Jun 26, 2013

How Many Books Have You Read by Female Authors this Year?

Since it's about halfway through the year, it seems like a good a time as any to ask yourself "how many books have you read by female authors this year?".

I asked myself that question today and I found I wasn't particularly impressed with the response. While I haven't exactly read a ton this year (work and business school are keeping me plenty busy) I think I've only read two four works by women - The Shining Girls (Lauren Beukes) and The Poisoner's Handbook (Deborah Blum) and Catching Fire/Mocking Jay (Suzanne Collins).

I've got some women at the top of my queue - Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Helene Wecker, Rachel Swirsky - but after reflecting, I really need to should make an attempt to make sure I give those books the attention they deserve. The bias isn't intentional, but it is there.

You don't need to share your number but I hope you'll think about whether or not you're happy with it.

If you are happy with your number, what's the best book you've read that was written by a woman this year?

If you aren't happy with your number, hopefully you will find a list of books that are worth checking out from the first half of 2013.

I'll start with some books that I've heard a lot of good things about and hopefully we can build on this together.


  1. Counting rereads, I've read 33 books by female authors. Out of 48 books. Now I'll grant you, I've read multiple books in a series by the same author, so if you're only counting diversity of names, I'd say that number probably hovering around the halfway mark, which still isn't too shabby, I suppose.

    As for which was the best, I'm honestly torn between A M Dellamonica's "Indigo Springs," Gillian Philip's "Firebrand," Courtney Schafer's "The Tainted City," or my reread of Jo Walton's "Among Others." It's really hard to figure out which of those is my favourite, because they were all so awesome!

  2. I've read a total of 53 books this year, 26 of which were written by women.
    That number is a bit shaky, as it contains one short story collection which I counted as a male author (Neil Gaiman as editor) but offered many great stories by women. And I read a French comic book series where I counted every issue as "book by a male writer". So overall I'm happy with how balanced my reading year has been.

    Picking favorites is going to be surprisingly easy (although this is more than one):

    Catherynne M. Valente - The Orphan's Tales, Deathless, ah hell, everything!
    Nalo Hopkinson - Midnight Robber
    Frances Hardinge - Fly by Night
    Caitlín R. Kiernan - The Drowning Girl
    Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber

    And though I read her last year but will re-read her, now that I own the beautiful hardback editions of her books, I must mention the lovely

    Ysabeau S. Wilce - "Flora Segunda", "Flora's Dare", and "Flora's Fury"

    I don't know what Wilce is so underrated and so little known. Her trilogy is original, fresh, funny and deep, and it features some of the coolest, most lovable characters I have read about in YA or children's fiction.


    "The Shining Girls" is high on my to-read list but I haven't read anything by Beukes before. Should I start with the newest book or maybe try "Zoo City" first? Either way, I definitely want to read something by Beukes.

    Elizabeth Bear has been piling up on my TBR and I finally want to read something by her. Though if I'll make it "Range of Ghosts" or something else will be decided by whim.

    Cat Valente has a collection coming out in July - "The Melancholy of Mechagirl" - and the third Fairyland novel at the end of the year, both of which will be read immediately. :)

    The other books that I still want to get to in 2013 are

    Karin Lowachee - The Warchild Trilogy
    Kerstin Gier - Silber (German writer, best known for her Ruby Red trilogy)
    Sarah Zettel - Dust Girl
    Nicola Griffith - Ammonite
    Kij Johnson - The Fox Woman
    Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett - Shadow Magic

    and generally more Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Margaret Atwood - and, although not by a female writer but featuring some of the best female characters, Terry Pratchett's Discworld books about the witches.

    Sooo, that comment turned out longer than expected. I can't wait to hear what other people have read and loved this year.

  3. Four women authors out of nineteen total authors (21%). Of those the best was easily War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Honestly don't care what the number is, I just read what appeals to me no matter the gender.

  4. I've read 16 books so far this year - 10 of which were by women. They also happen to be authors I admire.

    My favourites:

    On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette De Bodard (Brilliant sci-fi.)

    Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

    Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

    Deathless by Catherynne Valente

    Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (the best medieval dragon-human politics re-imagining I've read)

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

    I read 43 books last year, 30 of which were by female authors (some books were in the same series so the actual female author count was 20.)

    Last year's favourites:

    Grimspace by Ann Aguirre (including sequels)

    The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling (including sequels)

    In the Night Garden + Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente

    Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

    Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard (fantastic Aztec fantasy series)

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