I read an interesting article on The Awl about the lack of female authors being represented in reviews in various publications. The author of the article has decided to no longer review books by men, and to focus on only those written by women. I can understand why she would say that. It’s her choice, and I have no issue with it.
But it makes me look at what I’ve read and reviewed. I have an overwhelmingly male list of books. But why? It wasn’t a conscious decision. It wasn’t even an unconscious decision. When I look at the books I have, I see a lot of fantasy and science fiction, mostly written by men. But my selection process has nothing to do with gender. The very first thing I consider is the blurb on the back cover. Does it interest me? If so, I’ll probably buy it. However, if I see a book by an author I know and like, I will also buy it.
To be fair, if I’d started writing reviews earlier, I’d have far more books reviewed by female authors. I’ve just read them already. In fact, while I was in university, the books I read were mostly by female authors, one in particular. She was probably my first favourite author. Her series stands as one of my favourite all-time series, and she is probably one of my top two favourite authors. Her name is Anne McCaffrey. I fell in love with her Pern series, and although I haven’t read one of her books in quite some time, I will be going back to reread them. Reviews of her books will come. I’ll also mention J. K. Rowling as and Naomi Novik as authors I’ve read several books of. And I’m quite excited to read N. K. Jemisin, Lois McMaster Bujold, Ursula K. Leguin, Octavia Butler, Marion Zimmer Bradley, C. J. Cherryh, Margaret Atwood (Canadian!), Jo Walton (another Canadian), Ann Leckie, Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Janny Wurts, and C. S. Friedman. The list goes on. That’s a lot of books to read. You can also tell my tastes in books by this list: fantasy and science fiction.
So, my list of already reviewed books is heavily male just by chance. However, I’m never going to choose books based on the author’s gender. That’s not important to me. I just want to read a good book.
What do you think? Is there an unfair imbalance? Do you choose books based on the author’s gender? And which female authors of fantasy and science fiction would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.