Reading Women Writers

Over the years I have certainly seen my fair share of articles and posts based on the premise that straight men don’t read novels written by women. Ester Bloom at Slate finally had enough of this narrative that self-perpetuates based on anecdotal accounts and wrote an excellent piece entitled “Stop Saying That Men Don’t Read Women.

But merely repeating the simplistic myth that men don’t read women discourages women and other underrepresented groups from following Amazon’s No. 1 best-selling author Sheryl Sandberg’s advice. It further codifies the noxious idea that men are intellectually uninterested in women as the Way It Is and the Way It Has To Be, because it’s the Way It Always Was. And it obscures the positive change happening, albeit slowly, in the literary world.

That I was in the middle of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook when I read Bloom’s piece made it all the more striking. Taking Bloom’s piece as inspiration, I decided to start a new series of posts called “Reading Women Writers.” I will be writing a post for each novel by a female author I read from this point on. Some will be novels I have read before and re-reading, others will be new to me. I hope to read writers from around the world and from varied backgrounds, and while I have a large personal library to work with, I would welcome suggestions for novels you think I should read and write about in the comments or on Twitter.

The purpose of this series is to serve as my own anecdotal evidence that men are intellectually interested in women and do read their work. Hopefully others will also feel inclined to do the same.

As a caveat, I was not a Literature major. My posts won’t be any fancy literary criticism. With that disclaimer, the first novel is the aforementioned The Golden Notebook, which I will post about this week.

All posts in the series will be listed on the series page as they are posted.