Trailblazing Women Adventurers



Books by and about women who, before "women's lib" and "equal opportunity" became household terms, sought personal and professional fulfilment in ways that involved travel and the breaking of the boundaries of their expected role/behavior as the female of the species. It's of little relevance what field they were engaged in (science, aviation, linguistics, archeology, photography, journalism, or whatever else) -- as long as we're looking at true-blue pre-women's lib trailblazing travelers!
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259 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
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Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3143 books
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Renee 2822 books
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J.E. 3 books
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Mandapanda 4303 books
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Janet 1838 books
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Saturday's 1175 books
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Bea 9 books
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More voters…


Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Jan (last edited Jan 27, 2012 06:17AM) (new)

Jan All-right, define adventurers, because I have this urge to add a bunch of books about the famous female primate scientists, who weren't explorers per se, but did a whole lot of that during their research.

Also, there's a more contemporary primate scientist as well, who also comes to mind.

And I know I've got a book somewhere about female archaeologists in Africa (looking for the missing link) would they count?


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Women who, before "women's lib" and "equal opportunity" became household terms, sought personal and professional fulfilment in ways that somehow involved travel and the breaking of the boundaries of their expected role/behavior as the female of the species. Doesn't matter what field they were engaged in. Scientists, aviators, linguists, archeologists, photographers, journalists ... bring them all on!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Is fiction supposed to be on this list? Because Crocodile on the Sandbank is a novel.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Fiction BY the women explorers in question is OK, as long as it is at least partially based on their experience -- however this is basically a list intended to highlight real women explorer's achievements (in whatever field). (For an example of the kind of fiction I mean, see Beryl Markham's short stories set in Africa and collected in Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories.)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Crocodile on the Sandback is a comic mystery novel, by a modern Egyptologist, about a fictional Victorian Egyptologist.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "Crocodile on the Sandback is a comic mystery novel, by a modern Egyptologist, about a fictional Victorian Egyptologist."

Yes, I know ... and it's a great book (and series), too. Just not one that I think would fit in with this list, I'm afraid ... :( (Markham's stories are essentially thinly-veiled snippets of autobiography.)


message 7: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jan 27, 2012 12:08PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads In that case, should it stay on the list?

ETA: It is indeed a very fun read.


message 8: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Jan 27, 2012 12:12PM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Whops, hadn't noticed that it's already on the list! No, indeed it shouldn't ... I'll take care of that then.

ETA: Removed.


message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann Great list! I adore books about intrepid women - women who didn't let the strictures of society hold them back.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Thank you -- and so do I! :) I'm happy to see there seem to be so many like-minded folks ... on this site, anyway!


message 11: by Wanda (new)

Wanda Would this one fit the list - Out of Africa?


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Wanda wrote: "Would this one fit the list - Out of Africa?"

Hmm. I didn't add Out of Africa (or, for that matter, Huxley's Flame Trees of Thika) myself because when I created the list I was primarily thinking of women who weren't just trailblazers of women's lib but in whose lives travel and exploration played a big part as well. I guess you could argue that moving to Africa to run a farm there is travel of a sort as well -- and of course Karen Blixen WAS a trailblazer in all sorts of ways. I'm just not sure if, by and large, I'm not thinking of a somewhat less "sedentary" (for lack of a better word), or overall more transient life. Then again, maybe this is just my pro-Markham bias speaking ...


message 13: by Janet (new)

Janet What about Marriane North who travelled the world in the 17th. c. painting trees & flowers, or Maria Sybila
Merian who traveled in 16th.c. painting butterflies,
or the woman who discovered longitude (just getting
started on this one) there are many amazing women
who have left thier mark on the world without much recognition.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Janet wrote: "What about Marriane North who travelled the world in the 17th. c. painting trees & flowers, or Maria Sybila
Merian who traveled in 16th.c. painting butterflies,
or the woman who discovered longitud..."


Great ideas, Janet, do feel free to add books by or about all of these. (Everybody can do so; there is a tab up top next to "all votes.")


message 15: by Malika (new)

Malika Surprised to see 'Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail' by Cheryl Strayed isn't on this list. It is quite modern compared to others on this list.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Is it about before "women's lib"?


message 17: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart Removed Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It definitely does not take place before women's lib.


message 18: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Aug 17, 2018 09:01AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I question the current #23, Hong Mei's The Father I Walk. Also #34, Pearl of China, is a historical novel, as are #39, I Was Amelia Earhart, and #56, The House Of Trembling Leaves.

And someone's put the Little House novels on the list.


message 19: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart Yeah, this list is a huge mess. The focus should be on travel and pre-women's lib, so I'm not sure how books about modern women or compilation books about famous women in general fit in.

List creator said fiction by the women explorers themselves is ok, but the focus should be non-fiction. What is the consensus on the Little House books? They are fiction, and I would not call Laura herself an adventurer. And what about general compilations of famous women like Amelia to Zora, Girls Think of Everything, Girls Who Rocked the World, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, etc.?

Removed Ipanema Turtles (modern), Special Lassi (modern), A Rebel Star (fiction), Singapore Salvation (modern), Trail Angel (fiction), Your Bloods Eve (fiction), The Devil Wears Clogs (modern), Gray Hawk of Terrapin (irrelevant fantasy), Mayflower Madam (modern), Not One Damsel in Distress (fiction), Sarah by Orson Scott Card (fiction), Little Women (fiction), When G-d Asks Me (modern), If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries What Am I Doing in the Pits? (humor), The Supergirls (fictional superheroes), Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum (irrelevant), Bad Girls of Fashion (irrelevant), Ink & Paint (irrelevant), Miss E. (fiction), The Bronte Sisters (irrelevant), Caroline (fiction), Zora and Me (fiction), Meet Stroller (irrelevant), Vet on the Loose (modern), The Courtship of Jo March (fiction), The Hidden Life of Dogs (irrelevant), Women Who Run with the Wolves (irrelevant), Make More Noise (fiction), Reaching the Stars (too general), Good Girls and Wicked Women (irrelevant), The Light in the Window (irrelevant), The House Of Trembling Leaves (fiction), Tracks (modern), The Farther I Walk The Closer I Get To Me (modern), I Was Amelia Earhart (fiction), Pearl of China (fiction), and Breaking Free (modern).

That's all I got on the first go around, but there may be more.


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