Ready for the joys of summer including enjoying a good book? FirstLantic has some suggestions for some amazing beach reads that you may have missed when they were released. And the best part? All of the books were written by best-selling women authors age 50 and over! So, grab your beverage of choice and your beach chair and start enjoying (even if your beach chair is in your living room)! Oh, and be warned — some of these books tackle some pretty serious topics but we guarantee that you will not be disappointed by these amazing writers!
Jodi Picoult – A Spark of Light
Jodi Picoult is a prolific American writer that wrote her first story at the tender age of five and never stopped. At age 53, she has written 24 novels and had numerous books debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list including Nineteen Minutes, Change of Heart, Handle with Care and House Rules. Her books have been translated into 34 languages. Her latest novel released in 2018 is called A Spark Of Light and while the story tackles a highly sensitive topic, Picoult does not pass judgment or preach to her audience. It has been described as a book “written with warmth and urgency” and that Picoult writes about “people at their best, while understanding them at their most fragile”. The Washington Post also praised it commenting that, “A Spark of Light is Picoult at her fearless best”.
Claire Messud– The Burning Girl
Claire Messud is an American writer who has written six works of fiction and also teaches a literary traditions course each year as a part of CUNY Hunter College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.
Her 1995 debut novel, When The World Was Steady was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and The Emperor’s Children (released in 2006) was also critically praised, becoming a New York Times bestseller as well as being named to the longlist for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Although born in the U.S., in 1966, Messud lived in both Australia and Canada as a child and returned to the United States as a teenager. Her writing is no doubt influenced by her ongoing exposure to other cultures. Her mother is Canadian and her father is from French Algeria and Messud herself was educated in various parts of the world. Her latest novel published in 2017 is called “The Burning Girl”. The Los Angeles Times wrote a review of the book stating that Messud, “is an absolute master storyteller and bafflingly good writer” and it was nominated as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award. The story has been described as “a complex examination of youth and friendship and crafts a true portrait of female adolescence”.
Alice McDermott – The Ninth Hour
Alice McDermott is an American novelist as well as a university professor. At 66, she has written eight novels many of which have been nominated or received awards. Her first novel was Charming Billy for which she won an American Book Award as well as the National Book Award for Fiction. McDermott was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised Catholic and many of her books are focused on the Irish immigrant experience. In addition to her work as a novelist, she is also a Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. Her most recent release from 2017 was The Ninth Hour which debuted to critical acclaim. The book was nominated for the New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2017, The Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction 2017 and The Wall Street Journal’s Top 10 Novels of 2017 in addition to many others. As written in Oprah Magazine, “This author delivers another exquisite novel in which those who at first appear unremarkable—in this case, nuns in early-20th-century Brooklyn—are revealed as heroines, unflinching in their devotion to the flawed humans around them.”
Each of these three authors share an ability to write about ordinary people or events with extraordinary finesse. While these novels will make you think, they don’t attempt to tell you how or what you should think and that’s a big part of their beauty. And while the three authors highlighted above are amazing writers, there are plenty of other female authors to check out as well such as Lisa See and her novel, The Island of Sea Women or pick up a book by one of the 100 best female writers named in this list of recommendations. As J.K. Rowling famously said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” We could not agree more.