Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Year of Reading Women Authors

While catching up on some of my internet reading, I stumbled across a blog post Kelly Jensen wrote on Book Riot, in which she talked about how reading books only written by women for a year changed her life. Initially, I wasn't sure how I felt about this idea, but after reading her post and her replies to some of the comments she received, I'm intrigued. For our reading themes, my sister and I read books written by women in January, but now I'm wondering if this is something I could do for a year (or if I even want to do it). I also wondered how my reading already looks in terms of books I've read that were written by men versus books I've read that were written by women. I've never made it a point to read books based on author's gender, but I did assume that I read more books by women, just because I read so much young adult and so much of young adult books are written by women.

So, I took a look at what I read in 2016. I keep track of the books I read using Excel, and what I found was that I read 102 books by 89 female authors (one of those authors is transgendered), and I read 39 books by 25 male authors. I also read one book that was co-authored by a male author and a female author. I was surprised by the number of books I read that were written by men.

Then, I talked to one of my friends about Kelly Jensen's blog post, and the more my friend and I talked and thought about it, the more interested we became in trying it for ourselves. I still haven't decided if I'm going to try reading only women authors for a year, but if I do, I'll need to have a couple exceptions:

  • I'll still read a favorite male writers (Stephen King and Ted Kooser)
  • I'll still read books written by men if the books are work-related (which would primarily be advanced reader copies, but also middle grade fiction and non-fiction that I might want to booktalk during class visits and outreach events)
If I want to try reading only women authors, I'll need to push myself out of my comfort zones and not just read young adult fiction (which I've been more selective about anyway). I can already think of several books I'd want to read for this that I probably wouldn't read otherwise, like Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, How to be a Woman,  and Eat, Pray, Love. I can't help but feel that if I don't read out of my comfort zone during an experiment like this, then there's no reason for me to try it.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you ever limit your reading in this way? Let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Considering our current hostile political environment, I think this is the best idea I've heard all week. I am going to start with all of Toni Morrison's books.