A few months ago a friend who wants to get back into reading asked me for some recommendations.
I sent her a list of some of my favourite novels, classic and modern, pretty pleased with my impeccable taste.
The Quiet American – Graham Greene
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman
The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
All The King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
In The Winter Dark – Tim Winton
Wanting – Richard Flanagan
“Thanks man,” she shot back. “Any other female authors you like besides Shirley Jackson?”
I’ve never made a conscious decision to avoid female authors and no, Jackson’s not the only one I like. But she had a point – clearly I’ve gravitated more towards men than women in my reading life.
Shame is a powerful motivator, so you may have noticed a pattern emerging in the books I’ve been reading this year: they’re all by women.
I won’t be exclusively reading women this year – I have a few male-authored books I want to get to in the coming weeks – but expect a high proportion as I aim to balance the gender ledger a little.