Women Writers

Women aye? Always banging on about shoes and shopping and that…

Generic angry woman - courtesy of our beloved Daily Mail.

No stop, I was joking. Women aye? can’t take a joke.

But seriously folks… I’ve been thinking for a long time about this question “Why don’t i read books by women writers? ”

As a feminist* this bothers me. I’ve talked to several female friends about this and the general reaction is, “why do you even care?” and when pressed for female authors I might like, I receive a shrug. It seems like a strange question to them. I assume it would be a strange question to most men as well.

It’s not something that crosses over to other mediums of entertainment i enjoy –  I like plenty of female musicians and some of my favourite comics are by women (some-of-my-best-friends-are-women), heads up to Alison Bechdel and Gabrielle Bell.

Fun Home - this book is AWESOME.

But I wonder if this is more due to the nature of my involvement with these mediums? I am a muso. I listen to a ton of music so I am bound to stretch my interest to include women, knocking over any preconceptions I might have. With alternative comics the pool is so small I had no choice to discover talented women, but only after I had discovered A LOT of talented male artists.

With fiction most of the time I’m going to be reading a book for at least a week and I have a huge list of people I want to check out or read another book by. This means that books by women just don’t make it onto the list. I wonder if in the back of my mind I see novels by women as all being akin to “Diary of Shopaholic” which I know (in the front of my mind [mind-front]) would be akin to thinking all books by men would be by Andy McNab (Real Lads Read McNab).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to be equal opportunities in my sparetime just for the sake of it. It’s just that of the thousands of books I’ve read I can only think of two I’ve read for pleasure, The Bone People by Keri Hulme (good but a bit “mystical womanhood”) and To Kill A Mockingbird (which is awesome, no matter what anyone says). I just feel like I’m missing out.

So why don’t I just read some books by women? Easily done, right (i.e. stop being pathetic)? I suppose – but I have no idea where to start. My taste in books leans towards the cult, which takes a bit of wading through to sort the wheat from the chaff – and would also mean  a “list of best-books-iver!!!!1” isn’t a great place for me to start to look. Plus my friends are no help what-so-ever…

For now all I can do is leave the last word to Lou Reed

John, November 11

*by which I mean someone who thinks women are equal to men, nothing more, nothing less.


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