A Closer Look at My Reading 2014 Challenge

2014 is a wrap and I’ve completed my Reading Women challenge for the year. Time to look back on what I read and how I can improve the challenge for this year… and right off the bat I can see one HUGE way it can be improved: DIVERSITY.

Of the books I read last year 96 were by female authors and just 11 were by male authors (not including comics.) That totals 10% male and 90% female. Wow!

Here are all the female authors I read last year:

1. J. K. Rowling (2 books)
2. Rachael Urquhart
3. Gillian Flynn
4. Kate Manning
5. Carol Rifka Brunt
6. Margaret Atwood
7. Ann Fessler
8. Sylvia Plath
9. Mindy Kaling
10. Roxane Gay
11. Justine Larbalestier
12. Barbara Goldsmith
13. Susannah Cahalan
14. Amanda Lindhout
15. Sara Corbett
16. Wendy Lawless
17. Jeannette Walls
18. Hillary Rodham Clinton
19. Anne Stevenson
20. Cheryl Strayed
21. Amy Poehler
22. Joanna Russ
23. Joan D. Vinge (3 books)
24. Anne McCaffrey
25. Elizabeth Moon
26. Kari Aguila
27. Joan Slonczewski (2 books)
28. Ann Leckie
29. Pamela Sargent
30. Ursula K. Le Guin (4 books)
31. Kate Wilhelm
32. Jody Scott
33. C. J. Cherryh (3 books)
34. Samantha Shannon
35. Yangsze Choo
36. Audrey Niffenegger
37. Jessica Valenti
38. Emily Matchar
39. Susie Orbach
40. Geraldine Brooks
41. Cordelia Fine
42. Jennifer Finney Boylan
43. Nicola Griffith
44. Sarah Waters
45. Jeanette Winterson
46. G. Willow Wilson (9 comics)
47. Nicole J. Georges
48. Kelly Sue DeConnick
49. Karen Russell
50. Jenny Nordberg
51. Pamela Moore
52. Jane Austen
53. Charlotte Bronte
54. Willa Cather
55. Dodie Smith
56. Helen Oyeyemi
57. Zadie Smith
58. Sarumathi Jayaraman
59. Jhumpa Lahiri
60. Nalo Hopkinson
61. Ruth Ozeki
62. Maya Angelou
63. Toni Morrison
64. Hannah Kent
65. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
66. Malala YouSafzai
67. Marina Nemat
68. Azar Nafisi
69. Rebecca Skloot
70. Marge Piercy
71. Iris Murdoch
72. Amber Dawn
73. Bev Sellars
74. Ashley Little
75. Elissa Washuta
76. Octavia E. Butler
77. Eleanor Catton
78. James Tiptree Jr (Alice Sheldon)
79. George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

Of these 79 women a whopping 47 (59%) are from the USA. 12 (15%) are from the United Kingdom. Just 8 (10%) are from my home country of Canada. And the rest of the world is pretty sadly represented: Australia 3, Nigeria 2, Iran 2, Ireland 1, Jamaica 1, Pakistan 1, Sweden 1, Malaysia 1.

Of these 79 women 77% (!) are Caucasian. That means just 18 (23%) of the female authors I read last year were women of colour… a number that could definitely stand to be improved!

And while a number of authors that I read identify as lesbians or somewhere else on the spectrum, I only read one book by a trans woman all year.

Clearly my goals for 2015 are to include more international authors, as well as women/people of colour and LGBTQIA+ authors. I’ve seen a number of people attempting to read their way around the world (a book from each country) and I’m definitely going to try to incorporate more of that into my challenge this year! I’m also going to stick to my plan of buying less (or zero, if possible) books, and making my way through all of the books I have collected but not yet read.

What are your reading goals for 2015?

2 comments

  1. Great post! I would love to do some type of reading challenge like this, it sounded amazing! So many great authors on your list!

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