If you don’t live in Toronto, you may have missed the hubbub a couple weeks ago around author and university lecturer David Gilmour, who said in an interview that he doesn’t teach books by women (or Chinese?) because he doesn’t love any books by women. Also that he only teaches the best. It caused QUITE a stir.
I’m not here to respond directly because I’m super late to that party and several competent people already have.
I’m here to talk about me, and books I love, and my reading habits.
I consider myself a feminist. I don’t think men are inherently better writers (or better comedians, musicians or waste collectors – you show ’em Leslie Knope). But I recently wrote a blog post with my top 25 book recommendations for adults, and only four of them were written by women.
Gilmour’s comments didn’t necessarily shock me, but I certainly rolled my eyes and shook my head. Then, after reflection, I felt like a bit of a hypocrite. I wouldn’t make such a sweeping statement sure, but in practice…what does my “top 25 list” say about me? That I generally love books by men as opposed to women? That I love white authors, and not Chinese authors, none of whom appear at all on my list? (In fact as a whole it was pretty ethnically un-diverse.)
I thought about this a lot. And then I went to my Goodreads account, and starting counting out all books I’ve read – love, hate, indifferent. And, maybe not surprisingly, I’ve read (by far) more books by white men than anyone else. So the odds are in their favour.
I want to even the playing field. I don’t believe in loving books by women just because they’re by women. But I do want to give female authors a fair shot at my heart. Same goes for authors of different ethnic backgrounds. And oh look, my last blog project has run its course so I’m in need of something new!
All of this to say: Welcome to “You Aren’t What You Read (But Maybe That’s the Point)” – Andrea’s new blog project in which she will read a book by a woman from each country of the world. I await your suggestions.