OK, so I'll start with an international woman writer, Elena Ferrante. Time magazine, in 2016, called her one of the 100 most influential people on the planet. I don't know what they mean by that, but her novels have been best sellers in a dozen countries and she has won more than 4 awards including the Man Booker Prize. Elena Ferrante is a nom de plume, or a pen name, and for years, she refused to allow her true name to be disclosed to protect her privacy. She was revealed this past year, but I will stay with the pen name and respect her wishes. She was born in 1943, in Naples, and the books I have read of hers are in what is called The Neapolitan Quartet, I have read books one, two and four because I started with book four after reading a book review, and liked it so much I went back to the first book in the series. The novels are about the childhood and the growth and friendship over a lifetime of two girls who start out in poverty in Naples. They are profoundly intimate, beautifully detailed and revealing portraits of girls and women and their lives and how they get that way. This kind of book is called the bildungsroman, or coming of age novel. Some American classics in this genre would be Little Women, Catcher in the Rye, Adventures of Tom Sawyer and I am sure you could name a dozen more modern ones but that's what came most immediately to my mind.
Lately I have been working my way through a book that purports to help you regain or re-inspire your creativity. It is called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. I began because a friend and her husband are following a 12 week course. I didn't do the course, just the book, but one of the exercises asked you to name your ten all time favorite movies. Among mine was Gone With The Wind, which I have probably watched every year from my earliest childhood. I am a huge fan of the giant historical epic. I will always remember seeing Lawrence of Arabia on the first cinemascope in 1963 on our high school class trip to Washington D.C. It was an unforgettable highlight of the trip to me. Years later, I was thrilled to find out the book was written by a woman, Margaret Mitchell. She died young, after being hit by a car, and only produced the one great masterpiece, but it was the biggest hit of its period and the movie became a classic of the film world.
Another great monument of American literature written by a woman was Uncle Tom's Cabin, author, Harriett Beecher Stowe - the biggest seller of the 19th Century, and like Common Sense in the Revolutionary War period, it was a book regarded as mind-changing cultural influence on the Civil War.
Famous New Jersey Women Writers include Judy Blume (children category) Janet Evanovitch (popular fiction) and Mary Higgins Clark (mysteries).
In 1909, on March 8th, the Socialist Workers' Party celebrated the first International Womens' Day, at that time, the International Women Workers Day. It has been celebrated every March 8 ever since, and has become a day to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and to recognize our contribution to civilization.
Some of my favorite authors from my past from other countries have included George Eliot (real name Maryann Evans) who wrote The Mill on the Floss - high school English class favorite though no one told us she was a woman with a pen name), Virginia Woolf (England), possibly best known for To the Lighthouse. George Sand (real name Amandine-Lucille Aurore Dupin, France) Isak Dinesen, (Denmark). The book you may know her for is Out of Africa. Sigrid Undset (Norway) who won the Nobel prize for literature. The book I read of hers was Kristin Lavransdottir. and of course, last but not least, since I am a 50 year diaries, Anais Nin (France) whose diaries were bestsellers back in the 1970's. There ar 16 of them published and her diaries spanned 60 years! She died in 1977.
I buy most of my books from amazon.com these days. I have a prime membership which gives me free shipping, and if I am buying 2nd hand instead of new, I often get my books from Better World Books through amazon. My favorite bookstore is gone (I will always miss it - one of a kind) - it was Murphy's Book Loft in Mullica Hill, but there is still Bogart's in Millville and the Old Bookshop of Bordertown.
Happy International Women's Day March 8, 2017!