December 2011 Books Read

Reading stats for 2013

BookishIn 2012 I read almost twice as many books by men as women, and in 2013 I wanted to change that. But my approach was kind of lazy. I didn’t actually do much to seek out books by women. I kind of forgot my mission, and just read whatever I found interesting, so I was a little worried about what I’d find.

In 2013 I read 171 books, 81 books written or edited by women, and 90 written or edited by men, 47% and 53% respectively. A heck of a lot better than the 35% I discovered last year, but still not balanced.

I read a lot more poetry (47) than fiction (22) in 2013, and of those, 62% of the poetry was written by women, and 55% of the fiction. It’s encouraging to see improvement here. I read more literary criticism and books on writing by women than I did previously, though this still accounts for only 42%. (NB: Still looking for recommendations for great critics – women or men.)

Last year I only read one graphic novel by a woman, this year I read 16. ((Ok,  boosted by reading a lot of Sailor Moon manga, but hey, it’s a start.)) My graphic novel count  (58) overall was way up. I was juggling two jobs while in school part-time, and graphic novels are my candy. I love them, but even the best tends to be comparatively light reading. I’m not surprised by the increase.

Of the books I read last year, 24 were for review, interview or other books coverage, which is a record for me. One I’m already set to beat, as I’ve already read three books for review this January. Of those, 16 were written or edited by women. ((I think a part of this is because I recently started doing books coverage for She Does the City, and the focus tends to be female-centric, naturally.))

I’m getting closer to overall parity, but obviously I need to do more – and be concious about it. I’m noticing that a lot of what I read and cover is predominately by white authors, and that’s something that needs to change as well.

As always, I love recommendations. Read anything good lately?

3 thoughts on “Reading stats for 2013”

  1. Not recent works, but try (if you haven’t already):

    “Sweet Diamond Dust and other stories” by Rosario Ferre

    “The Innocence of the Devil” by Nawal el Saadawi, and also her book “The Fall of the Imam”

    “Ingratitude” by Ying Chen

    The “Lilith’s Brood” trilogy by Octavia Butler

    “Sweet Death” by Claude Tardat

    “Wideacre” by Philippa Gregory

    “The Scapegoat” by Mary Lee Settle (part 4 of a 5-part historical novel series which I haven’t read the rest of yet)

    The first 4 authors mentioned are all women of color: from Puerto Rico, Egypt, China and the US respectively.

  2. I recently read We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo and The Family China by Ann Shin, both of which I highly recommend. I’m now reading Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat and Wild Swans by Jung Chang, which are both beautiful and heartbreaking and I recommend them already without finishing them.

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