Last week I read an interesting article on The Toast by Lilit Marcus, a woman who made a resolution to only read books written by women in 2013. She published her experience on Flavorwire, and since then it has received a fair amount of interest.
In fact, The Guardian was inspired by her challenge and created the #readwomen2014 project, to shed more light on altering our reading habits to be more inclusive of female authors.
This got me thinking about my own reading choices. Of the 60 books that I have read between 2011 and 2013, 38 were written by women. Chick-lit and romance are two of my favorite genres, so it makes sense that many of my favorite authors–Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, and Julie James–are women.
However, it does get me riled that the majority of what is considered to be the Western canon is dominated by men. We’ve overcome a lot of sexism in the publishing industry, but we still have a long way to go in including women in the curricula of literature courses and recognizing their work in mainstream media.
I like the idea of making a personal reading resolution, and although my only resolution this year is to finish all the books currently sitting on my to-read bookshelf without adding too many to the list, I thought that I would add some alternative challenges in case you felt adventurous!
Besides reading only women in 2014, here’s ten other options:
- Read only books written by people of color (or to get specific, pick one country of origin).
- Read only books written by LGBT authors.
- Read only books published in your birth year.
- Read only books from or about one time period. It could be a particular decade like the 1920s or a historical event like the Revolutionary War.
- Read 26 books, with their titles beginning with one letter of the alphabet (alternative: pick by author’s first or last name instead of titles).
- Read only books of a particular holiday theme, like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
- Read only books with movie adaptations, then watch the movies afterward.
- Read only books from one genre you don’t typically read.
- For American readers, choose book written by an author from each of the 50 states. I recommend John Steinbeck for California!
- Listen instead of read by having an audiobook-only year.
These are just some ideas, but let me know of any others you can think of! It’s always nice to expand your horizons, so get creative this year and commit to a reading challenge!