5 female authors’ books I grew up with
In summer I always get a bit nostalgic and what is more fun than to be nostalgic about books? The discussion about how female authors should get more time in the spotlight and how the world of Fantasy and Science Fiction is dominated by males seems to have died down a bit, but beneath the surface it’s still there. I’ve always been pretty quiet when arguments like these flare up again, because I fell in love with Fantasy books written mostly by female authors when I was a teenager. Of all the series I’ve read in my teenage years, the female authors are pretty dominant. So I always felt a bit out of touch when people were discussing this subject. I think it’s because most of those books are Young Adult books and they tend to be written more by female than male authors (correct me if I’m wrong). But thinking about that I revisited a few series that I read and re-read numerous times when I was younger.
I’ve been reading books since before I had to learn it in school. I had all the Roald Dahl books and soon started in Marc De Bel’s books after that. From there I was led into the more psychological and heavy subject books of Dirk Bracke, but eventually I found my way into the Young Adult Fantasy world. (Ok, I skipped a lot of other books I read, but I don’t think Paddington Bear is a meaningful contribution to this post). I have no idea if they’re well known or not, but I wanted to introduce them to you. So here we go!
Cornelia Funke – Inkworld
First up is a series that I know is well known, because they made a movie based on the first book, Inkheart. I only read the first 2 books in this series, but instantly fell in love with the story. You see, this book tells a tale about books and the magic contained in books and their characters. I can remember I found all these amazing quotes about books in there and wrote them all down in a notebook. I felt so much emotions reading those quotes, because they rang true with how I felt about reading and books. Not only that, but this is just a great story full of magic, adventure and suspense. I must have re-read the first book several times and only found out this was a trilogy much, much later. I have to find the time to read that third and last book someday.
Mary Hoffman – Stravaganza
This series was another instant favourite in my teenage years. I adored these books. I read them again and again, made paintings about them, wished I lived in that world and that everything in those books was somehow real. Strangely enough I started with the second book in the series and read it dozens of times before I realised there were more books. I instantly bought the first and third book and fell in love again with the whole world Hoffman created. The main characters in the Stravaganza books can teleport to an alternate renaissance Italy where they have a whole new life and get in all sorts of trouble. There’s romance, there’s intrigue, there’s adventure, anything you’d want in a good Fantasy series. As part of the story is based in an alternate Italy, there is still a lot that is recognizable about this world’s Italian history and cities. I went on a trip across Northern Italy 6 years ago with school and felt strangely nostalgic about the Stravaganza books because I recognized so much of it and couldn’t help imagining the stories playing out around me when I was standing in the main square in, for example, Sienna. I have recently found out there are 3 more books and yet again it seems that I need to make some time to read those too.
Catherine Fisher – The Oracle Trilogy
Catherine Fisher created a fictional world that was a mixture of Egyptian and Greek culture but with her own fantastic twist on it. When I was a teen I was fascinated by the Egyptian and Greek myths and legends and their history. This is the kind of Historical Fantasy I still love to read. It is mystical, full of political intrigue and has a strong female protagonist that was a good rolemodel for a girl my age then. I used to visit the local bookstore time and again to ask the owner if the next book hadn’t come out yet. And when the second and third book came out, I practically squealed the whole place together. I did this for a lot of my favourite series back then and ’till this day, and it pains me to say that I don’t visit that store that often anymore, the owner still waves at me when he sees me.
J.K Rowling – Harry Potter
No need to introduce this one, I guess? I literally grew up with these books. The book was published in 1998 in Dutch, I was seven at the time. I immediately fell in love with the story and I am still in love with it. I am one of the Harry Potter generation and it is something that I will carry with me, as a big part of my life, for the rest of my years. Harry Potter shaped me in to the person I am today. I’m not ashamed to say that I have a wand (it’s so beautiful), I have a Deathly Hallows pendant, I used to have a Harry Potter bedspread and all sorts of schoolstuff and I am a Quidditch player. It’s part of who I am and it’ll always stay that way.
Marylin Kaye – Replica
It’s been a very long time since I’ve read these books and even seen them. They are currently located in my grandparents’ attick, together with all my childhood books because they had to make way for the massive amount of books I buy/get every year. This is the synopsis of the first book ‘Amy, Number Seven’:
Amy Candler is the perfect 12-year-old girl. She can do anything. She knows everything. But Amy doesn’t have all the answers to the mystery of her past. All she knows is that her recurring nightmares seem so real. That her crescent-shaped birthmark wasn’t there yesterday. That a strange man is taking photos of her. That her mother is acting weird. That someone is sending her anonymous warnings to keep her talents a secret. Slowly Amy is piecing together her identity, but she’d better hurry.
I must have read the first book around the time I read the first Harry Potter book and I can remember they both became instant favourites. I had a lot of Replica books, but I just checked and there are a total of 24 books in this series. I didn’t have that many of them. I’m afraid I might have outgrown the story a bit by now, but I’d still like to see where the story ends. It was full of excitement, mystery, action and even a bit of science and it just pulled me in right away.
Which authors do you remember most from your childhood/teenage years? Would you say I’m an exception when I comes to reading more female than male Fantasy authors? Share your thoughts in the comments!