above themselves and suffering the consequences. One of my all-time favorites, The Secret History is a gorgeous character study of seven unforgettable people who slowly descend away from traditional morality, while attempting to live more affected, intellectual, unordinary lives - and of course they’re all young adults. Tartt is masterful with every single word. - Sara

Sara recommended this novel to me a while ago and I am so glad she did. As a former Classics student, this felt close to home in all the weirdest ways. You may not love all of these characters or even root for them, but they will certainly leave a lasting impression. Tartt’s lyrical prose even inspired me to pick up my own pen and paper and write a bit. I can not recommend this book enough! - Zoë

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

I unabashedly love everything Carson McCullers has ever done. She was a true master of the Southern gothic, and she rarely gets her due, like William Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor. McCullers suffered with profound mental illness, and even her warmest stories have a dark heart at the center of them. This one is no exception. It will make you feel things. - Sara

The Father by Sharon Olds

This chapbook is one that I not only love, but one I deeply connected with and found solace in at just the right moment. Sharon Olds writes plainly, a step-by-step description of death and the aftershocks. This book gave me permission to sob, laugh, and feel everything all at once, and I hope it can do the same for some of you. - Zoë

NHPR Reads is a blog series published on the second Thursday of the month dedicated to poetry, prose, and everything in between. Follow along for a staff-curated list of what we’re reading that month and read along with us!

Zoë Kay serves as the Marketing and Event Coordinator for the station. She is focused on working within and alongside the communities of New Hampshire to promote the mission of NHPR.
Sara has been a part of NHPR since 2011. Her work includes data visualizations, data journalism, original stories reported on the web, video, photos and illustrations. She is responsible for the station's visual style and print design, as well as the user experience of NHPR's digital platforms.
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