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The gender gap in literature is real.

Research has shown that women are less likely to have their books reviewed or to be contributors in many major literary publications.

Novelist Nicole Griffith found that in recent years, literary awards overwhelmingly go to men writing books about boys and men — and books by women about women and girls don’t receive near as many accolades.


That’s why fiction written by and about women is often relegated to the "women’s fiction" section, while fiction written by and about men … well, that’s just called "fiction."

GIF from "Lip Sync Battle."

It’s a huge problem.

And that’s why it’s such a big deal that The New York Times just named the 10 best books of 2015 — and seven of them were written by women.

GIF from "The Book Thief."

That’s right! Seven awesome women have been chosen as some of the best authors who published books this year.

Check them out below and add them to your reading list.

1. "The Story of the Lost Child" by Elena Ferrante

The Neapolitan series is a captivating series that tells the story of a friendship between two girls who become women over the course of four books, written by an author who calls herself Elena Ferrante. Almost as captivating for readers? Trying to figure out who the enigmatic Ferrante actually is.

Ask all of the readers in your life what their favorite book was this year, and at least one of them is bound to say that it was this one. Borrow it from them.


GIF from "Beetlejuice."

2. "Outline" by Rachel Cusk

If you love hearing other people’s stories, you’ll appreciate "Outline." In "Outline," the narrator says little herself, but the novel is filled with the stories and experiences of the people around her who feel compelled to share with her.

Although Cusk has published memoirs before, this novel is fiction — but there are obvious overlaps between the author and the narrator, who is recently divorced like Cusk.

3. "A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories" by Lucia Berlin

This Lucia Berlin collection contains 43 short stories, many of them about imperfect women in difficult situations. The stories focus on the trials of working-class women, and they’re gritty and sometimes humorous — just like Lucia Berlin was.

The author died in 2004. Talk about long overdue accolades!

4. "One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway" by Asne Seierstad

Stories about people who commit unspeakable acts are often difficult to read, and this book by Asne Seierstad about the 2011 Norway shootings and bombing is no different. But it’s an important perspective on what modern violence looks like and what precipitates it.

And Seierstad herself is close to the story: She’s a Norway native who lives in Oslo.

5. "The Door" by Magda Szabo

"The Door" was originally published in 1987 in Hungary, but it was translated and republished for an American audience this year, eight years after Magda Szabo’s death.

This is a novel about a writer and her housekeeper. And according to a New York Times book reviewer, "It has altered the way I understand my own life." Sold.

6. "H Is for Hawk" by Helen Macdonald

The death of a parent can be a traumatic, life-changing event, and it’s a topic that many memoirs explore well. The difference between "H Is for Hawk" and those books is that Helen Macdonald coped with her grief by raising a bird of prey named Mabel.

7. "The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World" by Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf, a design-historian-turned-author, wrote this biography of Alexander von Humboldt and it really brings the 18th century German genius, ecologist, and scientist to life.

Buy this book for nature lovers, science nerds, and biography lovers on your list.

And a few bonus reads:

Just because!

8. "Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book" by Johanna Basford

2015 was the year that coloring books by adults went mainstream — both as a way to create beautiful illustrations and to relax and de-stress. It’s hard to walk into a coffee shop these days without seeing at least one table covered in colored pencils and one of these books.

In part, we owe this trend to Johanna Basford. Basford was "discovered" several years ago when a publisher found her desktop wallpaper designs online.

9. "Drawing Blood" by Molly Crabapple

This memoir by Molly Crabapple just came out this December. It’s the story of an artist’s life, but it’s also the story of contemporary America and what it means to be a witness to 9/11, Guantanamo Bay, and the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

So there you have it — some of the best books of 2015, written by women. Go forth and read!

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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