Not many authors get to be name checked in a Bob Dylan song, but Jong earns the distinction in Dylan’s 1997 song, “Highlands.” Best known for her controversial 1973 novel, Fear of Flying, which has sold more than 27 million copies around the world, the principal character from that book, Isadora Wing, returns for Jong’s 11th novel, Fear of Dying, out this fall.
Below are Erica Jong’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.
See the full list...
The Golden Notebook
One woman's struggle to write a notebook that contains all the compartmentalized facets of her life -- her childhood, her politics and her lovers.
Unlike the popular books of the 1960s, which featured 'mad housewives' jumping out of windows, what Lessing tried to do was to bring together a woman's brain and a woman's body, to show the delight in physicality. Womanhood is exuberant -- and wonderful.
Memories of a Catholic Girlhood
The nonfictional account of Mary McCarthy's idyllic childhood, cut short by the death of her parents.
McCarthy was orphaned by the influenza epidemic that followed WWI; both of her parents died in a flash. She was then raised by her grandparents in Seattle. The wonderful thing she does in the book is to tell what happened, and then to write about what might have happened. It takes 'memoir' to a whole other level. It gives you a shot of adrenaline; it makes you ask yourself, 'What was the transformational moment in my life when my story really begins?'
The Country Girls Trilogy
A coming-of-age story of two young Catholic girls in Ireland. This is a writer who is a woman, a lover, a daughter, a mother and she tries to bring all that together in her work. So few women writers were doing that in the 1960s. Instead, they were writing through a male persona, because they knew that otherwise they wouldn't be taken seriously. But as O'Brien says, 'I am the mother of sons; my sons have given me joy. I am a lover of men, and men have broken my heart -- but they've also given me joy.
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