My reaction to this issue is a bit mixed. Anything in the press and social media that draws attention to reading and celebrates good books is welcome, in my view ... And, of course, I think there are many superb women writers whose work deserves promotion. Many of my favorite authors are women, certainly (although plenty of male writers are represented among my favorites as well). A good number of the new book releases that I hope to read this year are, in fact, written by women. However, I find it a bit strange and depressing that, in the year 2014, we feel the need to highlight the fact that women are great writers .... Is that really still big news? Do we actually need to remind readers to read books by women? I would hope that we've reached a point where it's not especially surprising that a woman can write a chart-topping bestseller, or pen a highly-regarded literary work that wins a top fiction prize (for example, Donna Tartt taking home the Pulitzer this month for "The Goldfinch") ... But maybe that is not yet the case.
So, I will join in the Year of Reading Women, at least in a fashion. I promise to read plenty of great books by women writers in 2014 ... Then again, I ALWAYS read plenty of great books by women! But this time I'll blog about them. And, you know what, I imagine I will read some good books by men writers this year as well, and blog about those, too. And if someone declares 2015 the Year of Reading Men, then... well, ok, first I'll laugh, but then I will pledge to read plenty of men writers in 2015, and blog about them. And I'll read more women writers as well. What I hope is that we will all read and appreciate fabulous books every year, no matter the gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc, of the author.
That said, here are the top books by women writers that I hope to read in the coming months:
"The Goldfinch," Donna Tartt
"Sleep Donation," Karen Russell
"Boy, Snow, Bird," Helen Oyeyemi
"Love & Treasure," Ayelet Waldman
"Astonish Me," Maggie Shipstead
"Americanah," Chimimanda Adichie
What do you think... Would you want to read only women writers this year? Are more of your favorite authors women?