I got a Scrabble mug for Christmas with W on it.

is for Women.

Are you really surprised by this? I research and write about women interpreters of the Bible, of course W is for Women. It only makes sense.

In the novel Unless, by the brilliant Carol Shields, the main character is a feminist who becomes more aware as the novel progresses how many feminist battles are still being fought. One of the character’s particular concerns, the one that jumped out at me when I read the novel the first time, is that books considered Important are often written by men. Where are all the women? Surely some women must have recorded thoughts that are Important in Books. This reflection on the male dominated canon of Books to Read in Unless made me look carefully at the books I read. Are they by both men and women? Is the gender of the author related to the genre of the book? Things that made me go hmmm.

Possession (that book again) is also about genre, writing, and reading from a different angle. The key characters are two twentieth-century academics, one male and one female, researching two nineteenth-century poets, one male and one female. The book contains interesting discussions on gender and reading and writing particularly in an academic setting. Very Interesting.

I’ve noted previously that published reading lists I’ve encountered tend to be male dominated. Has anyone found a reading guide that isn’t? Do tell.

Lots of people I know, women included, inform me that they’d read more books written by women if they existed. Really. Have you looked? Here is a list of some Important Women Who Wrote Ideas Down (available in English) that you should investigate:

Margery Kempe (I’ve mentioned her before)

Julian of Norwich

Elizabeth I

Christine de Pizan

Hildegard of Bingen

Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

The Bluestockings

Hannah Adams

Harriet Martineau

Caroline Cornwallis

That’s a start anyhow, and I’ve barely begun. Check them out. Google them. Find their works on the internet archive. Read Women Writers.


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