Kathy Lette: 5 Books That Shapped My Life

Columnist, scriptwriter, author, and outspoken feminist Kathy Lette’s latest novel Courting Trouble is out now. Here she reveals the 5 books that have shaped her life.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thakeray

‘It’s the book I wish I’d written. The social satire is so sharp. Becky Sharpe was the Madonna of her day. Okay, she was a sexual kleptomaniac – Becky climbed the social ladder – lad by lad. But at a time when wedlock was little more than a padlock, Beckie stood on her own two booties.’
 
Persuasion by Jane Austen 
‘This made me want to be a writer. Beneath her humourous veneer, Austen is a barbed commentator on the battle between the sexes. She taught me everything about character, plot and disarming with charm.’
 
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
‘This is the book that taught me about passion. The Bronte’s write more passionately about love and lust and loss than any other author. I’m so addicted; I’m now a walking Brontosaurus.’
 

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert
‘This salutary tale of marital double standards could be renamed “The Mourning after the Knot Before”. (Unfortunately, I read it on my first honeymoon, which might be why the marriage didn’t last!). The message of the novel is that love prepares a woman for marriage, the way needlepoint prepares you for round the world solo yachting.’
 
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
‘This was groundbreaking. The men I grew up with in Australia disproved the theory of evolution – they were evolving into apes. Greer made me realize that the female of the species is more than a life support system to a pair of breasts. And that women are each other’s human wonder bras – uplifting, supportive and making each other look bigger and better.’
 
Kathy is currently supporting the Books Are My Bag campaign, a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops.

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