In 2014 a twitter campaign was set up to read books by women only for the year of 2014. I decided to be part of this. I’ve always enjoyed and been interested in women’s fiction and thought this would be an interesting way to spend my reading year.
It was! I followed the Read Women twitter account and shared what I was reading and got inspiration for other books to read from what others were reading. It was a great, supportive community. I was introduced to authors I’d heard of but never read, I read Maya Angelou for the first time, reacquainted myself with Barbara Pym, read my first Kate Atkinson (Life after Life which I loved, I have the follow up on my to read list!) and went back to Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole – a book I’ve read many times at different stages of my life, and got so much from it each time. I also read A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam which was excellent, and about Bangladesh’s fight for independence in the 1970s (I must read the rest of those books!)
When 2014 came to an end I still had many books I’d not got round to reading, so I carried on reading books by women into 2015. I discovered Chimimanda Ngozi Adiche and was bowled over by her writing. I read her Half of a Yellow Sun and learnt so much, this led me to read more about Nigeria so I strayed from my women only rule and read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe which also opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about. I love it that reading takes you on a journey to discover new worlds, and how reading around subjects, deepens your understanding of the world and the people around you.
I still mainly read books by women, and have had a rich experience of reading over the last few years, which has opened my eyes to new cultures and lives around the world. In the coming year I am going to try and read books by authors who are not straight white men, I have nothing against straight white men (my Father is one of them!) but I feel like I know their experience and I’m interested in finding out about a new perspective for 2017.