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21 Books Every Woman Should Read In Her 40s

21 Books Every Woman Should Read In Her 40s, They are We Should All Be Feminists, Persepolis, #GirlBoss, White Teeth, Persuasion, Lean In, Americanah
Table of Contents
In this article, we talk about 21 Books Every Woman Should Read In Her 40s

Shakespeare once said: "Books are the nourishment of the world. Without books in life, it is like no sunlight; without books in wisdom, it is like birds without wings." 

Good books are the source of femininity and the eternal youth of the spirit. Women become intelligent and mature so women understand that packaging appearance is important, but more important is the nourishment of the soul.

1. We Should All Be Feminists

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. 

She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination but also on the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 

Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the US, in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful to women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty, and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

2. The World According to Garp 

by John Irving  



Famous contemporary American writer John Owen is a rich, wise, and humorous work. The main axis of the story is a man named Gap. He has a celebrity mother Jenny who was born in a wealthy family. Jenny is an unmarried mother. She said: "I want a job and live alone. I want a child, but I don't want to share my body or life with others." So she raised Gap and grew up. 

He spent a lot of energy to expand Gap’s horizons and even spent money to let him spend the night with a prostitute... In Owen’s brilliant writings, Gap’s world is imaginary, but the fear, happiness, and anger in this world The stories of love, complexity, and innocence, and the cycle between tragedy and comedy, illuminate real life. This book won the 1980 American National Book Award.

3. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

 by Marjane Satrapi



Wise, often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, "Persepolis," tells the story of Marjane Satrapi's life in Tehran from the ages of six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. 

"Persepolis" paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane's child's eye view adds immediacy and humor, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi's drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts.

4. Depression Hates a Moving Target 

by Nita Sweeney

Amazon's synopsis: 

Before she discovered running, Nita Sweeney was 49 years old, chronically depressed, occasionally manic, and unable to jog for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, Nita discovered an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon. In her memoir, Sweeney shares how she overcame emotional and physical challenges to finish the race and come back from the brink.


Anyone who has struggled with depression knows the ways the mind can defeat you. However, it is possible to transform yourself with the power of running. You may learn that you can endure more than you think and that there’s no other therapy quite like the pavement beneath your feet.

5. The Year of Magical Thinking 

by Joan Didion



From one of America's iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage–and a life, in good times and bad–that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband wife, or child.

Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, and complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later–the night before New Year's Eve–the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. 

In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma.

This powerful book is Didion's attempt to make sense of the “weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness... About marriage and children and memory... About the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."

6. The 21-Day Financial Fast 

by Michelle Singletary

Amazon's synopsis: 

In The 21-Day Financial Fast, award-winning writer and The Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary proposes a field-tested financial challenge. For twenty-one days, participants will put away their credit cards and buy only the barest essentials. With Michelle's guidance during this three-week financial fast, you will discover how to:


  • Break bad spending habits
  • Plot a course to become debt-free with the Debt Dash Plan
  • Avoid the temptation of overspending on college
  • Learn how to prepare elderly relatives and yourself for future long-term care expenses
  • Be prepared for any contingency with a Life Happens Fund
  • Stop worrying about money and find the priceless power of financial peace
As you discover practical ways to achieve financial freedom, you'll experience what it truly means to live a life of financial peace and prosperity.

Thousands of individuals have participated in the fast and as a result, have gotten out of debt and become better managers of their money and finances . . . and you can too!

7. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 

by Malcolm Gladwell



THE TIPPING POINT is the biography of an idea, and the idea is quite simple. It is that many of the problems we face- from crime to teenage delinquency to traffic jams- behave like epidemics. They aren't linear phenomena in the sense that they steadily and predictably change according to the level of effort brought to bear against them. They are capable of sudden and dramatic changes in direction. Years of well-intentioned intervention may have no impact at all, yet the right intervention at just the right time can start a cascade of change. 

Many of the social ills that face us today, in other words, are inherently volatile as the epidemics that periodically through the human population: little things can cause them to tip at any time and if we want to understand how to confront and solve them we have to understand what those tipping Points' are. 

In this revolutionary new study, Malcolm Gladwell explores the ramifications of this. Not simply for politicians and policy-makers, his method provides a new way of viewing everyday experience and enables us to develop strategies for everything from raising a child to running a company.

8. The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

by Rick Warren


Amazon's synopsis: 

Before you were born, God already planned your life. God longs for you to discover the life he uniquely created you to live--here on earth, and forever in eternity. Let The Purpose Driven Life show you how. As one of the bestselling nonfiction books in history, with more than 35 million copies sold, The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it's the road map for your spiritual journey. A journey that will transform your life.

Designed to be read in 42 days, each chapter provides a daily meditation and practical steps to help you discover and live out your purpose, starting with exploring three of life's most pressing questions:
  • The Question of Existence: Why am I alive?
  • The Question of Significance: Does my life matter?
  • The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for?
The book also includes links to 3-minute video introductions and a 30- to 40-minute audio Bible study message for each chapter. Plus questions for further study and additional resources.

