7 Women Whose Life Stories Inspired Best-Selling Books


Nov 10, 2015

7 Women Whose Life Stories Inspired Best-Selling Books

Women writers are breaking down boundaries and sharing their stories in a variety of different forms. 

Whether they've reached worldwide audiences on the big screen, or in the pages of books, we're highlighting the stories that have one common thread —they're moving enough to inspire a movement.

Meet seven women in the gallery above who wrote their stories into the history of bestsellers.  

NEXT: This Novelist Just Won a Major Title for This Women-Only Prize »

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Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP


Elizabeth Gilbert  | You know your book has become a cultural phenomenon when it transcends its literary acclaim and succeeds in the realm of social media. Gilbert's best-selling book, “Eat, Pray, Love” extended far beyond a book—it became a film and now a frequently-used hashtag.  The book accounts the details of Gilbert’s journey through self-discovery and love as she travels the world to find herself, only to find a new life awaiting her. Photo credit: Johnny Louis via Getty Images
Janet Mock | The hashtag #RedefiningRealness stems from writer and transgender activist Janet Mock's memoir "Redefining Realness." The book explores the author's childhood and how she grew up poor, multiracial, and trans in America. The story follows her journey to womanhood in a powerful and inspiring message. Photo credit: Rob Kim via Getty Images
Lena Dunham | The writer, director, actress, and filmmaker debuted her 2014 memoir "Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tell You What She's Learned" to much praise. Often identified as the "voice of a generation," Dunham's memoir is comprised of essays, emails, lists, and conversations on the musings of a young modern woman stumbling through life — successes, failured, and all. The bestseller was named one of the best books of the year by publications like BuzzFeed, The Library Journal, and The Globe Mail. The New York Times applauded it as one of the 10 best books of the year. Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Cheryl Strayed | Novelist, essayist, and memoirist Cheryl Strayed is the voice behind "Wild." After her mother passes away, her marriage begins to dwindle, and her sense of self falters. Strayed then embarks on a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail — one of the country's toughest trails. The booked turned into an Oscar-nominated film featuring actress Reese Witherspoon. "Wild" has more than 11,000 reviews on Amazon. Photo Credit: Joe Scarnici via Getty Images
Mindy Kaling l Kaling's first book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" launched the actress-writer-director to the top of everyone's dream BFF list. The memoir includes essays and observations on Kaling's upbringing as a young girl obsessed with comedy in an first-generation Indian-American household. This book, in addition to Kaling’s newly-released follow-up book, “Why Not Me?”, remain usual suspects on The New York Times bestsellers list. Photo Credit: Taylor Hill via Getty Images
Tina Fey | Comedian Fey's hilarious "Bossypants" gives a glimpse into her life behind the curtain of comedy, and her illustrious career as a funny lady. The book debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times bestsellers list, and remained there for weeks to follow. Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Roxane Gay | If you've ever retweeted or favorited a tweet on the topics of feminism, media, or about the September issue of Vogue, chances are,  writer Gay was the source behind it all. The professor-turned-critic and Twitter extraordinaire strung together a collection of essays about race, gender, politics, and life musings for her book, "Bad Feminist." The book continues to perform well on multiple bestsellers list, even a year after its release date. Gay also just revealed the cover for her new book, "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body." Photo Credit: Twitter

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