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Books We Like

Published 2/28/2019 by Zeinab Savage

Books We Like

As March is Women’s History Month, I felt obligated to share a few books that I love, and that showcase the plight of tragic female heroes. Each book selected has female characters that were censored by society and forced to fight back.

My first choice for this month was a book that was recommended to me by my graduate professor. I bought the book a year ago but was so busy that I abandoned ship and chose work over literature. I returned to this book this year and found that it is wonderfully perfect for historical fiction readers who enjoy the mixing of the human and spirit world.
“Balm” by Dolen Perkins-Valdez takes place right after the end of the Civil War and brings together the lives of a young white clairvoyant widow, a black roots woman and an ex-slave man on the hunt for his wife. Through the intertwining of these lives the reader is able to see that there is a need for healing, a need for a balm to soothe the heartache of those affected by the violence and division during a post Civil War-era.

The next book I recommend is the quintessential female journey. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston is a fictional tale that documents Janie Starks’ life as she trudges through her own femininity. She feels the pressure of being a young beautiful woman desired by many and has married men who only want to possess her. She finally wears the pants in life, as she falls for a younger man,Tea Cakes. After the tragedy of losing her beloved Tea Cakes, she finally learns to accept herself despite society’s expectations of her.

Last but not least, the true tragic female of all the books mentioned is Sor Juana del la Cruz. She was a historical figure and my personal idol. She was a secular nun living in colonial Mexico. She demanded the attention of the bishop of Puebla via a series of long letters advocating for women’s rights within the church to study mathematics and science in order to better understand the beauty of God’s creations more thoroughly. She, of course, was refuted and eventually silenced. It is not clear why she stopped writing, but her literature and letters have been stamped in history as being courageous and downright genius. The book chosen is “Sor Juana: Or, the Traps of Faith” by Octavio Paz.