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Home » Books That Will Make You Laugh, Cry, and Think

Books That Will Make You Laugh, Cry, and Think

Key Takeaways

  • A curated list of books for women that promise to entertain, inspire, and challenge your current mindset.
  • Dive into fiction that not only stimulates the imagination but provokes introspection and discussion.
  • Discover biographies that showcase the strength of women throughout history and the hurdles they overcame.
  • Unlock inspirational reads that equip women with tools to understand and leverage their own strengths.
  • Learn about books that provide guidance for navigating the workplace and empowering professional development.
  • Take a deeper look into wellness and self-awareness through literature that promotes holistic growth.
  • From tackling personal challenges to understanding societal nuances, this reading list covers it all.
  • Each recommended read is more than just a story; it’s a guide to self-discovery and empowerment.
  • Every book has been vetted and recommended by real women and the HealthyWay HQ staff.
  • A combination of classic literature and modern marvels to cater to varied reading tastes.

Fiction Books That Will Get You Thinking

Get ready, ladies, for the literary rollercoaster that I’m about to introduce. These are not like any other books. They are, what I call, brain feasts. A feast, not just for imagination but also for sparking dialogue, forming new perspectives, and perhaps, compiling a whole new you. So brace yourselves as we’re diving into the mesmerizing world of thought-provoking fiction.

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

As we begin this literary tour, our first stop is  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. This book, my dear friends, will pull you in, wrap you up, and ensure you lose all sense of time and location.

It tells the story of Esther, a young woman whose mental health deteriorates significantly as she tries to tackle societal norms and expectations. And spoiler-free zone here, but the end will leave you somewhat shaken.

And to all those who say, “Life has no manual,” here’s what we’re dealing with. It’s not a step-by-step guide but Instead, it’s a raw account that delves into the darker side of life. Galactic, isn’t it?

Hello, next binge-read!

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist: 25th Anniversary Edition

Continuing on our thought-churning journey, we read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Seriously folks, if you haven’t read this, what have you been doing?
This book is not just a story; it’s a journey. It’s about a shepherd named Santiago who embarks on a quest to find his personal legend. You may get a great deal of inspiration, wisdom, or a spiritual makeover — trust me, it varies!

The Alchemist isn’t timid about its intentions. It’s here to challenge you, make you question, make you wonder, and eventually, leave you with more wisdom than you had before.

If you’re on a quest for answers, transformation, or even recreation of who you are—bookmark these titles now. And remember, “The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page”.

Don’t take my word for it; go check these out yourselves. As for the aftermath, one unanticipated psychological evolution coming right up!

All aboard the Bookworm Express! Next stops – unknown dimensions, profound self-discovery, and unfathomable emotions. If you’ve read other books that have made an impact on you, feel free to share. After all, aren’t we just creating our literary montage? Happy reading, dears! [1][2][3][4]

woman reading a book

Biographies and Memoirs That Inspire

Here’s another thing I firmly believe in the inherent power of stories to inspire and invoke change. Especially when these stories are about women who have transcended norms, obstacles, and their own fears to achieve profound impact. Let’s delve into some of these narratives, shall we?

3. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Ah, Zelda Fitzgerald, the original flapper, and the muse of F. Scott Fitzgerald. But you know what? She was more than just ‘Fitzgerald’s wife’. Her own brilliance is often eclipsed by her husband’s celebrity status, it is in Therese Anne Fowler’s vividly imagined biographical novel, “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”, that Zelda gets to truly shine.

Enchantingly written, you’ll feel like you’re living every triumph, heartbreak, and scandal alongside Zelda.

You’ll discover Zelda’s resilience, her larger-than-life personality, and her struggle for creative identity in a world that would prefer her to remain in her husband’s shadow. Take it from me, this book is a compelling reminder of the importance of carving out our own paths despite societal norms and pressures.

4. Saving Each Other by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy

Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story

If Z is about fighting for one’s creative identity, then “Saving Each Other” by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy is a testament to unshrined love borne out of adversity. It’s a recount of a mother-daughter bond persisting through the worst of adversities – a life-threatening disease.

The story hooks you from the get-go. Victoria’s 14-year-old daughter Ali is diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, with no known cure or treatment. Faced with this heartbreaking reality, they refuse to admit defeat and embark on a courageous journey.

Laugh, cry, then laugh again. It’s that kind of book. It’s about falling, standing up, and fighting back. It’s about resilience, courage, and insurmountable love. So, while it might be a tearjerker, it’s also an undoubted game-changer. I insist, add it to your reading list if you’re up for a hefty dose of inspiration laced with raw human emotions.

