Books can change the way we feel about ourselves. Sometimes, plots reflect our own experiences, guiding us through the future or refracting our memories through a new lens. Other times, we discover pieces of ourselves sprinkled throughout unfamiliar narratives, finding empathy and resonance in odd corners.
The best books, however, move us not just for the stories they tell -- but with the words that they use.
We asked HuffPost editors to share a passage or quote by a female author that spoke to them as women. Some of the passages address womanhood specifically, others speak to humanity in ways that feel fundamentally female to us when we read them. In either case, they are the "aha" moments; the nails hit on the head; the passions awakened.
Here are 21 quotes about womanhood by female authors that strike and stir us every time we read them: