BY VISHNU MAKHIJANI
New Delhi– Don’t you wish growing up, you had strong female voices that would speak to you in your time of need? Women, whose personal triumph would give you the courage and hope to stand up for yourself and always ask for more till the time you got what you truly deserved.
Don’t you wish your growing up years were not filled with damsels who were perpetually in distress and that strong voices were not limited to the reading of non-fiction and literary genre alone?
On International Women’s Day, here are three women international authors of commercial fiction published by Penguin who are trying to change that for the current and next generation of young readers. This is a short list of some fantastic fiction titles, some of them are debut voices, while the others are established names. Let’s let the world know that the age-old perception that only literary fiction and non-fiction genres can be powerful, and life changing reads is just not true anymore. These are only few of the many commercial titles that are turning this perception on its head.
“Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.
But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.
Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, “Supper at Six”. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
“The School for Good Mothers” by Jessamine Chan
Frida Liu is a struggling mother. She remembers taking Harriet from her cot and changing her nappy. She remembers giving her a morning bottle. They’d been up since four a.m.
Frida just had to finish the article in front of her. But she’d left a file on her desk at work. What would happen if she retrieved it and came back in an hour? She was so sure it would be okay.
Now, the state has decided that Frida is not fit to care for her daughter. That she must be re-educated. Can this mistake cost her everything?
“Carrie Soto Is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular.
By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one of them. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach.
But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan.
At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked the ‘Battle-Axe’ anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.
In spite of it all: Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells a story about the cost of greatness and a legendary athlete attempting a comeback. (IANS)