Here’s a compilation of my very favourite female authors/ philosophers/fighters…in short, the heroines who have taught me that you may belong to the fairer sex but you have every bit of a right to raise your voice and bring about a change; a revolution of sorts. Here is my list:
- Ayn Rand: This list cannot begin with any other name but hers. Ayn Rand had a vision…and she brought it into being through sheer persistance and hardwork. Born and educated in Russia, Ayn Rand migrated to the USA because she was lured by Hollywood and the prospect of screenwriting. Moreover, she was against the entire concept of a socialist economy: her vision was to establish the roots of ego into the minds of men who had been brought up to consider their own selves as unworthy of attention and had been taught to put others before themselves; this having been born as a conscious decision they did not even know they had taken! Her books The Fountainhead and ATLAS SHRUGGED brought into being her radical theory of objectivism; a philosophy that is unforgiving, just and stripped clear of emotion, riddled instead with a clear and cool logic. The masses she still draws, albeit posthumously, make her one of the most radical reformists I have ever known.
- Margaret Mitchell: The next name in my list has undoubtedly got to be that of the wonderful authoress of the epic love story Gone with the Wind. When I read her masterpiece, I was blown away by her comprehensive description of the American Revolution as a backdrop against a terrible love involving two extraordinary people, both ruthlessly selfish; Rhett Butler, who loved with an unbending, obstinate resolve and Scarlett O’Hara who did not know her own mind until it was too late. Margaret Mitchell undisputedly won a Pulitzer Prize for this piece or genius and she opened my eyes to a new style of writing; to begin with, she taught me that my protagonist can work as an antagonist as well and that real people are grey!
- Anne Frank: My list will be incomplete without her. She, who had the vision to make the world a better place, and if given a chance to live would have surely turned into a heroine of sorts. Nevertheless, her diary is the only way we can salute to her. To me, she has always represented the millions of other Jews who died under the Nazi regime as a result of the gas chambers, diseases and illnesses, or plain murder. Her diary is a ray of hope, the voice of a teenager who continued to believe in God, even though she was forsaken. And towards the very end, though everyone may not know of this, Anne Frank breathed so she could watch her sister delivered safely to the doors of death before she allowed her own self to succumb to it.
- Jane Austen: In a world where girls were like flower vases; inclined to be decorative, unworthy of eloquence and capable only of fish-hooking men through their captivating and flirtatious manners, Jane Austen created a bevy of beauties who were strong-willed, determined and out to conquer the world, listening to no one but their own selves. Jane Austen’s novels are long-term, perspective and satirical tales of love and loss and I enjoy them because she has created some endearing characters, Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite from amidst them.
- Beatrix Potter: I would say she is the least known personality on my list. I know of her only through a movie; Miss Potter, which I saw a long time back. Miss Potter was an English author and illustrator, most famous for her character of Peter Rabbit. She drew delightfully and created wonderful tales for children but lived during a time when women were discouraged from pursuing such arts. Her father was especially opposed to her indulging in intellectual pursuits. She well in love with the man who supported her; her publisher Norman Warne, but they were not to be, for Warne died. Later Beatrix estranged herself from her unsupportive parents and shifted to a beautiful countryside house, marrying another man for love and continuing down her chosen career path with amazing will-power! The movie inspired me enough to make me adore Beatrix Potter for her relentless drive!
- Agatha Christie: How can I keep her out of my list, the genius who wrote The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Five Little Pigs, Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile…and gave us the delightful M. Poirot with his bushy moustache and ever-proud brains?? I’ve spent hours enjoying her writing, feeling the goosebumps prick my arm as I read…Agatha Christie had a sharp, witty tone of writing and she added amusement to gravity, making her novels eerie but at the same time, cheerful!
- Enid Blyton: Anyone who grew up reading could not have grown up without reading Enid Blyton. I still remember the first Enid Blyton book I read: it was a Noddy story. Oh Noddy, the delightful, nodding little wooden toy! One of my favourite childhood characters. How I used to adore Tessie Bear! And then there were the Famous Five: Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog! ‘They find adventure and excitement wherever they go’! I devoured each and every single Famous Five book and the Malory Towers. And the best thing about Enid Blyton has been the fact that she never grows old; her books never go out of fashion and…neither does her food!<grin>
- J.K. Rowling: the last two people on my list are contemporaries, the only two people on this list who are still alive but their books are already hitting bestsellers. That’s not a criteria here, not really…but I would like to have Rowling on my list. I admire the Harry Potter series she has created and here’s the main reason why: I read a lot of Nancy Drew, see? And Carolyn Keene doesn’t make it to this list because she irritated me by making Nancy so flawless and amazing that beyond a handful, I did not really enjoy her sleuthing. At the same time, J.K. Rowling gives us Harry Potter; a novel, wonderful, no-pretense, peace-seeking, justice-loving Harry Potter who only wanted to be allowed to lead a normal life! Harry was never exceptionally talented nor exceptionally morale in his treatment towards life but one could always relate to Harry and live with him and love him (yes!) and that is what made the Harry Potter journey so special! Also added to it is the fact that J.K.Rowling had such an intricate, well-thought out layout for her novels. Such a fast-paced, exciting, biting suspense! Genius indeed.
- Stephanie Meyer: The last on my list, inevitably, is someone who i believe to be a victim of a fever that has swept across the world at large: the Twilight fever. I can’t believe she enjoys it, though she probably does. In her place, i wouldn’t say i would! But this is about her series; the way she writes is so ‘hypnotic, dreamy, enchanting’. Her narration flows like liquid and the scenes she had created are like reading through a vision- my favourite being the New Moon scene when Edward leaves (‘it will be as if I never existed’- ooh so chilling and heart-breaking). And yes, Bella Swan is not your typical, modern heroine but when I start to draw certain parallels, I can’t help seeing myself and a lot of other teenage girls in her. Yes, Stephanie Meyer has taken idol-worshipping to another level but hello? Would anyone ever stop to admire the fact that every teenage girl who has just had her hormones kicking in (oh dear, and its nearly impossible for anyone else to understand) goes through exactly the same things that Bella did, and that it is natural and if each of us were given an Edward of our own, we would forsake the rest for him because he would be so perfectly worth it, like no one else is? So Stephanie Meyer has created a saga of heartbreak and she has created it beautifully and I do wish the movies had never been made because they are undeserving and disgusting and I hate the fact that the movie characters have more or less destroyed the virgin purity of the books and now we have Twilight merchandise hitting the markets, not to mention the fact that people are dividing over into Team Edward, Team Jacob and Team Bella! How phony! I can bet the next thing to hit the streets would be Twilight games and that would be the successful slaughter of a tale well told!
Well there’s my list and please let me know what you think of it, if you ever reach the end of it! Toodles 🙂