Tuesday, 10 April 2018

#ReadingWomen - April 2018

I caught an interesting Twitter thread on Saturday which got me thinking about how many of the books I choose to read are influenced by the marketing I see for them and, in consequence, how much of my social opinion and beliefs are formed as a result of being effectively force fed those books. As regular Literary Flits visitors will know, I do read a lot of weird and obscure books(!), but I still get everyone-else-is-reading-it-so-I-should-too paranoia. And most of those hyped books fit into a pretty narrow band of social stereotypes. And most of the big budget publicity does go to male-authored books even though more novel readers are women. This MEL Magazine article has an interesting article about male authors now using feminine pen names to try and cash in on that!

I first saw Sara Rees Brennan:
and a reply from Joanne Harris:

So I thought I would start up a post series just focusing on books authored by women. I'm not saying don't read male authors of course, but am trying to do my bit to redress the promotional balance!

I've picked 5 broad categories including books I have read and books other folks recommend. Here are my first five:

Inspirational biography

A biography or autobiography written by a woman and about a woman:

The Book Depository : from £12.18 (HB)
Wordery : from £10.15 (PB)
Waterstones : from £13.99 (PB)
Amazon : from £2.73 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Keeping Hope Alive by Dr Hawa Abdi

For the last twenty years, Dr Hawa Abdi and her daughters have run a refugee camp on their family farm not far from Mogadishu which has grown to shelter 90,000 displaced Somalis: men, women, and children in urgent need of medical attention. As Islamist militia groups have been battling for control of the country creating one of the most dire human rights crises in the world, Dr. Abdi's camp is a beacon of hope for the Somalis, most of whom have no proper access to health care.

Read my Literary Flits review here

5 star favourite

A book to which I awarded 5/5 stars

The Book Depository : from £5.75 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.47 (PB)
Waterstones : from £5.99 (PB)
Amazon : from £1.50 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her village, set deep in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest's dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. One young village woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all they value behind. Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she's everything Agnieszka is not - beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it's not Kasia he takes.

Dave's choice

My OH is almost a voracious a bookworm as me! He's also just as happy to read books written by women as by men which apparently is unusual for a man.

The Book Depository : from £8.46 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.98 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd

The Words in My Hand is the reimagined true story of Helena Jans, a Dutch maid in 17th century Amsterdam working for an English bookseller. One day a mysterious and reclusive lodger arrives - the Monsieur - who turns out to be René Descartes. At first encounter the maid and the philosopher seem to have little in common, yet Helena yearns for knowledge and literacy - wanting to write so badly that she uses beetroot for ink and her body as paper.
And the philosopher, for all his learning, finds that it is Helena who reveals the surprise in the everyday world that surrounds him, as gradually their relationship deepens in a surprising story of love and learning.

On my bookshelf

A book I've bought, swapped or been gifted and am eagerly awaiting reading

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Tipping Point by Terry Tyler

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.
A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it's spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Around the blogosphere

A 5/5 star review from another bookish blog

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.61 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from £4.34 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Wade In The Water: Poems by Tracy K Smith

In Wade in the Water, Tracy K. Smith boldly ties America's contemporary moment both to the nation's fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting. These are poems of sliding scale: some capture a flicker of song or memory; some collage an array of documents and voices; and some push past the known world into the haunted, the holy. Smith's signature voice-inquisitive, lyrical, and wry-turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother, and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men, and violence.

If you've read any of these, pop your thoughts and review links in the Comments. And your suggestions for other #ReadingWomen books are most welcome. Comment them too!

I plan to blog my #Reading Women post on the 10th of each month. Feel welcome to join in on any date! I've even made a badge to wear on your blog :-)

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


  1. Female authors certainly need to feel the love from us book bloggers! It does seem unfair yet not surprising, that male authors get more funding and chances. In the ideal world you should get promoted on the quality of your work.

    1. Exactly! It's exasperating to think about the books I'm not even aware of because of other people's bias in deciding where the advertising should be concentrated.

  2. To be honest, I read far more books penned by female authors more than anything else but it's still disgraceful to see such inequality in this industry.

    1. I thought I read more women too, but I just did a count up for this year and so far it's 30 books by women and 30 by men with next planned reads being one of each as well. I'm surprisingly well balanced!

  3. I always know that whenever I visit your blog, I'm going to end up adding more books to my TBR and this is no exception! These all sound so amazing and I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment: the patriarchy is still alive and well in publishing, even though it's more hidden than it used to be. It's so important to use our consumer power to force publishing companies into recognizing their errors and supporting female authors and their amazing books is a great way to do it! Lovely post, Stephanie!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. Thank you Laura!
      I'm now picturing a cartoon image of your TBR trying to run away and hide whenever it knows you're visiting here :-)

  4. I'd say I read far more books written by women than by men not intentionally but the way my preferences go I suspect.

  5. This is a great post! I'll definitely join in on this as I want to read more books authored by women. It would be fun to do a read around the world specific to women authors. It will be something to plan for :)

    Cam @ Camillea Reads

    1. That's a good idea! I try to include at least one female authored book in all my WorldReads posts, but they're not always easy to find