100 books by women in 2016

This is my much belated report on my reading target of 100 book by women in 2016. I made it and I learnt some interesting things along the way.

  1. I was surprised to learn that I find reading non-fiction really tricky to get into when I have been reading a lot of fiction. It probably took me two non-fiction books to find my non-fiction reading style. If I hadn’t had a target to reach I might never have read all ten. But I’m glad I persevered.
  2. Young adult fiction books do so much with a lot less padding. They don’t muck around and really deal with some deep issues. There is usually more teenagers was the only point of difference I can recall. I came away thinking that people who diss young adult fiction just haven’t read it.
  3. It’s long been said that women have to be twice as good to be thought half as good. Double down on this if you are transgender, disabled or WOC. Books by these authors were among the best I read. This no doubt comes as no surprise to anyone in any of these categories.
  4. I am actually finding it difficult to get back into reading men’s writing. I have read a Ben Aaronovitch which I enjoyed immensely, but Aaronovitch is a very aware writer. I will probably read some Pratchett too but I’m increasingly finding it difficult to find male authors whose style I like anymore. But tastes change and evolve as we go along so I’m sure I’ll find someone I like again soon. But quite frankly there are so many great women authors out there I’m in no danger of running out of things to read.
  5. It was really quite stressful trying to make it to the 100 target because of life getting in the way and needing to research authors to make sure they met the criteria.
  6. Urban fantasy is a genre I discovered I really enjoy reading.

Will I do it again? Probably not in such a structured way. I am definitely continuing to read many more women authors and I will keep reading non-fiction that catches my interest. I’m going to try reading poetry again but might have to concede that mostly its not for me. Although Penelope Russon’s poetry I do like. This is my favourite of hers. I haven’t read much in the romance genre for a while. I read a lot about ten years ago but it all got a bit same same and I stopped. I might dip a toe in again and see what its like now.

Top picks:

Charlie Jane Anders: All the Birds in the Sky.

Hanya Yanagihara: Little Life (very harrowing read in parts)

Julie Koh: Portable Curiosities

Series or authors I had to keep reading:

Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Charlie Jane Anders (everything she wrote I could find), Penelope Russon (Undine), Anne Cleaves (Shetland Island series and stand alone novels), Rob(yn) Thurman (Cal Leandros series).

There were a few books I really couldn’t get into. Kate Borestein’s was one, but I am not the target audience so that was me rather than the book. Inkheart by Cordelia Funke was another difficult read. I’m not sure if it was the challenges life was throwing or the book but at times it just seemed unrelentingly bleak. Yet other books that were bleak were easy to read and really stuck with me.

The Cal Leandros urban fantasy series started out well, except for the ‘whorephobia’ which is an unfortunate feature of the series.  *spoilers ahead if you are reading or want to read this series*

About half way through the tone of the series changes and there is a sort of ‘oh hey we said this didn’t exist but it does’ and it’s like the author suddenly found religion. I found it quite jarring and for me the series lost something. Others still love it an eagerly await part two of the latest book. Splitting books in two also annoys me but YMMV. I persisted despite someone giving the latest book a one star review. I should have listened. But some fans thought it was the best yet.

Overall this challenge was a great way to broaden my horizons and encourage myself to read more widely. It has made me excited to seek out new to me authors and try genres that I wouldn’t normally think about.


Categories: arts & entertainment, Culture, fun & hobbies, gender & feminism, Life

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1 reply

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Mindy – I too have recently discovered Charlie Jane Anders. Don’t know most of the other names, but will keep an eye out for them. [ETA: d’oh, of course I know Seanan Maguire and Penelope Russon and Anne Cleaves – I need tea, obviously.]

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