Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Muse: #readwomen2014

This year has been designated the "Year of Reading Women", which I hope never will be confused with the "Year of Women Reading". (The placement of that noun matters.)

The project has its own hashtag: #readwomen2014, thanks to writer and illustrator Joanna Walsh, who writes for Berfrois, an excellent online literary-intellectual magazine published in the United Kingdom. As Walsh explains at Berfrois, and as VIDA statistics so unfortunately confirm, critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women leave much to be desired. "It's not whether women are published (because they are) but how they are published," Walsh writes. Indeed! 

If you a bookish type, female or male, who stocks your shelves or e-reader with titles followed by the names of men, this is your chance to reset a New Year's goal. Trust me, this is one you can achieve: #readwomen2014

In the interest of helping you change the ugly numbers (no fair just giving them lip service), and perhaps even prompting you to encourage your friends and colleagues in and outside the industry to rethink the publishing, selling, promotion, and reception given writing by women, I've pulled together some titles that I've read (in a number of instances more than once) and highly recommend. (For this post, I've limited myself to three categories in which I read widely and have restricted my suggestions to 30 writers, one title per writer. I could list scores and scores more. I may periodically add to the lists or offer other categories in subsequent posts.) Doubtless, some of the titles and perhaps more of the names will be unfamiliar. All the better. Be curious! 

Keep and share your own lists on social media, write your own reviews, look up information about the writers, and be sure to spread the hashtag.

Poetry (This category includes chapbooks as well as full collections.)

Meena Alexander ~ Birthplace with Buried Stones (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2013)

Amanda Auchter ~ The Wishing Tomb (Perugia Press, 2012)

Elizabeth Austen ~ Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011)

Shaindel Beers ~ The Children's War and Other Poems (Salt Publishing, 2013)

Kelly Cherry ~  Vectors (Parallel Press Poetry Series, 2012) (I wrote a review of this.)

Kathleen Kirk ~ Interior Sculpture: poems in the voice of Camille Claudel (Dancing Girl Press, 2014)

Patti Paine ~ The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing, 2012)

Marge Piercy ~ The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010 (Knopf, 2012)

Dawn Potter ~ How the Crimes Happened (Cavankerry, 2010)

Susan Rich ~ Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press, 2014)

Hannah Stephenson ~ In the Kettle, The Shriek (Gold Wake Press, 2013)

Autobiography, Biography, and Memoir

Patricia Albers ~ Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter - A Life (Knopf, 2011)

Gretel Ehrlich ~ Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami (Pantheon, 2013; paperback, Vintage, 2014)

Hali Felt ~ Soundings:  The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor (Henry Holt, 2012; Picador Reprint, 2013)

Adina Hoffman ~ My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet's Life in the Palestinian Century (Yale University Press, 2009)

Kristen Iversen ~ Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (Crown, 2012)

Kay Redfield Jamison ~ Nothing Was the Same (Vintage, 2011)

Gail Levin ~ Lee Krasner: A Biography (William Morrow, 2011)

Molly Peacock ~ The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life at 72 (Bloomsbury, 2010)

Annie Proulx ~ Bird Cloud: A Memoir (Scribner, 2011)

Lauren Redniss ~ Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie - A Tale of Love and Fallout (It Books/Harper Collins, 2010)

Rebecca Solnit ~ The Faraway Nearby (Viking/Penguin, 2013)

Sylvie Simmons ~ I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen (Ecco, 2013) 

Abigail Thomas ~ A Three Dog Life (Harvest/Harcourt, 2006)

Nonfiction (Consider this something of an all-purpose category, as some of the titles below fall into more than one genre.)

Sheri Fink ~ Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown, 2013)

Christine Montross ~ Falling Into the Fire (Penguin, 2013)

Caroline Moorhead ~ A Train in Winter  (Harper, 2011)

Peggy Rosenthal ~ Knit One, Purl a Prayer: A Spirituality of Knitting (Paraclete Press, 2011)

Mary Ruefle ~ Madness, Rack, and Honey (Wave Books, 2012)

Victoria Sweet ~ God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine (Riverhead, 2012; Riverhead Trade Reprint, 2013)

#readwomen2014 on FaceBook


Kathleen said...

Great to see your lists!

And delighted to be in one!

Shaindel Beers said...

So honored to find my name on your reading list! And what a great project! Thank you.