Female Authors Only Month

For a long time, one of my goals has been to spend a month reading only female authors. It’s prompted by projects like Lilit Marcus‘ year of reading only books by women. I have too many commitments to review books and read for book clubs, etc, etc, to go for a whole year, but a month seems to be a reasonable goal and one (looking at Mount TBR) I can accomplish easily — perhaps even without missing male authors very much at all. Scrolling through my blog, I review a lot of books by women: Joe Abercrombie and Guy Gavriel Kay, even Tolkien, can all stand being sidelined for a month around here.

There’s nothing actually wrong with reading works by male writers, even if they are the archetypical white old men. Many of their books are deserving, many of them say things that people need to hear, or say things in a unique way. But the market is saturated with male writers, while female writers are still often relegated to genre, sidelined, bypassed for awards, etc.

There are issues of intersectionality, too: it’s important to read books by transgender people, people with disabilities, people of colour, working class people, queer people. There are all kinds of voices that need to be heard, need more space available to be heard in, and many of those voices are male. I think a month of reading only books by people of colour, or only books by people who identify as disabled, would be just as valuable. Even reading books by men which never made bestseller lists, or something like that. It’s just not my intent right now.

So, from 1st May to 31st May, this blog will review only books by female authors. (That’s how far in advance I’m scheduled — April is full.) Once I’ve finished reading Traitor’s Blade and The State of the Art, I’ll have no books on the go by men, and so the month of reading female authors only will commence. I might give you updates on how it’s going and what I’ve been reading, so you can see what reviews are coming up in May!

But a request to all of you, too: I want to read books by queer women, trans women, women of colour, Native American women… all kinds of women, in summary. Look through my TBR and STS posts and highlight someone you think I should read now now now, or suggest someone new. I’m especially looking for comics by women — I’m aware of Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Noelle Stevenson, Fiona Staples, Emma Rios… Gimme more!

6 thoughts on “Female Authors Only Month

  1. I only took a quick look at your Mount TBR for 2014/15, but the few titles there I’d recommend are:

    Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear – has a lesbian romance and a kick-ass transgender supporting character . . . and is just a really fun steampunk read.

    Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish – one of the strongest, most original urban fantasies I’ve read in a long time, with a bit of an unorthodox heroine.

    Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – an absolutely fantastic novel, a remarkable mix of epic fantasy and bdsm erotica, with complex characters and a lot of intrigue.

    Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – a challenging series in terms of pacing and focus, which doesn’t play by the rules of epic fantasy, but a fascinating story with well-rounded, complex characters.

    • The first two are ones I need to get round to ASAP anyway! The latter two are rereads (re-bought for ereader), which I definitely need to read and write up to date reviews for. Thanks!

  2. This sounds like an awesome idea… although I wonder how much you’ll notice it once you get going? I’d like to do something like this too at some stage, but for poc authors – pretty sure I’ve got an approximately 50/50 split (or 40/60 split, with a preference for women!) in my reading, but I’ve usually no clue about the author’s ethnicity unless I explicitly look it up.

    • I’m suspecting I won’t notice, because I think I read a lot of female authors only. I could easily read this whole month just from Mount TBR! But it does mean I’m gonna have to pass on new releases by men, or my comfort reads like The Lord of the Rings, so we’ll see. I’ll report when it’s done!

      I rarely know about ethnicity and find it awkward because sometimes the author doesn’t say, and then you’re sort of hesitant to decide a category for them, you know?

  3. Actually, I started doing this a couple of years ago, and have only recently started not explicitly doing this to read more comics. I honestly didn’t really notice that I’d kept up the preference!

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