100 books like A Frozen Woman

By Annie Ernaux, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Here are 100 books that A Frozen Woman fans have personally recommended if you like A Frozen Woman. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Madame Bovary

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Author Of The Demon King’s Interpreter

From my list on capturing France's most epic love stories.

Who am I?

I am a French-American writer with a passion for young adult stories and flawed female characters. Born and raised in France in a household without a TV, I spent my entire childhood reading avidly, which in turn led me to study Literature and Film. In fact, most of my life, I have been inspired by novels that offer windows into new worlds that open up possibilities. Some of the novels from the list below feature some of my favorite characters, and provide insights into other worlds and other times. 

Astrid's book list on capturing France's most epic love stories

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Why did Astrid love this book?

Madame Bovary is the story of a woman who endlessly struggles to escape the banalities of her provincial life.

This novel makes you feel like you’re in the head of its main characters: first Charles Bovary, then Emma, his second wife and the novel’s eponymous hero. It is so realistic that upon its release, the author was taken to court for public offense against morality.

Still very modern, Emma’s drama is, to me, the discrepancy between illusions and reality. Her quest for happiness outside of her own condition and her inability to be satisfied with what she has are themes that, I believe, still resonate today.

By Gustave Flaubert, Geoffrey Wall (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Madame Bovary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A masterpiece' Julian Barnes

Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of a married woman's affair caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. Its heroine, Emma Bovary, is stifled by provincial life as the wife of a doctor. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for…


Book cover of Night Train

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

Impulse and happenstance set the syllabus of my reading, and so it was that, shortly after reading Lydia Davis’s Madame Bovary, I chanced to see a notice for her rendering into English, from the Dutch, a selection of the very short stories written by the late A. L. Snijders. He wrote plainly, eschewing elegance and complications of form and syntax in favor of simple sentences that laid out, in workmanlike prose, his casual, wry observations of, and on, his fellow Dutchmen, Dutch women, and also Dutch animals, of whom he was fond. Here is no Modernist heroic ambition, no Postmodernist archness, no posturing, or overbearing intellectual or moral superiority. He wrote thousands of his peculiar miniatures, we are told by Davis in her foreword on the writer and on the problems of translation in general.

Those she chose for Night Train rise above anecdote or sketch, despite their Dutch…

By A L Snijders, Lydia Davis (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night Train as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gorgeously translated by Lydia Davis, the miniature stories of A. L. Snijders might concern a lost shoe, a visit with a bat, fears of travel, a dream of a man who has lost a glass eye: uniting them is their concision and their vivacity. Lydia Davis in her introduction delves into her fascination with the pleasures and challenges of translating from a language relatively new to her. She also extols Snijders's "straightforward approach to storytelling, his modesty and his thoughtfulness."
Selected from many hundreds in the original Dutch, the stories gathered here-humorous, or bizarre, or comfortingly homely-are something like daybook…


Book cover of Break It Down

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

It’s time I was reading Lydia Davis’s own stories, I tell myself, which are said to be remarkable, and I find that they are just that. She is nothing new to readers of serious literary fiction, having been writing her curious short stories since the late seventies. Her constructions are precise and elegant. Although plainspoken, her language is stylized and restrained in its effects. She is very much in control of her fictional creations. In some instances, they seem like exercises in logic, however Kafkaesque. Unlike Snijders’ stories, hers are more formal in tone and presentation. They have a satisfying shape and a sense of an ending that is not arbitrary.

Davis’s theater is that of consciousness. Personages in her small dramas of “the mind working” are exceptionally alert, sometimes painfully so; often they have trouble falling asleep. Their dreams have the solidity of objects. Dither and nervousness characterize…

By Lydia Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Break It Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published to huge acclaim in the US, Lydia Davis? important debut collection of 34 stories seems to assure us that reality is ordered and reasonable. However, as the characters in the stories prove, misunderstanding and confusion are inherent in everyday life.


Book cover of The Malady of Death

Norman Lock Author Of American Follies

From my list on the mind at play.

Who am I?

I have written stage and radio plays, poetry, short story collections, and, beginning in 2013, novels that comprise The American Novels series, published by Bellevue Literary Press. Unlike historical fiction, these works reimagine the American past to account for faults that persist to the present day: the wish to dominate and annex, the will to succeed in every department of life regardless of cost, and the stain of injustice and intolerance. In order to escape the gravity of an authorial self, I address present dangers and follies through the lens of our nineteenth-century literature and in a narrative voice quite different from my own.

Norman's book list on the mind at play

Norman Lock Why did Norman love this book?

