Read women

books on the sidetableYou know the feeling when you think you’re having a brilliant idea that is so original and so perfect it sends shudders through your spine? And then you find out that many other people have had that same thought much before you, and their version was also much better than yours? Right. One of those moments has been brought to me by the generosity of my very average, unoriginal mind (which is, however, delusional and overestimates itself all the time) when I came up with the idea to read only books authored by women, which was maybe a year or more ago.

It actually started for me organically, if I am to be honest with myself. It was not the proverbial light-bulb moment. I slowly began to feel that I didn’t want to pick up books written by men. I was not interested anymore in men’s worldview. Not because it’s not valuable in itself, but because I’ve had enough of it already. I’ve read the classics of literature throughout my youth, and they were overwhelmingly men, of course. Which is fine, I think: for the longest time very few women wrote anything more than diaries and letters, mostly because they were not permitted anything more–they were not allowed education and if they somehow got that, they were not allowed to show it beyond the confines of their homes and salons.

But these days women write extensively. They write in every genre, on every possible topic, with all imaginable degrees of success, from garbage to Nobel-prize worthy.  So I don’t feel I am limiting myself in any way by choosing only from probably half of the books that are being published. Well, I don’t actually know how many books are being published by women compared to men, but you know, women are a little bit more than half of the world’s population, so reading only what half of the population is writing doesn’t seem so restrictive, does it? I don’t feel that I am missing on big works of genius, because the chances are, for every brilliant book written by a man, there will be a woman’s book just as amazing, even if not touted as such by the painfully patriarchal and biased system of the literary establishment.

Besides, let’s not forget that many men would never read a book written by a woman. For disgusting reasons that I feel nauseated to explain here. But that is why so many women writers feel like they have to hide their identity if they want any readers of the opposite sex to pick up their tomes. And nobody makes a fuss about that. It’s normal to not want to read women. They just think silly thoughts about love and dresses and such. They are not working with the big, universal truths. But to not read men? Isn’t that just extreme and doesn’t it make you miss out on too much? Yeah, I’m crying myself to sleep because of how much I’m missing, let me tell you.

Anyway, it seems that many other women have reached similar conclusions and are making an effort to support literature by women. On Twitter, there is a #readwomen2014 campaign. We should join. It just makes good sense.

P.S. For those who wouldn’t know where to start, here is a list from The Atlantic of 21 books written by and about women that men would benefit from reading.

8 thoughts on “Read women

  1. Fab post! I started out the year determined to read only women, but a few chaps have crept in…I’m itching to get back to A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, byEimear McBride, but I’m also enjoying Frances Gapper’s short stories, and I have another novel somewhere…

    1. Sounds like a great reading list, Rachel. For me it doesn’t happen anymore. I don’t feel enthusiastic about any books written by men. The old saying applies: So many books, such little time. Better make the best of it.

  2. Fab post! I started out the year determined to read only women, but a few chaps have crept in…I’m itching to get back to A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, byEimear McBride, but I’m also enjoying Frances Gapper’s short stories, and I have another novel somewhere…

    1. Sounds like a great reading list, Rachel. For me it doesn’t happen anymore. I don’t feel enthusiastic about any books written by men. The old saying applies: So many books, such little time. Better make the best of it.

  3. Darn it, Lori, that Atlantic list just added 16 books my to-read list! And I’m SO trying to catch up! Hmm, there’s another good reason to cut out all of the books written by men: instant progress on my TBR list!

    Seriously, though, there are some great books on the Atlantic list (and I don’t actually mind expanding my to-read list. There are already more books on it than I will ever be able to read; what’s a few more?).

    I really enjoyed Flamethrowers. It received several reviews either giving back-handed praise or criticizing the author for trying to write a Great American Novel when she should know that only the boys are allowed to write those. Those reviews were a major reason I picked the book for my Sisters Book Club a couple of months ago. This month we’re reading Middlemarch…would you like to join us? 😉

    1. Yes, I actually downloaded Middlemarch on my Kindle to start reading it. I am still working on the Women’s Spirituality book but I think I’ll start Middlemarch too. The Flamethrowers does sound good. I know, that list! Too many amazing books out there. I can’t wait to read Dora: a Headcase, which also sounds amazing. And Heroines!

  4. Darn it, Lori, that Atlantic list just added 16 books my to-read list! And I’m SO trying to catch up! Hmm, there’s another good reason to cut out all of the books written by men: instant progress on my TBR list!

    Seriously, though, there are some great books on the Atlantic list (and I don’t actually mind expanding my to-read list. There are already more books on it than I will ever be able to read; what’s a few more?).

    I really enjoyed Flamethrowers. It received several reviews either giving back-handed praise or criticizing the author for trying to write a Great American Novel when she should know that only the boys are allowed to write those. Those reviews were a major reason I picked the book for my Sisters Book Club a couple of months ago. This month we’re reading Middlemarch…would you like to join us? 😉

    1. Yes, I actually downloaded Middlemarch on my Kindle to start reading it. I am still working on the Women’s Spirituality book but I think I’ll start Middlemarch too. The Flamethrowers does sound good. I know, that list! Too many amazing books out there. I can’t wait to read Dora: a Headcase, which also sounds amazing. And Heroines!

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