Reading Women

Quite by accident this year I’ve almost entirely read books only by women. *

Many internets-people have declared 2014 to be the year they read more women writers. Some are even going so far as to say they’ll only read women writers. Having usually been someone who says “I only read books written before 1950” I can understand that sort of mentality. And having been that person, I’ve consequently read very few books by women.

In high school I hated Jane Austen. As far as I was concerned, all of her books were about men and women getting married; something I was certainly not interested in then and am even less so now. I’ve mellowed a bit now, and although I do not suffer from Austen-fever, I find her quite enjoyable.

Will Barnet - Woman Reading

This year, however, was the year I decided to read modern books. Gasp. This started a few months ago, and in that short time I’ve read more fiction written in the years since I was born than I have in the whole rest of my life. And as a result, I’ve read a lot more women.

The point I’m rather haphazardly meandering my way towards is that, simply by reading modern fiction I’m necessarily reading fiction almost entirely by women. So why do reports continually find that fewer women’s books are reviewed than men’s in newspapers and magazines?

Just to clarify: I don’t read romances or murder mysteries or YA or anything involving vampire-human love binaries – or only occasionally when I feel like spacing out for a bit. I read, I think, good literature. And all this good literature that I’m reading is by women! Go figure.

* it would’ve been entirely, but I forgot about Julian Barnes. But The Sense of an Ending was so short that surely it doesn’t count?

PS – If you have suggestions for books to read, I heartily welcome them in the comments below! If it was written after 1979, chances are pretty good that I haven’t read it.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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