Reading Lists.

TalkReading Books by Women

Join LibraryThing to post.

Reading Lists.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

1Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 17, 2014, 10:07pm

So, for those who need a bit of hand-holding on the topic of what may be worth reading (meaning me), are there any lists of recommended authors/titles that might help for people looking to make a concerted push to read more books written by women?

So far I've got 50 Books by Women Authors to Read for #ReadWomen2014

500 Great Books by Women (Thanks, Sturlington).

And parts of Rachel Holmes' Top 10 Feminist Books.

Anything else that might be good to look through?

2Jesse_wiedinmyer
Edited: Jun 17, 2014, 10:36pm

I may regret this, but...

Edit - And regret it I did. Is it possible to resize images when posting them as images?

Here's the list of authors from the back of the Carte Du Voeux

3Morphidae
Jun 18, 2014, 9:01am

Feminista's 100 Best Works of Women in the 20th Century

http://www.thebookescape.com/Feminista.html

That's the best list I could find online. I also have it on a spreadsheet. It was created in 1998.

5Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 18, 2014, 10:21am

>3 Morphidae: Thanks, Morphidae.

>4 kgriffith: I tried a variant on that, but... I'll try that.

6Jesse_wiedinmyer
Edited: Jun 18, 2014, 10:24am

7Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 18, 2014, 10:25am

Sweet. Thanks, GF.

8nohrt4me2
Jun 20, 2014, 1:21pm

Reading within a time period, region, or genre allows you to see some uber themes emerging that you won't see if you're just "dipping," as, sadly, I usually do.

Usually if you google it, you can get a list. For example, I keyed in "women novelists southern gothic" and put together this list:

Dorothy Allison
Harper Lee
Carson McCullers
Cherie Priest
Flannery O'Connor
Anne Rice (Feast of All Saints, The Witching Hour)
Eudora Welty

Looks like you could have some fun with those writers.

Geez, maybe there should be an entire group devoted to creating these types of lists for people who want more structure in their approach to reading.

9LolaWalser
Jun 20, 2014, 2:12pm

>6 Jesse_wiedinmyer:

Impressive!

>8 nohrt4me2:

On LT, I suppose tagmashes could generate any number of interesting lists.

For example, a tagmash of "women, horror":

https://www.librarything.com/tag/horror,+women

10nohrt4me2
Jun 20, 2014, 2:47pm

I don't know how to do tagmash, but it sounds interesting.

11LolaWalser
Edited: Jun 20, 2014, 3:02pm

Yeah, it's not as straightforward as it might be... the way I do it... enter the terms you want in the search box, up in the right corner, click search symbol--then click on "Tags", in the column on the left--THEN you'll see a clickable link saying "See a tagmash of (whatever terms you used)".

12sturlington
Jun 20, 2014, 3:08pm

>8 nohrt4me2: You should make a LibraryThing list of women southern gothic novelists. I like several of those writers, would like to read more in that vein.

13sparemethecensor
Jun 20, 2014, 3:55pm

>12 sturlington: Ditto, I'd be very interested in a southern gothic women's list.

14Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 20, 2014, 3:57pm

Dorothy Allison
Harper Lee
Carson McCullers
Cherie Priest
Flannery O'Connor
Anne Rice (Feast of All Saints, The Witching Hour)
Eudora Welty


Well, Cherie Priest is a new one for me...

Speaking of tagmashing, didn't that used to be a much more straightforward process?

15nohrt4me2
Jun 20, 2014, 5:23pm

>11 LolaWalser: Thanks! Looks like someone has to have made the tagmash before one will come up. I tried "women, gothic" and got the message that no one has made that mash.

>13 sparemethecensor: That's my list (such as it is), working off GoodReads, google and Wikipedia.

GoodReads throws in Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Not sure about Toni Morrison; "Beloved" is Southern Gothic, but that's not her main genre.

Charlaine Harris? I don't know. I'd put her in a list of "Women Writers I Wouldn't Read More of if You Paid Me To" along with Jan Karon of the Mitford series, Stephenie Meyer, and others I'll refrain from mentioning for fear of starting fights (all of whom I have read, so feel I can dis from experience, not hearsay).

16sturlington
Edited: Jun 20, 2014, 5:37pm

>15 nohrt4me2: Yeah, I read Boneshaker, which does not have a Southern setting and is an alt-history steampunk with zombies, so I'm not eager to read more of her work. I would say Swamplandia! fits and I've heard Russell's short stories are better, but I haven't read any yet.

