Like many people, I like to create rituals or impose odd limitations on myself in order to get stuff done. For instance, I recently went to Bristol to work on my novel. Yes, Bristol. It seems like an odd choice, but if I’d stayed in Zagreb I probably would have just got drunk every day and eaten a lot of chocolate. The UK is very expensive and cold, so I spent all day in the library. Getting stuff done!
Setting restrictions on yourself creates the illusion of order. It’s a form of laziness, expressed as ‘doing something well’ or ‘finding an interesting way to get stuff done’. It eliminates the bothersome need to always be thinking. Where will I walk? What will I eat? How will I wear my hair? That’s why Jane Doe always sits on the left side of the bus; one less thing to decide every morning. And Joe has tuna pasta on Monday nights; no thinking required.
Back when I lived in a country which made good coffee (hello Australia!) I switched to drinking lattes because I got bored of saying ‘cappuccino, no chocolate’. I am completely indifferent to the milk-to-foam ratio of my milky coffee. It’s just easier to say latte.
So you can imagine my delight when I realised that this year I read Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life” followed by Anne Bronte’s “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”. The very astute amongst you would realise that I have, quite by accident, embarked on a reading list. That is, women authors in alphabetical order.
Rather than think too hard about what to read next, I’m going on a reading journey which is easily laid out for me and requires almost zero input from my brain. I’ll be reading at least 26 books by women this year, one from each letter of the alphabet. This is sheer brilliance, amiright? I’d like you to join me and help out.
I’ve already knocked over A and B, so it’s time to move onto C. I’ll just mosey on over to the fiction section and plough through the Cs until I find a lady writer I like the look of. Angela Carter? Mavis Cheek? Tracy Chevalier… who are these people? Ah, here we go. Willa Cather. I’ve never heard of her, but apparently she’s an American writer from the early 1900s. “The Song of the Lark” is a free download on Kindle, making my choice breathtakingly easy. Should be bloody great.
If you have any suggestions for lady writers of fiction for D I’ll be most obliged! Just pop them in the comments. Look out for reviews soon.