Tuesday, April 20, 2010


So I realized that I don't read as many women fiction writers as I should. I'm looking over my "read" (pronounced "red") list on Goodreads. Here are the female writers I've read:

—Jean Rhys (for class; thought it was boring)
—Charlotte Brontë (for class; boring)
—Willa Cather (for class; extremely boring)
—Mary Shelley (for class; eh)
—Nell Freudenberger (on my own; I liked it)
—Nicole Krauss (on my own; liked it)
—A.M. Homes (on my own; thought it was okay)
—Joyce Carol Oates (on my own, multiple books; I'm a fan)
—Virginia Woolf (one for school; boring. one on my own; awesome. I'll have to re-read that first one. In addition I just bought Orlando.)
—Zadie Smith (for school, but I actually thought it was okay)
—Vendela Vida (on my own; liked it)

Here are some authors I'm currently reading:

—Lisa Dierbeck (almost done, started a couple years ago; eh)
—Micheline Aharonian Marcom (not too crazy about it but I might finish it)
—Miranda July (like it)
—Kathleen Rooney (okay, so it's not fiction, but hey, it's a book; I like it)
—Jane Austen (read half on my iPod, until the novelty of reading on an iPod wore off; eh)
—Mary Gaitskill (read a story or two; not incredibly enthusiastic)
—Ivy Compton-Burnett (I'll have to start this one over; liked it)
—Lore Segal (need to resume before I forget character names; I like it)

Here are some authors in my to-read stack:

—Dodie Smith
—Dawn Powell
—Marisha Pessl
—Tsipi Keller
—Louise Erdrich
—Lynne Tillman
—Francine Prose
—Joyce Carol Oates
—Meghan Daum
—Meg Wolitzer
—Yannick Murphy
—Magdalena Zurawski
—Virginia Woolf
—Emily Barton
—Joan Taylor
—Elaine Dundy
—Jessica Anya Blau

None of these lists are complete, but almost, maybe. There might be some I'm forgetting.

Anyway, according to my count on Goodreads, I've read an approximate total of 56 novels or story collections (including ones for school). I'm probably forgetting a few, but I'm sure I've read fewer than 100. About 23% of these were by women. In school I think the split was about half-and-half, so even among the books I chose to read on my own, the percentage is about the same. Now if I were a faster reader, and had read ten times as many books, hopefully it would have evened out a little more. It's already trending that way, as I can see that my list of to-reads by women is much longer than my list of reads ("reds") by women, and about the same length as my list of to-reads by men. Probably won't start reading any faster though.


  1. I find that I read more poetry by women and more fiction by men. I don't have any hard facts for this, but I think that's what I do. Have you read Self-Help by Lorrie Moore? I also think you would love The Difficult Farm by Heather Christle, which I just finished.

  2. Angela Carter Jane Bowles Djuna Barnes Lydia Davis Flora Nwapa Kelly Link!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. May I also suggest: Joy Williams, Aimee Bender, Donna Tartt.

  4. leigh: i haven't read lorrie moore, but i plan to. i once glanced at one of her stories that mentioned my hometown! and yeah, i'm reading the difficult farm right now. with poetry i'm pretty confident that i read close to 50-50. of course, the further back in time you go, it might be a different story...

    jordan: i've read some lydia davis and one kelly link story. technically i suppose they both belong in my "currently-reading" list as well. i've been actively looking for jane bowles in used bookstores.

    elisa: i've read most of aimee bender's first book, and i have a donna tartt book that should also be in the "to-read" list.

    also mary gordon is in the to-read list.

    (these lists only include books i own. there are a lot more to-read books i simply don't own yet.)

    also elfriede jelinek, to-read.

  5. (why does the posted number of comments not match the actual number of comments? blogger is wiggy.)

  6. Try Clarice Lispector (I like The Hour Of The Star) and Toni Morrison.

    Sigh, I'm a woman and I can still never name many female authors I've enjoyed...

  7. Interesting how no one is attacking you for suggesting that gender matters.

  8. i know!!! bring it on y'all!!!!!!!!!

  9. You should Ayn Rand to your "to read" list. ;)