Women read more than men do. It’s a fact.
Last year 82% of women read a book while only 69% of men did.
Not only that, women who read averaged 14 books last year while men who read only averaged 10. More women read AND women read more.
But even with women reading more than men, and with almost an even distribution between men and women authors in the amount of books published, books by women are more easily ignored.
Rob Carmack correctly points out that this is a result of marketing, something female authors have noted. Books written by women are marketed to women. Men don’t read them because they have flowers on the cover and so seem like “girl books.” Men should not be afraid to read “girl books,” he says. So it’s odd when Carmack goes on to suggest two books by women that are about gender. While there is definitely value in these books, probably not the best choices to show that books by women should have a broad appeal.
The foundation of my reading old books project was that there is value in reading an author because their experience is different from our own, but we need to be careful not to limit women to the role of authors who are able to round out our experiences.
I don’t think we should read a book just because it was written by a woman, or try to keep a complete balance (“Well, I just read a book by a man, better find one by a woman.”) Instead we should read great books by great authors regardless of their gender. We should be more willing to read a book with a woman’s name on the spine, but not BECAUSE it has a woman’s name on the spine.
Still, my own bookshelf is mostly male authors. It isn’t hard to see the subtle ways that culture has kept us from reading women’s books and we should certainly be open to reading more women. Most of my books are Classics, philosophy, or theology, not disciplines women have taken part in until recently and it’s easy to maintain the status quo and never allow women a voice in a male dominated world. To counteract that, Joanna Walsh has has started #readwomen2014 to encourage people to read more books written by women. I can’t endorse this enough.
With that in mind I’ve compiled a list of Christian women you need to be aware of and one book by them you need to read.
P.S. Clicking on the book cover will take you to amazon where buying the book can support your own learning, the author (if they’re alive), and this site.