From tragic yet empowering tales of the Jazz Age to riveting narratives of resilience and love, these books exude empowerment at its best. So, go ahead, lose yourself in these stories. Let them stir your soul, challenge your beliefs, inspire change, and most importantly, remind you of your immeasurable strength and boundless potential. Enjoy your reading journey! [5][6][7][8]


Inspirational Reads for Women

As a woman with expansive ambitions – or those who know, love, or work alongside them, I am recommending a couple of books that have changed my life view immeasurably. You can call these self-help books, guides, motivational tomes, or my favorite, “brain food.” Regardless of the name, each book has the potential to provide you with a fresh perspective, open new doors of understanding, and gift you the clarity that you have been craving.

5. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

I can’t help but kick start the list with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and super-woman extraordinaire. It paints a vivid picture of the modern society that still has its corners stained with gender inequality. Sandberg doesn’t just stop at highlighting the problem. She delves into the solution and encourages us — both you and me — to challenge the status quo. As you flip through the pages, you’ll be taking giant leaps forward, experiencing the paradigm shift, and learning to “lean in” to the opportunities dangling within arm’s reach.

6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is our next life-altering read. One whiff of this creative cocktail, and you’ll be under its intoxicating spell. Gilbert takes you on a journey, an incredible odyssey through the labyrinth of creative living. She believes that we all harbor jewels of creativity within us; it’s only about digging deep and bringing them to light. You might be thinking, “But, I am not creative,” right? Think again! Big Magic teaches you to embrace curiosity over fear, ready to unearth your innate creativity that’s yearning to break free.

In a nutshell, both these books hold a mirror to what you already know deep down inside, but might be afraid or uncertain to unlock. You will laugh, you will learn, and you will be enlightened. Most importantly, you will emerge stronger, ready to conquer the world and leave your indelible mark on it. These books are not mere pages bound by a cover. They’re stepping stones journeying towards self-discovery and empowerment.

Inspirational Reads for Women – Table Breakdown

Book NameAuthorWhat’s in It?
Lean InSheryl SandbergShedding light on gender inequality and inspiring assertiveness.
Big MagicElizabeth GilbertExploring and conquering your creativity.

See, we wouldn’t steer you wrong. So ladies, fetch your reading glasses, snag a comfy nook, and prepare to absorb the wisdom that these books radiate and inspire to create your profound narratives. [9][10][11][12]


Books to Empower You in the Workplace

I’ll be straightforward with you, we’ve all felt that overwhelming pressure at the workplace. The feeling like you could be doing more should be doing more, and, if you’re anything like me, you’re always on the hunt for that “secret sauce” to help you navigate those choppy office waters. This is when books can become your saving grace.

Now, I’m not just talking about any books, I’m talking about books that feel like they’ve been written just for you – the working woman.

Books that are filled to the brim with actionable advice, and relatable anecdotes, and, let’s be real, they have the added bonus of making your bookshelf look ten times smarter. Here’s a list of some books that can help you conquer the boardroom or your home office.

7. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel

Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers (A NICE GIRLS Book)

Get ready for some straight-up, no-nonsense guidance from Lois P. Frankel, a leading executive coach in the U.S., because this isn’t just a book, it’s almost like a wake-up call! ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office’ will make you sit upright and take notice of the 101 unconscious blunders you might be guilty of, and how they might be sabotaging your career.

What’s fantastic about this book is that its suggestions are practical and tailored specifically for women. From not needing to always be ‘nice’, to mastering meetings and negotiations, this book is all that and a bag of chips wrapped in solid advice.

8. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Now, who can resist Brené Brown’s charm? If there’s one thing this woman knows, it’s how to speak hard truths laced with humorous asides and stories that resonate at a profoundly human level.

Her book ‘Dare to Lead’ is a cocktail of groundbreaking research mixed with actionable steps about courage and leadership. It’s the roadmap you never knew you needed until you start to see the hurdles in your leadership path disappearing.

What I absolutely adore about ‘Dare to Lead’ is Brown’s emphasis on empathy and vulnerability to build courageous leaders – talk about superpowers, right? Here’s the deal – these aren’t just skills for leading – they’re skills for living. So, it’s practically two books in one. And let’s face it, we could all use all the help we can get!

reading novel

So, if you’re looking to get ahead, while maintaining your sanity, these are the books you need handy. They’re a perfect balance of wit, wisdom, and warmth that will help you navigate the path of leadership and, dare I say, find joy in the journey. Trust me, they’re worth every second of your time! [13][14][15][16]

Self-Awareness and Wellness Books

I know you’re on a never-ending quest for self-improvement, because hey, who isn’t? Delve into these two books that will leave you enlightened and entertained.

9. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection: 10th Anniversary Edition: Features a new foreword and brand-new tools

Brené Brown offers us more than just warm and fuzzy platitudes – she delivers a knock-your-socks-off challenge wrapped in a velvet glove in “The Gifts of Imperfection”.

A heartfelt guide that assures you perfection is just a mirage and urges you to embrace your unique rough edges. Think of it as your permission slip to cease pursuing the elusive ‘perfect’ and start enjoying your wonderfully imperfect life.

