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500 Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide…

500 Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide (1994)

by Erica Bauermeister, Jesse Larsen, Holly Smith

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
If you've been friends with me for long enough, you know I like lists. A lot. Especially weird ones that I can send my army of you, my lovely bookish fellows, to amp up however you are able. So when I saw this book, I first thought list!, but backed off from the prospect due to the 100 vote limit and my unyielding need for control. Then came the pondering.

There's a singular shame to be felt when considering books written by women. Should a list, award, class or sale, shelf or school, not be solely devoted to works by women, they will be outnumbered ten to one, at the very least. The ones you do have were white, born centuries ago, died young via illness or suicide, and on the whole came into the scene very late when compared to Shakespeare and the like. These days they are a popular target, the J.K. Rowlings who in this day and age still need to hide behind an androcentric moniker, the Suzanne Collins and their overwhelming popularity, the E. L. James and the running gag of, yet again, women and their romance and their pitiful need to get through fiction what they cannot receive in life.

This year was the Year of Reading Women, trending on Twitter and various media platforms, likely met with the usual castigation consisting of gynephobia, rape culture, and death threats, for that's expected on the Internet whenever a woman makes herself heard, didn't you know. I did not participate, for a year is a year and I am in for the long run of popping up when the hashtags are forgotten and the next sex-starved psychopath shoots up a university out of sheer hate for women. I am in for a lifetime of it, if I'm lucky.

For that to occur, I require something bigger than myself. And so, instead of a list, I made a group, each and every entry of this book carefully inputted with two sentences of the respective review of my own choosing. I am a believer in the power of Internet enabled crowdsourcing/crowdoffering, and so I have made a database that consists of the 508 different works termed great by this book, all by different authors. That is a lot of women.

Now, considering the inevitable white heterosexual US-centrism, the statistics are surprising. 35% of the authors are persons of color, nearly 20% of the works were not written in English, but this was created in 1993, and we can do better. So, consider this an open call for submissions: if you feel a work is a great book by a woman, write a review, and send it in. If your favorite has already been chosen, no worries. I aim to have every entry contain at least one review by a fellow Goodreads reviewer. The more, the merrier.

In short, I made a thing. It is a good thing. For it to be a great thing, I need your help. The thing is public, and may be found here: (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/139622-500-great-books-by-women) You don't need to like this review to express interest; I much prefer your participation to your clickety-click.

For those of you who do not identify as women, you are welcome as well. Simply keep in mind that my gynephobia radar is exquisitely honed and, in this group, I reign supreme.

Now, the true moment you have all been reading for: the works I added because of this book.

(I am not changing the html from GR to LT for this many books, so you may see the list here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit/1503057)

See you there. ( )
  Korrick | Aug 29, 2014 |
This is a fine collection of recommendations of works by women authors. I truly enjoyed this. My only complaint would be that I have quite a few titles added to my wishlist! Now to track them all down... ( )
  VirtualWord | Oct 20, 2011 |
Was hoping for an updated version . I've read about 50 of the 500 and look forward to discovering many more. Like the index divisions and the variety of writers represented ( )
  bibefile | May 18, 2010 |
Like the title says: 500 books written by women, organized into categories like Art, Mothers and Mothering, Conflicting Cultures, and Work (21 categories in total). The types of books recommended are delightfully varied: novels, short stories, essays, memoir, spanning time and location. An effort is made to include minority authors as well as lesser known works by great authors although many standards are included. The reviews are trenchant and meaty, summarizing the plot and the reason for inclusion in the chapter. One of the criteria for inclusion in this book was availability--the authors only recommended books that were in-print when this book was published (1994). Sadly, 10 years later, many of these books are out-of-print and difficult to find--my one complaint. There are nice indices included that sort the books into other categories: date, genre, region, even sexuality or race. Unfortunately, it does not appear this volume will be updated and reissued, but even now, it is a lovely resource for someone looking for a good book. ( )
  unabridgedchick | Mar 31, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erica Bauermeisterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Larsen, Jessemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Hollymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140175903, Paperback)

An indispensable and extremely well-organized treasure map to literature by women. Contains brief reviews of 500 books by women, and seven cross-referenced indexes to identify books by author, title, genre, topic, and even country of book content. Highly recommended!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:57 -0400)

Often poorly represented in buyers' guides, women's books are now covered in this articulate and intentionally eclectic reader's guide. Covering a wealth of remarkable novels, narratives, biographies, and more, this resource for general readers offers more than 500 entries--capturing the flavor of each book. Includes seven cross-referenced indexes.… (more)

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