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What is World Book Day?

World Book Day is, quite simply, an annual event that was introduced by the UN in 1995 to encourage more people to read and promote books. It takes place on March 5 each year, with people around the world asked to share their favourite books, talk openly about the value of reading, and shine a spotlight on authors whose work has been unfairly overlooked.

Seven books by seven inspiring women

In this list, we will highlight an array of female-authored books focused on a variety of topics, written in differing styles, and determined to bring attention to all manner of subject matters, issues and female-centric concerns.

1. (Fiction) The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

The term ‘page-turner’ is used far too frequently these days, but with regard to The Flat Share, it is absolutely appropriate. The book, which balances lifestyle, romance, drama, real-life complications and potential tragedy perfectly, went slightly under the radar upon its release, and deserves to be read far and wide. Though branded ‘chick-lit’ or part of the ‘women books’ subset, The Flat Share is far more robust, subtle and innovative than the stigma associated with such terms would suggest. With a number of follow-up books already in the pipeline, O’Leary is one to watch for the future.

2. (Fiction) Saturdays at Noon – Rachel Marks

This is a book focused on compassion, second chances, fashion, making a difference, and remaining hopeful even in the darkest of times, and Marks weaves these very disparate subject matters with a deftness of touch that deserves to be recognised. Though hard-hitting and emotive, this is an ideal holiday read, so be prepared to devour it in one sitting while basking in the summer sun. As ‘girl books’ go, this one should move quickly to the very top of your reading list.

3. (Non-fiction) Constellations: Reflections from Life – Sinéad Gleeson

When it comes to writing about illness, the female body and the ongoing struggle associated with overcome challenges and hurdles, nobody comes close to Sinéad Gleeson. Constellations, a collection of essays spanning topics such as childbirth, helplessness at the hands of medical professionals and coping with mental and physical pain, is a staggering – and altogether haunting – piece of work.

4. (Fiction) The Forgotten Sister – Caroline Bond

Caroline Bond has a gift that very few authors possess: she is capable of integrating familial drama with hope, poetic penmanship with incredibly comprehensive character development, and does so with apparent ease. The Forgotten Sister is as powerful as it is engaging, and undoubtedly warrants a place on this list. If you’re looking for a story that expertly delves into sibling rivalry and the associated emotions, sentiments and intensity that comes with such a relationship, look no further.

5. (Fiction) Outline – Rachel Cusk

No female author has divided opinion in the last few years quite like Rachel Cusk. Many have condemned her writing, calling it dull, boring and unengaging – but for others, it is the work of a true literary master. For her fans, Outline is a novel of astounding beauty, and a book that deserves to be read time and time again. Be prepared for Cusk to be your new favourite writer.

6. (Non-fiction) I Choose Elena – Lucia Osborne-Crowley

This is not an easy read – it focuses on the author’s personal experience of sexual assault and long-term physical and psychological trauma – but it is an absolutely essential piece of work. The book is written in a style that is at once beautiful and lyrical, harrowing and tear-inducing; it is a vital account of vulnerability and bravery, showcasing that overcoming adversity is, though difficult, possible. Osborne-Crowley is an author with a unique approach to discussing affliction and hope, and her writing is some of the most powerful to be committed to paper in years.

7. (Fiction) The Water Cure – Sophie Mackintosh

This book is, in one word, extraordinary. It is like nothing you will ever have read before, and it is so much the better for it. Part science fiction, part observation on the current state of the world, part family drama and part gut-wrenching prediction of the future, The Water Cure is a stunning work of fiction from the mind of one of the UK’s most ambitious, interesting and creative minds. Regardless of what you would traditionally read, this is a book that will work for you.

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