I suspect that I was led to take The Malady of Death from my shelf by a subconscious directive. I admit that I am afraid of this book, its relentless probing, afraid I will never understand it however much I struggle. Confounded by it twenty-five years ago, I put it aside until my consciousness could mature. (Ha!) The fault must be mine, since her style, language, and structure are as limpid as Ernaux’s or Davis’s, although Duras’s prose carries a poetical charge deliberately absent in the other two writers. I begin to think that the trouble lies in my sex, that as a man, an Other to women, I can’t possibly know what Duras’s narrator is being made to gradually reveal not with the leer of a striptease artist but with the solemnity of a priestess presiding over ancient feminine mysteries.

Would feminists accuse me of being obtuse and,…

By Marguerite Duras, Barbara Bray (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Malady of Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A man hires a woman to spend several weeks with him by the sea. The woman is no one in particular, a "she," a warm, moist body with a beating heart-the enigma of Other. Skilled in the mechanics of sex, he desires through her to penetrate a different mystery: he wants to learn love. It isn't a matter of will, she tells him. Still, he wants to learn to try . . .This beautifully wrought erotic novel is an extended haiku on the meaning of love, "perhaps a sudden lapse in the logic of the universe," and of its absence,…


Book cover of The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in Victorian Age

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Who am I?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

In this field-defining classic, Ritvo boldly showed the academic world that the relations between humans and other animals are worthy of historical inquiry.

The book delves into various subjects in Victorian life: hunting and the designation of nature reserves, the emergence of pet shows and their relations to class formation, meat consumption, and its national symbolism. The book’s impressive breadth of sources spans from popular newspapers’ illustrations to agricultural studbooks.

While primarily focused on nineteenth-century England, Ritvo's insights have inspired researchers, including myself, to examine similar themes in different cultures and historical periods.

By Harriet Ritvo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Animal Estate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When we think about the Victorian age, we usually envision people together with animals: the Queen and her pugs, the sportsman with horses and hounds, the big game hunter with his wild kill, the gentleman farmer with a prize bull. Harriet Ritvo here gives us a vivid picture of how animals figured in English thinking during the nineteenth century and, by extension, how they served as metaphors for human psychological needs and sociopolitical aspirations.

Victorian England was a period of burgeoning scientific cattle breeding and newly fashionable dog shows; an age of Empire and big game hunting; an era of…


Book cover of At Home and Astray: The Domestic Dog in Victorian Britain

Michael Worboys Author Of Doggy People: The Victorians Who Made the Modern Dog

From my list on the history of modern dogs.

Who am I?

I am a historian of biology and biomedicine who has always been an outsider. Most of my colleagues have worked on ‘Darwin to DNA’ – evolution, physiology, genetics, and molecular biology. My interests have been in applied biology – parasites, insects, fungi, bacteria, biomedicine, animal diseases, and latterly dogs. It was a book on rabies, that I wrote with Neil Pemberton, that got me into dogs. In our research and writing we explored the wider social history of dog ownership and then, encouraged by the new interest in Animal History, researched how, and by whom, dogs’ bodies and behaviour had been shaped and reshaped, beginning in the Victorian period. 

Michael's book list on the history of modern dogs

Michael Worboys Why did Michael love this book?

Philip Howell explores the place of dogs in Victorian homes and on the street.

There are familiar topics – vivisection, rabies, dogs’ homes, and dog cemeteries – but what set this book apart is that these are discussed in new ways drawing on literature and geography. Thus, we learn about Charles Dickens’s pet dog Sultan, alongside the many, many dogs in his novels, not just Bill Sikes’s Spike.

It surprised me just how many dogs roamed the streets of Victorian towns and cities, and how the police, often reluctantly, were responsible for bringing order to the streets. But public spaces were contested, with active and passive resistance by dog owners to measures requiring muzzling, leading, rounding up strays, and euthanizing unwanted curs and mutts.

By Philip Howell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home and Astray as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although the British consider themselves a nation of dog lovers, what we have come to know as the modern dog came into existence only after a profound, and relatively recent, transformation in that country's social attitudes and practices. In At Home and Astray, Philip Howell focuses on Victorian Britain, and especially London, to show how the dog's changing place in society was the subject of intense debate and depended on a fascinating combination of forces even to come about.

Despite a relationship with humans going back thousands of years, the dog only became fully domesticated and installed at the heart…


Book cover of My Most Secret Desire

Rikke Villadsen Author Of The Clitoris

From my list on sweeping you to a strange surreal world of dreams.

Who am I?

