Monday, 20 December 2010

Where's All The White Girls At?

Yesterday I posted a list of my favourite authors, looking at when they first got published. While the list was in no way a definitive or thorough survey of my favourite writers, it was a fairly good cross-section. And it's struck me, now I see all their names written down side by side, that they're almost all menward. Two of the nineteen mentioned are women.

I don't like the idea of tailoring my reading, of meeting gender quotas, of any sort of positive descrimination. But I really don't like the idea that I'm missing out on whole swathes of great literature.

Maybe it's because I just read a novel by a female author, who I'd heard about for years but never picked up, and it turned out to be excellent. Or maybe it's because that author was Margaret Atwood, and the book in question was all about gender roles in society. Either way, I want to change the fact that only three of the nineteen books on my To Be Read pile were written without recourse to being a man.

This isn't a new manifesto or anything. I'm fairly happy with stumbling blindly through the world of books. But a shove in a new direction is always welcome. Recommend me some great books by female authors, please.

Hit me.


  1. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

  2. 1) just found your blog. i'm glad i did!

    2) i looked over my reading list for 2010 and noticed the same thing. i mean, for starters, i've always known that most of my favorite authors are men. i don't question too much WHY; like you i don't like aiming for quotas in my reading. but this past year my reading has been dominated by men. a few women got in there, but they were usually YA authors... I read hardly any classics or lit fic by women. This is kind of weird and unnerving and I'm not sure what to think of it, but I do want to try reading more women this year. i'm going to go with leslie marmom silko to start (she wrote an amazing book, ceremony, and i'm going to read one of her authors), try atwood for the first time...and after that, who knows. but i'm going to look forward to reading your posts & reviews & getting ideas from your reading.

    -- Ellen