So here’s something interesting. A reader pointed out to me today that she was going to recommend a book to me, but then decided against it because she thought I wouldn’t like the book. After thinking about it, she came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t like it because it was written by a woman.
She then went to the “Full Archive of Books” page, and pointed out that only 15 of the approximately 115 books I’ve reviewed here were written by women. Now how about that?
It never occurred to me that this might be true. I pick and choose what I want to read based on topic I like or am interested in, and I just assumed the authors would be more balanced. I don’t think I had ever given this a thought.
And I’m sure when it comes to minority authors, I’m in an equally bad–or worse–position.
Now, in my defense, some of my favorite books here were written by women. I loved Isabel Wilkerson’s, “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Same is true for Naomi Benaron’s “Running the Rift.” “King of the Lobby” was fantastic as was “Fixing My Gaze.” And I don’t have to remind you how much I loved Stacy Schiff’s “Cleopatra.” And Stacy Schiff for that matter. But even now, I feel like the guy on the defensive who naively says, “Some of my best friends are women (or minorities)!”
So is this my own bias? Or is it more difficult for women and minority authors to get published or reviewed in major papers? Are those authors marketed differently, or are their books targeted to other women and minorities rather than an across the board audience? What’s going on here? If you thought about your own bookshelf of authors, what would it look like?
I’m glad she pointed this out to me because I’m going to make a point to choose some authors over the next year that could expand my reading horizons.
So here’s your chance, make a recommendation. What’s the last great book you read by a female or minority author?
Thanks for reading.