The Purpose Driven Life is available in audiobooks, ebooks, softcover, and hardcover editions. Also available: The Purpose Driven Life video study and study guide, journal, devotional, book for kids, book for churches, Spanish edition, Large Print edition, and more.

9. White Teeth 

by Zadie Smith

Amazon's synopsis: 

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones, and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad, and their families become agents of England's irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn't quite match her name (Jamaican for "no problem"). 


Samad's late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal's every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London's racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

10. Persuasion 

by Jane Austen



Jane Austen's last completed novel, Persuasion is a delightful social satire of England's landed gentry and a moving tale of lovers separated by class distinctions. After years apart, unmarried Anne Elliot, the heroine Jane Austen called “almost too good for me,” encounters the dashing naval officer others persuaded her to reject, as he now courts the rash and younger Louisa Musgrove. Superbly drawn, these characters and those of Anne's prideful father, Sir Walter, the scheming Mrs. 

Clay, and the duplicitous William Elliot, heir to Kellynch Hall, become luminously alive—so much so that the poet Tennyson, visiting historic Lyme Regis, where a pivotal scene occurs, exclaimed: “Don't talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth. Show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell! "

Tender, almost grave, Persuasion offers a glimpse into Jane Austen's own heart while it magnificently displays the full maturity of her literary power.

11. It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken 

by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt



The latest book by Greg Behrendt, author of the multi-million plus copy bestseller Just Not That Into You, is another hilarious, wry, and wise take on relationships and how to move on when one goes sour.' He's Just Not That Into You is more than a book. It's a revolution. 

The phrase, coined by Behrendt for an episode of Sex and the City, has now entered the language: it features in ads, it's referred to in newspaper headlines and it has spawned spin-off spoof books and more.' It's Called A Break-up Because It's Broken promises to do this and more. It will help you get over anyone and move on. 

Behrendt's voice is unique - combining tell-it-like-it-is advice with humor and the guy's eye view'.The book is filled with solid advice to help you let go of your ex - for example:'It's 3 am, the bottle of wine is empty, do you really want to make that call?' Each insightful chapter is complemented by a Q -and-A with Greg on what he's thinking, case studies, and games. Greg and Amiira tackle tough issues such as break-up sex, how not to lose your friends during a break-up, and 10 great places to cry. 

It's the ultimate read and reference for anyone who has ever been in a relationship. and 10 great places to cry. It's the ultimate read and reference for anyone who has ever been in a relationship. and 10 great places to cry. It's the ultimate read and reference for anyone who has ever been in a relationship.

12. #GirlBoss 

by Sophia Amoruso


#GIRLBOSS includes Sophia’s story, yet is infinitely bigger than Sophia's. It’s deeply personal yet universal. Filled with brazen wake-up calls (“You are not a special snowflake”), cunning and frank observations (“Failure is your invention”), and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. 


It proves that being successful isn’t about how popular you were in high school or where you went to college (if you went to college). Rather, success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.

13. Lean In 

by Sheryl Sandberg



Sheryl Sandberg--Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business--has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

Lean In --Sheryl Sandberg's provocative, inspiring book about women and power--grew out of an electrifying TED talk Sandberg gave in 2010, in which she expressed her concern that progress for women in achieving major leadership positions had stalled. The talk became a phenomenon and has since been viewed nearly two million times. In Lean In, she fuses humorous personal anecdotes, singular lessons on confidence and leadership, and practical advice for women based on research, data, her own experiences, and the experiences of other women of all ages. 

Sandberg has an uncanny gift for cutting through layers of ambiguity that surround working women, and in Lean In she grapples, piercingly, with the great questions of modern life. Her message to women is overwhelmingly positive. She is a trailblazing model for the ideas she so passionately espouses, and she's on the pulse of a topic that has never been more relevant.

14. Americanah 

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie



Chimamanda Ngozi Adic was born in Enugu in southern Nigeria in 1977. He first studied medicine at the University of Nigeria, then studied media and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University in the United States, and then at John. Hopkins University received a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing. 

In 2003, her first novel "Purple Hibiscus" was nominated for the 2004 Orange Fiction Award. The novel tells the story of the political turmoil in Nigeria in the 1990s and the tragedy of a family trapped by faith. Her second novel "Half a Yellow Day" peeked into Nigeria's civil war trauma and won the 2007 Orange Novel Award. In 2009, her novel "Things Around the Neck" was nominated for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

In 2010, Adichie was selected as one of the "Twenty Novelists Under 40" by The New Yorker. In 2015, "Time" magazine selected Adichie as "the 100 most influential people in the world".

In 2014, her TED talk was assembled into a collection of essays of the same name "We should all be feminists". Her latest novel "The Yankee" presents her deep thoughts and feelings about American racial politics. The book won the 2013 National Association of Book Critics Fiction Award and was also the top ten best books of 2013 by The New York Times.

15. Everything I Never Told You 

by Celeste Ng



Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet...

