A while ago I saw this post by Larry on gender bias in reading. And whilst I can see that he has clearly read enough female writers to put most of us to shame, it made me think about my own reading patterns. Whilst I’d want to read books which seem good and appealing, irrespective of the author’s gender, I was conscious of adding more genre novels written by women to this year’s reading pile – even if I’d read that author before.
Here are a couple of recent reads:
First up was Hope Mirrlees’ Lud-in-the Mist, a quaint, charming tale set in the sleepy town of Lud, and of the casual penetration of fairy fruit from the dreaded Land of Faerie upsetting the status quo. There are some nice subtleties, and casual symbolism, though with a bit of a flat ending, but still worth picking up.
Next was Ursula Le Guin’s award-winning The Dispossessed, which was a cracking read. Following the life of Shevek, a brilliant scientist from the anarchist (in the true, political sense) world of Anarres. This is a far-future tale of fundamental political difference between an exploitative resource-rich capitalist world and a resource-impoverished anarchist one. Very thought provoking, and excellent characterization.
So thanks to Larry for bringing gender bias to mind. Hopefully this year I’ll manage to read some C.L. Moore and Patricia A. McKillip too, but if you have more suggestions (particularly gritty and very stylish prose) then do add them in the comments.