Sara Pascoe: ‘I actually think everyone should read this book’

Photo of Sara Pascoe on her favourite books

On this week’s Bookshelfie episode of the Women’s Prize Podcast, our 2017 judge Sara Pascoe joined host Yomi Adegoke to share her top five favourite books by women throughout her life. Sara talks about the various controversies around some of her choices and the importance of reading outside of one’s own opinion, she shares which books she buys friends who are going through difficult times and describes how reading Iris Murdoch inspired her to break up with boyfriends.

Listen to the episode here and read on for Sara’s five favourite books by women, which you can buy over at our Bookshop.org page.

The Magic Faraway Tree

When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to the countryside, they discover that their new house lies next to the Enchanted…

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“The reason I loved it is that I really wished it was true. And when I say that it was I was too old: I was at secondary school. And I would take Enid Blyton to school with me and I would read in the toilets at break time, which, I know, makes me sound like a really cool guy…”

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The first and best-known of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary seven volumes of autobiography is a testament to the talents and resilience of…

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“[Maya Angelou] is perfect to study for children at school, because she uses language in a really, really original way. I actually felt like I was reading a child at the time, I remember, that’s what affected me so much, as I felt like a child had written it. In my head, it wasn’t an adult woman talking to me, it was someone of a really similar age to me.”

Your Voice in My Head

Emma Forrest, an English journalist, was twenty-two and living in America when she realised that her quirks had gone beyond…

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“There’s something about brilliant writing, when actually it’s the simplicity, the fact that it’s not trying very hard, that makes you let go. I actually think everyone should read this book.”

Under the Net

Jake is clever, lazy and scraping by in London as a hack translator. Jake loves Anna. Anna is an elusive…

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“I knew I wanted to have an iris Murdoch book. And then I couldn’t choose which of the ones to talk about. She writes really good men, really flawed, but they make sense to me. There’s lots that I find very aspirational about her.”

The Fountainhead

Architect Howard Roark is as unyielding as the granite he blasts to build with. Defying the conventions of the world…

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“It’s very interesting to read stuff that’s completely different to how you feel, I think that it’s important sometimes as a mental exercise to read things you disagree with, and to find out what does correlate or how you would argue back.”

Listen to the full conversation on the Women’s Prize for Fiction Podcast here >

And make sure you subscribe as next week Yomi will be joined by The Guilty Feminist’s Deborah Frances-White.

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.