Doubling Up My Reading Habits

A couple of years ago, there was a spate of articles and blog posts from people who vowed to read only books by women, or people from a minority group.

I also remember reading about some fairly extreme (as in, typical) reactions such as death threats and worse, but I might have conflated those with other death threats (by men) for what are very silly reasons. That isn’t to say there was no reaction to the people who took that vow.

I’m hopping on the bandwagon, about a year late, and with a bit of a twist–mostly because I caught it by accident. giphy

Mostly by accident, I noticed earlier in the year that I’d started a pattern: two books by a woman, one by a man. So I’ve just carried this through so far, and I intend to read twice as many books this year by women as men this year.

The results are still pending, but I’ve found myself almost cursing this pattern once or twice. Mostly, because one of the best books I’ve read this year was by a woman, and I’ve been eager to finish the trilogy. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (and its follow-ups, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy) might be the best new world I’ve discovered in a long time. I’ve wanted to tear through the trilogy, but have been forcing myself to read other books between–partly for the pattern, and partly to avoid World Fatigue (a sensation I got after reading the first two Song of Ice and Fire novels).

The books that have dragged have actually mostly been the male books. I feel bad, as they have included a Terry Pratchett collaboration, The Long Earth and the Welcome to Night Vale novel. I enjoyed both, but felt myself sort of forcing myself through them, eager to return to Leckie’s space opera. This is likely not indicative of anything other than how much I’m enjoying those books.

To my shame I’ll admit that if you were to gather the authors on my bookshelf (prior to this little reading escapade, but even now) in a pub for a drink, it would be a very jovial and entertaining group. It would also be a sausage fest: mostly male, mostly white, with a small handful of women and people of color sitting around one small table in the corner.

200

If you catch my drift

These are excellent authors, one and all: Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Stephen Fry, Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkien e e cummings. We’d even have most of the Daily Show cast here, including Stephen Colbert and John Hodgman. Truly wonderful authors, and I am proud to admit I know them; it would also be a hell of a party. At the same time, I have to admit an unconscious bias in my reading–even in that list, there’s one name that’s not white and American or English.

While gathering my collection, and putting books in the hopper (to be read later) I’ve been driven by either recommendations (usually from podcasts and authors) or authors I’ve enjoyed in the past. I don’t need recommendations yet, but if I do I’ll make some noise here. I’ve got my next three or four books lined up already, with a few ideas for where to go from there.

This is a low bar, and admittedly, intentionally so. This isn’t really a statement, it’s more of an experiment. So far, it’s paying off.

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