I'm trying to think of other Southern gothic women writers, but can only come up with Poppy Z. Brite. I don't know if she's even written anything lately. Her books are similar to Anne Rice. Also Donna Tartt's The Little Friend fits, although I personally didn't care for it as much as her other novels, which do not have Southern settings.

It seems like the list of authors may be short, but many of them (except perhaps Rice) are well worth reading. I haven't read any Welty yet, but she is on my TBR.

ETA Also seems like Kami Garcia would fit, but I haven't read her and her books are tagged YA.

17Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 20, 2014, 5:35pm

I'd put her in a list of "Women Writers I Wouldn't Read More of if You Paid Me To" along with Jan Karon of the Mitford series, Stephenie Meyer, and others I'll refrain from mentioning for fear of starting fights (all of whom I have read, so feel I can dis from experience, not hearsay).

I know that one... Well, I don't know Cherie Priest or Charlaine Harris, but I have a copy of 50 Shades of Grey sitting in my room at the moment that I'm dreading going beyond the second page on (as far as I've gotten, but...) I was once called out for not having even read a book I was trashing, which is a pretty legitimate criticism, so I will occasionally spend a night running through something that I end up being mocked for reading. Twilight? I've got the first two books under my belt. Not sure I want to go any further, but I ended up buying the 17 year old clerk at my local used store a copy of Backlash after she started raving about Twilight. I think I saw it on the shelf the next time I went in, so...

I'm at least fortunate enough that the copy of 50 Shades that I have is just a loaner from the same bookstore, so I didn't shell anything out for it.

18sturlington
Jun 20, 2014, 5:46pm

OK, I can't resist making a list, so I made a quick one based on the tag "Southern gothic". It's got both men and women on it but it should be a quick reference at least to what folks on LT consider to be in the genre: http://www.librarything.com/list/9705/all/Southern-Gothic-Novels

19nohrt4me2
Jun 20, 2014, 6:07pm

>17 Jesse_wiedinmyer: I try to stay away from putting erotica by women on any list because it all gets very fraught and personal, and somebody's going to shame you for finding certain things hot or not ... or for reading erotica at all because it's exploitative by nature.

Plus, I'm 60, and nobody wants to talk with older people about sex. It's as if once you're past menopause, you know nothing about it and you become asexual or revirginated or something.

ANYway, 50 Shades of Gray has been criticized for being among the most laughably written erotica of all time, and, having read the Daily Beast's 14 naughtiest bits, I'd have to concur:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/16/50-shades-of-grey-speed-read-14...

20LolaWalser
Jun 20, 2014, 7:36pm

>15 nohrt4me2:

Hmm, I just tried it (procedure as I described) and it worked:

http://www.librarything.com/tag/gothic,+women

Does anyone know of a simpler way to tagmash? Or has a direct link to "Tags"?

>19 nohrt4me2:

revirginated

Ha!

21Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 20, 2014, 7:43pm

If this...

http://www.librarything.com/tag/gothic,+women

is the page that your tag search directs you to, you could probably just enter it directly as an URL or whatever the hell those things are called.

22LolaWalser
Jun 20, 2014, 7:51pm

Well, you could just bookmark it--I mean ANY page with a tagmash--and just use the search box on it--upper right hand corner, where it says "Try another tagmash?"

Odd though that there isn't a blank starting tagmash page. (IF there isn't one--I couldn't find it).

23Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 20, 2014, 7:57pm

You can just direct enter on the url, though I'm not sure how they handle multiple word tags (I'd assume that "19th century female authors" would just be parsed without the spaces, but...)

And I do seem to recall that there used to be a direct tag mash feature somewhere. Or a very simple workaround like separating the tags you wanted to mash by commas when doing the initial search.

24LolaWalser
Jun 20, 2014, 8:13pm

>23 Jesse_wiedinmyer:

Look, I know how to tagmash. I was asking whether anyone knows a simple way of doing it for the benefit of those who do not.

25Jesse_wiedinmyer
Edited: Jun 20, 2014, 8:19pm

My apologies...

26LolaWalser
Jun 20, 2014, 8:31pm

Oh, no problem! Just explaining why I'm still asking. :)

27southernbooklady
Jun 20, 2014, 8:34pm

>14 Jesse_wiedinmyer: Dorothy Allison
Harper Lee


Sharyn McCrumb would probably fit the Southern Gothic label. She leans a little more toward the Anne Rice end of the scale than the Flannery O'Oconnor, but all the elements are there in her "Ballad" books.

28nohrt4me2
Jun 20, 2014, 10:03pm

>20 LolaWalser: Some of the functions on here strike me as quite fiddly. A good deal of the time, I stumble onto things and then can't find my way back.