So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn's case her daughter becomes a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case, Lydia is popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering how mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

16. The Goldfinch 

by Donna Tartt



An explosion at the Metropolitan Museum in New York killed the boy Theo’s mother and the thirteen-year-old Theo miraculously survived. But because his father had abandoned their mother and son, Theo could only live in the homes of wealthy classmates. The unfamiliar environment made him at a loss, and the new interpersonal relationship made him feel frustrated, but what made him most unbearable was the pain of losing his mother.

But he accidentally owned the famous painting "Goldfinch" in the museum. This painting was his only consolation when he remembered his mother and brought him into the deep and dark world of art...

As an adult, Theo wandered between the celebrity studio and the antique shop where he worked. He did not become close to this world, he fell in love with a girl. What he didn't know was that he was in the center of a dangerous circle that was shrinking.

"Goldfinch" was created by the famous American female writer Donna Tate for more than ten years. It is a great novel that you will read at night and recommend to all your friends.

17. Beloved 

by Toni Morrison



Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died namelessly, and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

18. Mistakes I Made at Work 

by Jessica Bacal


Amazon's synopsis: 

In Mistakes, I Made at Work, a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Business Book for Spring 2014, Jessica Bacal interviews twenty-five successful women about their toughest on-the-job moments. These innovators across a variety of fields - from the arts to finance to tech - reveal that they're more thoughtful, purposeful, and assertive as leaders because they learned from their mistakes, not because they never made any. Interviewees include:
  • Cheryl Strayed, bestselling author of Wild
  • Anna Holmes, founding editor of Jezebel.com
  • Kim Gordon, a founding member of the band Sonic Youth
  • Joanna Barsch, Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company
  • Carol Dweck, Stanford psychology professor
  • Ruth Ozeki, New York Times bestselling author of Tale for the Time Being
And many more...

Ideal for millennials just starting their careers, for women seeking to advance at work, or for anyone grappling with issues of perfectionism, Mistakes I Made at Work features fascinating and surprising anecdotes, as well as tips for readers.

19. The Queen’s Code 

by Alison Armstrong


Amazon's synopsis: 

The long-standing war between the sexes is the stuff of legend. In TV ads, sitcoms, and chick flicks everywhere, we've all seen the images - the long-suffering woman and the clueless, insensitive man.

But what if it's all a misunderstanding?

In this fairy tale for the contemporary woman, Kimberlee seeks advice and discovers a treasure chest of esoteric knowledge hidden within her own family. As she unravels the mysteries of men's behavior in this romantic journey, so will you. As she learns the Language of Heroes and transforms how she relates to men, so will you.

Whether you're in love with men or frustrated by them - or both - The Queen's Code creates a new ethic and approach for interacting with men in a way that honors both sexes. From eight distinct points of view, you'll get an intimate look inside the hearts and minds of both men and women as we struggle to understand ourselves and each other.

20. Teaching Kids to Buy Stocks 

by J.J. Wenrich


If today's youth are tomorrow's future, we the village need to properly equip ourselves to equip our youth for success.


That means not only parents but
  • grandparents
  • aunts and uncles
  • teachers
  • friends
  • neighbors... You get the picture.
This book seeks to educate the general population in a way that can be passed on to younger generations for years to come. It's adulting for all ages!

21. How to Think Strategically 

by Greg Githens


Amazon's synopsis: 

How to Think Strategically is the ideal primer for those who want to develop their mental acumen and make a strategic impact. This book will help you understand what it means to “be strategic” and how to craft a strategy that is effective, powerful, and clever. A competent strategic thinker tolerates ambiguity, notices weak signals, defines the core challenge facing the organization, and designs effective responses with a winning strategic logic.

How to Think Strategically provides numerous real-world examples of individual strategic thinkers in action describing how they constructed a winning strategic logic. Through these examples, you'll learn useful lessons that can be applied in any organization and in your personal life. This book will show you how to:
  • Internalize the 20 micro-skills of strategic thinking
  • Develop your personal brand as a competent strategic thinker
  • Pose high-quality questions that spark strategic insights
  • Write a concise one-page statement strategy, with five essential concepts that will help you distinguish effective strategy from a list of goals
  • A design strategy that is clever and powerful
  • Recognize and mitigate blind spots and decision traps
  • Distinguish strategic thinking from operational thinking and appropriately apply each
  • Overcome the excuse of “I'm too busy to be strategic"
  • Recognize and exploit the four X-factors of strategic thinking: Drive, Insight, Chance, and Emergence
  • Practice extra-ordinary leadership to confront issues and leap into an unknown future
  • Improve conversations with other strategists
The author brings a unique perspective that reflects years of experience as a corporate manager, educator, strategy consultant, facilitator, executive leadership coach, and board member. He writes with an engaging style that unpacks the broader concepts into easy-to-remember nuggets. Anyone can improve their strategic thinking if they know where to focus their attention. This book will be an indispensable guide for anyone interested in developing their personal brand.
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