When I looked back at the books I read in 2011 to come up with my "fave five" and "top ten" lists, I discovered something a tad shameful. While I read more books (novels, novellas, collections, and graphic novels combined) this past year than any year previous, only one fifth of those books were by written or edited by women.
Yeah, only 20% of my reading came from female authors in 2011. Now, I don't go around making distinctions of whether the author has a Y-chromosome or not when I pick up a book to read, any more than I give a damn what color their skin is. I'm only interested in the story. But, when I saw that little statistic I knew what my reading resolution would be heading into 2012.
I do a reading resolution every year for the last five years or so. I've been doing it mainly to challenge myself to read more from genres I wouldn't normally bother with or have been neglecting. So here's what I'm gonna do: This year, it's gonna be even-Steven. For every book I read written or edited by a man, I will read a book written or edited by a woman.
This shouldn't be difficult, and frankly I don't think it's going to be. I've got plenty of books by female authors and editors on my to-be-read pile, plus a ton more on my wish list. The only real difference over the next year is that I will make a conscious effort to read them. Which only spurs the question in mind: why the hell did I read so few books by women last year?
As best I can figure, it has to do with the fact that the number of review requests I received in 2011 were predominantly from guys or people representing guys. I didn't do a tally on that one, but I'd guess it would be a 2:1 ratio.
So there's my 2012 reading resolution. What's yours going to be? Do you even make reading resolutions at New Year's? Lemme tell ya, it's a helluva lot easier to follow through with a reading resolution than it is with those "I'm gonna quit smoking" or "I'm gonna hit the gym" resolutions. If you've got one, leave a comment and share what it is, and if you don't have one, maybe you ought to think up one.