>27 southernbooklady: McCrumb is off my radar, but I might try her. I have to read Southern gothic in the winter time. Trying to read that stuff even up here in Michigan gives me that sultry, no-air-moving, low pressure feeling, like the doom before a bad thunderstorm.

29southernbooklady
Jun 21, 2014, 7:49am

>28 nohrt4me2: McCrumb is off my radar, but I might try her.

Rosewood Casket is the one I think of as most "gothic." But it's Appalachia, not Lowcountry or Delta, so ... a different "atmosphere" altogether. Different kind of South, really.

30kgriffith
Jun 24, 2014, 12:06am

>19 nohrt4me2: Plus, I'm 60, and nobody wants to talk with older people about sex. It's as if once you're past menopause, you know nothing about it and you become asexual or revirginated or something.
This is a topic I've talked a lot about with a few of my closer friends, one of whom just finished her grad program with a human sexuality and social work dual major. She actively pursued work with seniors in the LGBT community to learn about their specific needs around healthcare, safe housing and support, and communication with their families. The infantilization and desexualization (unsexualization? reflowering?) of seniors is a pervasive issue; it's amazing to me how many people - and not even just 20-somethings who are leaving college and heading out into the "real world" for the first time, but people in their late 30s and early 40s - seem to believe in death after menopause, let alone retirement or later.

31nohrt4me2
Edited: Jun 24, 2014, 11:05am

SORRY IN ADVANCE: AGE RANT ALERT

>30 kgriffith: Oh, I think the attitude is there even among the elderly themselves. Levels of sexual desire can change radically for some people (and I'm talking men, too) after age 50 or 60 for a variety of reasons. But women come in for the most pressure to stay cute and skinny, i.e., as young looking as possible.

AARP's magazine is constantly trying to celebrate age while shoving beauty tips at women that ramp up the pressure on them to stay young-looking. Men with gray hair and crow's feet, and maybe some extra pounds--that carries a cachet that it doesn't have for women.

A few of the stories in Olive Kitteridge address this. In one, a couple becomes sexually incompatible when the wife abruptly decides she's "done" with sex. She isn't treated particularly sympathetically, the husband seems clueless about how to communicate with her, and he finds someone else but feels guilty about it. In another story, sex between an older couple is treated more sympathetically.

Ursula LeGuin has a lovely story in her The Compass Rose collection about an older wife who loses her husband with whom she is still clearly in love.

In Maddaddam, Toby, a middle-aged woman, has a lover she is constantly worried will stray to the younger women. The life experience of older women in the book is celebrated, but Toby's sexual insecurity is one of the major stressors in her post-apocalyptic life.

Pearl Buck, in Pavilion of Women, wrote about a traditional Chinese wife who turns 40, finds her husband a concubine, and goes to live apart from him, only to find that this tradition is cruel and sad for both of them.

The movie Ladies in Lavender very sensitively looks at an older woman who falls in love with a young man and how that plays out. Clearly there is desire on her part (Judy Dench gives it dignity and restraint), but the young man sees her merely as a kindly mother figure.

I wish books by women explored aging, love and sexuality more.

Kudos to your friend for being sensitive to sexuality of the aging and to you for even talking about it with your buddies.

(Edited for typos, cuz I make mistakes on a rant ...)

32kgriffith
Jun 24, 2014, 12:06pm

>31 nohrt4me2: This brings up an interesting point - female writers age just like the rest of us, so is it that those who write about love and sexuality earlier in life change up their stories later in life? Is it because of their experience changing and thus their focus, or is it because, like an aging actress, she gets phased out, or - worse? - her books become "issue" books around aging?

33LolaWalser
Jun 24, 2014, 1:04pm

The general impression one gets from the media is that women over forty might as well be dead. Might have some use in domestic service as mommies and grannies but nothing much beyond that.

34sturlington
Jun 24, 2014, 1:36pm

>33 LolaWalser: Since I am now over 40, I'm taking that as license to stop worrying about my weight, eat what I want, wear what I want, drink when I want, say what I think, write what I feel, and basically no longer give a **** what other people think!

35nohrt4me2
Jun 24, 2014, 3:02pm

I think my main point is that women are allowed to be considered sexual beings as long as they look young and sexy.

This starts to run into a lot of time and money.

>32 kgriffith: Interesting question. You're a librarian and probably see bigger range of women writers than the rest of us. What do you think?

36sweetiegherkin
Jun 29, 2014, 10:06am

Wow, the whole tagmash thing is news to me. Barring an easier way for now, I'm just going bookmark the results of one so I could always go to that for the "want to try another tagmash?" search. I'm also embarrassed to say that I didn't notice that the search box within a library catalog gave you options such as tags. That makes life so much easier; before I was going to a profile, clicking on all tags, and then clicking on the tag in question. You learn something new every day!

