Z brought this article to my attention earlier this year, and it has given me pause. It’s basically about how books written by women are often overlooked or not taken as seriously as books by male authors, mostly when it comes to book reviewers in newspapers and literary journals. But, as consumers, we have the ultimate say, and the article urges everyone to make the next book you read one that’s written by a woman.
Since I have records of all the books I’ve read over the last few years, I started looking at how many female authors showed up compared to male. The results are ugly. Last year only three of the 18 books I read were written by women. In 2012, seven of the 26* books I read were by women. That’s well below even a third, and for 2013 below a quarter.
This year I’m going to make a greater effort to read more books by women. I’m not going to only read books by women and, since my book selections are often decided by a whim, I’m not going to even commit to every other book being by a women. I’m just going to be more aware of this in my selections. I’m sure I also read books mostly by white people and diversifying that would be good too. I just started reading The Bone People by Keri Hulme, and I’m pretty excited by it. It won the Booker Prize in 1985 and takes place in New Zealand, which is where the author is from. I might write a post about it once I’ve finished reading it.
*If you’ve happened to notice the inconsistency, in my previous post I claimed to have read 27 books in 2012. One of those books was a literary journal (The Southern Review) with contributions by women and men, and I’m omitting it from this comparison.