These are gorgeous books. They are hardback and have smooth, pleasing to the touch covers. Each one contains 100 double spreads, featuring a page about a woman who has made a difference and a full page portrait of her. A variety of artists have been commissioned to produce the portraits. On almost every portrait there is a quote from the woman featured. The range is wide and includes Margaret Thatcher, J K Rowling and Billie Jean King. In both books the women are listed in alphabetical order by first name.
How should one read these books?
I admit to reading both in just a few sittings but perhaps the titles suggest that one story at a time should be digested just before the reader goes to bed. Are these books just for the girls? Maybe. They are indeed aspirational. But maybe the boys should read them too so that they can appreciate what women can do. Ideally as well each woman should be scrutinised carefully and each entry should be discussed in detail – between mother and daughter, maybe, but also between class teacher and the whole class?
The concept started as a crowd-funded project and each book lists all of the backers. It has now been taken over by Particular Books, an imprint of Penguin.