Last week, I suggested that readers challenge themselves to try picking their fiction by first considering the author. Every time I do this, I get a surprising amount of pushback, which astonishes me. “I just read what’s good!” “I don’t worry about the author!” “I won’t pick my entertainment based on the author’s background, I pick based on content!” Ideally, these statements should result in a nice variety of ideas and perspectives. Ideally, “what’s good,” should result in a NYT bestseller list that represents a wide range of diverse writer voices. End caps and staff recommendation tables in bookstores should be populated by male AND female writers, writers of color, diverse backgrounds and orientations. “Queer” fiction would not be a shelf in its own section in the back, and speculative fiction written by women would not end up shelved in the “Chick Lit” section because the author’s name is Helen.
About 5 years ago, I was reading something about women writers and I had a reading epiphany. I realized my own reading choices were skewed almost entirely to White Male (Straight or Cisgender-Heterosexual if we want to be specific) authors. My favorites lists were predominately the same (proof: there is a Facebook note from 2009 where I named 15 books that will always stick with me. I’m astonished that 3 of those authors were women, but I may have written it just shortly after becoming aware of the disparity.)
Over the last 5 years, I’ve had an ongoing goal of balancing my reading choices. Let me tell you people, it is HARD. Books by men get most of the publicity, most of the endcaps, they dominate the “if you liked…” lists, especially in genre, which is where I spend at least half of my reading time.
Homeland by Cory Doctorow My rating: 4 of 5 stars Well crap. Once again Doctorow paints a pretty grim and believable picture of what happens when we allow our rights to privacy, autonomy and freedom of expression to be circumscribed in the name of “safety” and “protection.” The most disturbing thing about the potential of this tale to become reality, is that many of the MOST disturbing plot aspects of the novel have already occurred, and even as the perpetrators get their hands slapped, their attorneys rewrite service agreements, that we click “accept” in the little checkbox, and say “Hello […]
Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dicharry My rating: 5 of 5 stars One month ago, I started training for a 5k race, which I signed up for, one month from now. 8 weeks to turn a non-runner into a person who can run for 3 miles without needing a medic. One week ago I started having fatigue pain and cramping in my lower left leg. In my day job, I do remedial massage for just these conditions, but you know what they say about troubleshooting your own “chassis,” to borrow […]
There was an interesting article in Salon yesterday regarding the legitimacy of rejecting a writer’s body of work based, not on the writing, but on the writer’s personal politics and behavior. I’m not sure why that’s even a discussion, except for the stature of the writer involved. I’ve used this as a way to weed out my to-read list for ages. Writer posts a polemic on how women ruin everything? This woman never buys another word he writes. *we hates them forever! gollum*gollum* And I don’t feel the least bit bothered over it. So what if it’s brilliant? So are […]