The world-renowned scholar and TED-talker teaches you to accept your vulnerabilities and dare to live wholeheartedly. You’ll find yourself laughing until you cry, crying until you laugh, and unexpectedly gaining profound insights into your life. So why not harness the power of vulnerability with this book?

10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

By Mark Manson The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck & Everything Is F*Cked Two Book Combo

In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”Mark Manson masters the fine balance between humor and profound insights, offering you an unconventional but refreshingly honest perspective on life. Manson would have you believe that being indifferent is the key to happiness – an unexpectedly liberating concept.

But don’t be fooled, his book is not about apathy; it’s about focusing on things that truly matter and saying ‘goodbye’ to draining trivialities.

Through his irreverent humor and awareness-inducing narratives, you learn to navigate through life’s storms using your inner compass rather than society’s flawed map.

You’ll laugh, you’ll facepalm, and most importantly, you’ll be armed with the tools to live a more meaningful life.

In the table below, you’ll find a snapshot of what each book can offer:

BooksSubjects Covered
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené BrownEmbracing imperfections, accepting vulnerability, and choosing to live wholeheartedly.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark MansonFinding what truly matters, freeing yourself from societal expectations, and leading a meaningful life.

Time to grab a cup of tea, slip into something comfortable, and transform your life with these remarkable reads. After all, life won’t change unless you’re willing to turn the page. [17][18][19][20]


Wow! What a journey we’re on together with this list of special books specifically for women. Put the kettle on, make yourself comfortable, and let’s dive into these universe-expanding, soul-nourishing reads.

Recommended by real women and HealthyWay HQ staff

Let me open our conversation with “Educated” by Tara Westover. This book, a memoir about a woman coming from nothing, and achieving academic success against all odds, is an uplifting tale of resilience and the power of education. It’s as if Westover is saying, “Hey you! You have the power to change your life.”

Another gem on our list is “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. I couldn’t help but feel stung by the truth in Brown’s words about vulnerability and courage. You could be a fresher on the block, a seasoned executive, or anywhere in between, her sagas of resilience will make a difference. Trust me.

Why these books are worth reading

Did I ever tell you about the time I read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho? Let me tell you, that book swept me off my feet. As much an adventure story as it is a philosophical treatise, it’s a powerful reminder about the importance of following your dreams. And that my friend, is always worth reading.

Another must-read is “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz. This book is the knight in shining armor for anyone feeling stuck in their life. Its core principle is simple yet potent: Your thoughts create your reality, so think big! You can totally apply this to your personal and business life, or heck while baking a huge batch of cookies!

Finally, let me toss in “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. If you’ve ever felt your pulse quicken at the thought of making small talk or speaking in a large group, you’re gonna feel so seen after reading this book. Suddenly, it’s not just okay to be quiet; it’s cool!

Having a taste of these books feels like owning a ticket to a magical, transformative ride. They have the power to challenge your worldview, inspire you, bring you peace, surprise you, and change your life. What a power boost!

So, my friend, there’s the door to enlightenment and empowerment. All you need to do is open the book cover! [21][22][23][24]

woman reading at home

Summary Table

Book CategoryNoteworthy BookAuthorPrimary Takeaway
FictionThe Bell JarSylvia PlathNavigating Societal Norms & Mental Health
BiographyZ: A Novel of Zelda FitzgeraldTherese Anne FowlerNavigating Societal Norms & Mental Health
InspirationalLean InSheryl SandbergGender inequality & assertiveness
Workplace EmpowermentNice Girls Don’t Get the Corner OfficeLois P. FrankelNavigating professional pitfalls
Self-Awareness & WellnessThe Gifts of ImperfectionBrené BrownEmbracing one’s imperfections

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which book is best for understanding workplace dynamics?

The book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel provides straightforward, actionable advice on navigating the pitfalls that women might unknowingly face in a professional setting.

2. I’m not a big reader; which book is the most accessible for beginners?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a great start. It’s a simple yet profound narrative that resonates with many readers, regardless of their reading habits.

3. Which book would you recommend for a deep dive into personal growth?

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown offers a fantastic exploration into embracing vulnerabilities and living authentically.

4. Are there any books on the list suitable for young adults or teenagers?

Certainly! The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, although deep, can resonate with teenagers, especially those grappling with societal expectations.

5. Can I gift any of these books to men?

Absolutely! While curated with women in mind, the insights and wisdom in these books are universal. Books like The Alchemist or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck* are enjoyed by readers of all genders.

6. Is there a book on the list that tackles creativity and the creative process?

Yes, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert delves deep into the world of creativity and the magic it entails.

7. Which book would you suggest for someone looking to understand the intricacies of leadership?

Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead is a phenomenal resource that delves into the heart of courageous leadership using empathy and vulnerability.

8. Are there any books that specifically spotlight the challenges and strengths of historical women?

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler shines a light on Zelda Fitzgerald, highlighting her life and struggles beyond being just ‘Fitzgerald’s wife’.