Someone mentioned the last two books of the Twilight series and whether she would finish them or not. I listened to the series as audiobooks I got from the library or else I probably would not have made it through them all. They were starting to all blend together in my head so I looked up my ratings and reviews. I gave the third book Eclipse a one and a half star rating and had a pretty rant-y review of it. The fourth book I recalled that I absolutely hated the beginning of it, felt it was worth like a half star rating, but the second half pulled it together enough that I ended up giving it a full four stars. My review explains this all a little more. So, yeah, I definitely wouldn't recommend running out and buying them both up, but if you're like me and feel like you *have* to finish something you started ... well then, I guess there really isn't much of choice left but to read them.

Regarding the discussion about women authors writing about female aging and sexuality, etc., I thought Major Pettigrew's Last Stand would be a good example of this and was looking forward to it when my book club selected it, but for starter's it's told from the male perspective despite being written by a woman. I also just never really could get into that book. I believe the book Back When We Were Grownups also touched upon these issues, but I read it quite some time ago and don't recall it well. (I do recall that I only liked it so-so, so perhaps it's not the best example anyway.) I *believe* one of the short stories in Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula Le Guin is about an older woman who falls in love with someone who was considered a lifelong enemy of her tribe, but I do not 100% recall that now either. For instance, I can't really recall how old she was - I believe she was a widow, but that doesn't really mean anything in terms of age. Nothing else comes to mind immediately.

37Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 29, 2014, 11:28am

Someone mentioned the last two books of the Twilight series and whether she would finish them or not. I listened to the series as audiobooks I got from the library or else I probably would not have made it through them all. They were starting to all blend together in my head so I looked up my ratings and reviews. I gave the third book Eclipse a one and a half star rating and had a pretty rant-y review of it. The fourth book I recalled that I absolutely hated the beginning of it, felt it was worth like a half star rating, but the second half pulled it together enough that I ended up giving it a full four stars. My review explains this all a little more. So, yeah, I definitely wouldn't recommend running out and buying them both up, but if you're like me and feel like you *have* to finish something you started ... well then, I guess there really isn't much of choice left but to read them.

I haven't made it past the second one, but I found the first two sort of disturbing. I'm sort of mixed on whether or not I'll finish the series, but they at least have the fact that they're relatively easy reads going for them if I choose to. I dunno, though. Meyer's whole paradigm that she uses for relationships and the like just strikes me as pretty off.

39sweetiegherkin
Jun 29, 2014, 5:59pm

> 37 Yes, they are relatively easy and quick reads, even despite the length. But, yes, I agree with your objections and felt them very much so myself. The series was one of the rare ones where I definitely read a lot more for plot than character - although I did like the back stories for how the various vampires ended up becoming so.

40sweetiegherkin
Jun 29, 2014, 6:05pm

> 38 Thanks for sharing. I am now enchanted with your blog and your snarky sense of humor. :)

41jnwelch
Jun 29, 2014, 6:35pm

Here's a good list of top women science fiction writers, with notable additions in the comments, like Mary Doria Russell: http://forbookssake.net/2013/05/08/top-women-science-fiction-writers/

42nohrt4me2
Jun 29, 2014, 7:13pm

>39 sweetiegherkin: Geez, now I'm going to have to update the blog with the 90 books I still have to record over there, but glad you enjoyed the reviews.

I didn't mean it to be too snarky. Meyer made some good starts at being more substantive in those books, but, sadly, squandered them.

43sparemethecensor
Jun 30, 2014, 10:14am

I had such a problem with the role of women in Twilight... I grew up in a predominantly Mormon area in AZ just a city away from where Stephenie Meyer is from (I am not Mormon) and all I saw in her books was Mormon propaganda. I could only read the first one. Every hallmark of a sexist, even abusive relationship is romanticized in Twilight. It's frightening how many people fell hook, line, and sinker for what is NOT a normal relationship.

44nohrt4me2
Jun 30, 2014, 10:19am

>43 sparemethecensor: I don't know how any relationship with the Undead could be normal ...

45Jesse_wiedinmyer
Jun 30, 2014, 10:21am

Every hallmark of a(n) abusive relationship is romanticized in Twilight

THAT.

46Twistedwix
Jun 30, 2014, 10:34am

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)


New release, New Female Author.....Pamela Murdaugh Smith

"G.G.S, a Biker Saga - Book 1"

Check her out at www.ggshc.webs.com, then follow the link to read the first couple of chapters free!

The book is available both in print and Kindle editions