I have been a surrealist since I discovered Salvador Dali and David Lynch at the age of 14. I have been on a path to combine the art world’s depth in style; symbols and metaphors with storytelling. Becoming a comic artist was a natural path and the media is great for expressing the many complex questions in life; what it is to be human and a woman in this world. I have become an artist who revolves around feminism and surrealism, eros and doubt. 

Rikke's book list on sweeping you to a strange surreal world of dreams

Rikke Villadsen Why did Rikke love this book?

This comic is a 1:1 dream story. It has the weirdness and absurdity of dreams. It is about Juliet herself and is an autobiographical classic. And it made me wonder how very personal feelings in your dreams are actually universal. It also has feministic potential, being very honest with all its dreamy gender chaos and strangeness. And it’s funny.

By Julie Doucet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Most Secret Desire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Doucet has transcribed her intimate dreams i nto intensely drawn comic book stories, remembering everythi ng from tormenting nightmares to her most secret desires. Th e widely acclaimed young cartoonist offers us a unique psych edelic trip. '


Book cover of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Who am I?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

I scoured this book for strange and dangerous remedies people used to administer and it didn’t disappoint. Arsenic, mercury, bloodletting, to name a few. When I read about leeches used to treat painful menstruation, I put the book down… to add that gem into my fiction, of course. Interesting stories, great illustrations, great learning, and fun.

By Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quackery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A tour of medicine's most outlandish misfires, Quackery dives into 35 "treatments", exploring their various uses and why they thankfully fell out of favour - some more recently than you might think. Looking back in horror and a dash of dark humour, the book provides readers with an illuminating lesson in how medicine is very much an evolving process of trial and error, and how the doctor doesn't always know bests.


Book cover of The Case for Women in Medieval Culture

Albrecht Classen Author Of Tracing the Trails in the Medieval World: Epistemological Explorations, Orientation, and Mapping in Medieval Literature

From my list on the labyrinth of life through a medieval lens.

Who am I?

I'm a medievalist with a focus on German and European literature. Already with my Ph.D. diss. in 1987, I endeavored to explore interdisciplinary, interlingual connections (German-Italian), and much of my subsequent work (119 scholarly books so far) has continued with this focus. I have developed a large profile of studies on cultural, literary, social, religious, and economic aspects of the pre-modern era. In the last two decades or so, I have researched many concepts pertaining to the history of mentality, emotions, everyday-life conditions, and now also on transcultural and global aspects before 1800. Numerous books and articles have dealt with gender issues, communication, and historical and social conditions as expressed in literature. 

Albrecht's book list on the labyrinth of life through a medieval lens

Albrecht Classen Why did Albrecht love this book?

Contrary to our common assumptions, women in the Middle Ages were not simply muted or repressed. Much depended on the social, economic, religious, and cultural circumstances. Blamires brings to light a wealth of documents that confirm the much more complex conditions for women in the pre-modern age, many of whom received considerable respect if not admiration.

By Alcuin Blamires,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Case for Women in Medieval Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Misogyny is of course not the whole story of medieval discourse on women: medieval culture also envisaged a case for women. But hitherto studies of profeminine attitudes in that periods culture have tended to concentrate on courtly literature or on female visionary writings or on attempts to transcend misogyny by major authors such as Christine de Pizan and Chaucer. This book sets out to demonstrate something different: that there existed from early in the Middle
Ages a corpus of substantial traditions in defence of women, on which the more familiar authors drew, and that this corpus itself consolidated strands of…


Book cover of The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Coyote Weather

From my list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era.

Who am I?

Almost all of my books have been historical novels, but this one is the one most dear to me, an attempt to understand the fault line that the Vietnam War laid across American society, leaving almost every man of my generation with scars physical or psychic. My picks are all books that illuminate the multiple upheavals of that time.

Amanda's book list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era

Amanda Cockrell Why did Amanda love this book?

The societal changes brought by the movements of the sixties had a different effect on women.

The sexual revolution promised freedom but didn’t plan for jealousy or conflicting ideas of “free.” The anti-war movement and even the civil rights movement saw women’s role as making the sandwiches and lettering the placards. 

Rosen chronicles women’s rising fed-up-ness from the 1950s to the unfinished business left at the book’s publication in 2000.

By Ruth Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Split Open as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Newly Revised and Updated Edition

In this enthralling narrative-the first of its kind-historian and journalist Ruth Rosen chronicles the history of the American women's movement from its beginnings in the 1960s to the present. Interweaving the personal with the political, she vividly evokes the events and people who participated in our era's most far-reaching social revolution. Rosen's fresh look at the recent past reveals fascinating but little-known information including how the FBI hired hundreds of women to infiltrate the movement. Using extensive archival research and interviews, Rosen challenges readers to understand the impact of the women's movement and to…


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