All these books (with the exception of Welcome to Night Vale) were written by women, and centered on female characters. It was an interesting experiment and one that I would recommend to everyone. I’m a woman, I live a woman’s life every day, but there’s an infinite variety of women’s lives out there to experience and I don’t seek out enough of it. I looked back at the last few years of my Reading Lists and less than half of the books I read each year were written by women. 2015 was particularly bad — out of 17 books read, only two were written by women. If we’re 50% of the population, women should represent 50% of my reading material, yes? I think so. And yet it never really occurred to me until this year, when I made a conscious effort to focus on women. I’m disappointed in myself for not coming to this realization sooner.
There’s a lot of non-fiction and memoir on the list, which I read a lot of regardless of what year it is, but I’ll admit I should’ve looked harder for novels to include. I love Americanah, I’m about a third of the way through it and it’s really wonderful. But women’s history is also important and also hugely neglected.
For 2017, my goal will be to read at least 50% books by women, and include overall more POC authors, both men and women.
Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt by Jean Naggar (I’m not sure I’m going to finish this one, I’ve neglected it for too long & I probably need to start over.)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor (I started reading this before 2015 ended so it’s grandfathered in here. At least the two main characters are women, even if it was written by men.)
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (audio book)
I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman
Inferno: A Poet’s Novel by Eileen Myles
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman
Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson
Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff (audio book)
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano
Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker (audio book)
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larsen (audio book)