Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books About Extraordinary Women


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie–pick your own topic. I choose extraodinary women in fiction and nonfiction.






Remarkable Creatures: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier is about two Victorian women of different “stations” in life who adore fossils. My review was on my old blog, but you can see how this novel came to mind one week in this post.

Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman is one of the few collections of short stories I’ve finished reading. You can read my full review here.

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe is a very, very,  VERY rare woman posing as man book that held my attention and earned my respect. Read more about this and the other Civil War book I liked with a woman posing as a man in this post.

The Commoner by John Burnham Swartz is an amazing novel of the extraordinary woman who became today’s Empress of Japan. Not to be missed.




Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. The classic memoir of a Danish noblewoman Karen Blixen [she wrote under the name Isak Dinesen] running a coffee plantation in early 20th Century Kenya. Robert Redford and Meryl Streep starred in the movie. I nearly chose The Flame Trees of Thika as they had a more challenging life, but Blixen was the more extraordinary woman.

The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell  is the incredible collective biography of Britain’s most extraordinary group of siblings. The Mitford Sisters included the a Hitler stalker (in today’s paralance) supposedly conceived in Swastika (name: Unity); a Communist who wrote prescient send-ups of the American way of birth and death (Jessica), and the extraordinary Debo, Duchess of Devonshire, sister-in-law of JFK’s late sister Kick. And those are only half of them! Then there’s Diana, the scandalous wife of British Fascist leader Oswald Mosely,  author Nancy Mitford abd Pam–the Quiet One. These are simply the most interestesting aristocrats ever. Full stop.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonal is a dual-biography–of the author T.H. White (The Once and Future King) and his tortured homosexuality and of a young woman, the author,  entranced by falconry. You can read my full review here.

Pinstripes & Pearls: The Women of the Harvard Law Class of ’64 Who Forged an Old Girl Network and Paved the Way for Future Generations by Judith Richards Hope is exactly what the title promises: an intriguing look at the extraordinary women of the Harvard Law class of ’64. Extraordinary women indeed.  You can see more books on law school and lawyers in this post.

Life List by Olivia Gentile tells of St. Louis housewife, Phoebe Snetsinge, and her strange obsession to build the ultimate birder’s life list (birds seen in nature). Way more interesting than you may think. She was truly an extraordinary woman and not only in birding circles. You can read my full review in this post.

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden. On my old blog this was one of my Must Read Book of 2012]. When women get bored, look out. These two left their comfortable homes and calling cards behind to go out west an teach in the early 20th century. Superb book about two truly extraordinary women.


Top Ten Tuesday is held each wee at That Artsy Reader Girl. Why not join in? You can read the rules here. Check out all of this week’s posts here.

17 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books About Extraordinary Women

  1. Nothing Daunted has been on my to-read list forever; thanks to you I think! Gosh, seems like almost every book I read features a strong woman. Maybe because I generally find women more interesting to read about than men? Great list —

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great list… I agree about I Shall Be Near To You … it was a great cross dressing book that felt modern and historical, quite a neat combo. And H for Hawk was fascinating! I do wish I had known it was a dual memoir as I was there for the hawk raising more than anything else but still quite a read. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I Shall Be Near To You is truly a beautiful book, absolutely one of my favorites. I’m so glad to see Remarkable Creatures on your list as well. I picked up a copy and haven’t read it yet. I just read an amazing mash-up of Pride & Prejudice and Frankenstein (called Pride and Prometheus), and Mary Anning is a character in the book. I had no idea until I’d finished that she was a real person, and now I want to read more about her, so I’m definitely looking forward to Remarkable Creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

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