I was pleased to hear about the #Readwomen2014 campaign. I don’t really need to read more women authors though, as I already tend to read mainly women. A quick scan of my bookcase suggests that around 10% of the books I read are by male writers. I was surprised to find it was that many.
Why do I read more women than men? It’s not specifically a choice, more the way my reading habits have evolved over time. Women writers tend to speak to me in a way men don’t. I suppose as a feminist reader I am going to be more attracted to people who see the world in a way I can identify with. If I’m reading for relaxation I don’t want to be angered or upset by sexist attitudes from an author. Of course plenty of writers, of both sexes, can write both male and female characters well, and it’s not only males who may be misogynistic. I can make allowances, but generally speaking if I’m reading for relaxation I just don’t want to be bothered with sweepingly sexist generalisations, or deep seated misogyny that I find to be more prevalent in books written by men than by women.
I read primarily to relax and escape. Sometimes I read to learn. Sometimes I read books I feel I should read, or because I fall for the hype around a popular book. Most of my books come from the shelves of charity shops and I regularly recycle them, sometimes I’ll borrow books from the library or from a friend, I get some from giveaways on websites and occasionally I’ll treat myself to a brand new purchase or some kind friend or relative will gift me new books or a voucher/card to buy something new. An electronic reader doesn’t appeal to me at all, one reason being that I wouldn’t be able to relax in the bath with it.
My favourite authors vary with time and mood and I’ll read any genre as long as it entertains me. I have several books by Atwood, Lessing and Murdoch on my shelf, plenty of ‘classics’, a fair few sci-fi and fantasy and books, a healthy selection of crime fiction and a few aimed at young adults. Most of the books I read are written by middle class white women, (my most read black authors are probably Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and Andrea Levy), and I’d welcome any suggestions to help me build up a more diverse selection.
I’ve started to list the books I’ve read in 2014 and leave a few comments about them on a new page; Books 2014. Comments & suggestions very welcome.