FABClub Challenge 2015

In September I joined a Goodreads group that focuses on reading books by female authors. I decided they were probably a good fit when I looked at their reading challenge for this year and saw that, although I hadn’t known about it, I had already completed three-fourths of the challenge; there were only a few categories for which I had to specifically seek out books, rather than using what I’d read incidentally.

The challenge was to read books by women in various categories, and truthfully, the hardest part for me was deciding which books to put where. At least half of them fit into more than one category, and it was complicated working out which categories should trump others. Books published in 2015 was one I decided should be a trump category, because I don’t usually read that many brand new books, and it’s something I enjoy being able to see. Books by women of color, on the other hand, I specifically didn’t want to be the trump category, because that would make the list look segregated: like books by women of color are a niche rather than the varied works they really are. I’ve also chosen to include not just the one that fills the requirement, but all the books I read in each category—which you might think would make the sorting easier, but somehow totally did not.

1. A work of fiction

A Spy in the House, by Y.S. Lee [crossover: author of color]
Dumpling Days, by Grace Lin [crossover: author of color]
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
The House on the Strand, by Daphne duMaurier
Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto [crossover: author of color, international]


2. A work of nonfiction

The Asian Texans, by Marilyn Dell Brady [crossover: local]
Brave Black Women, by Ruthe Winegarten [crossover: local]
Complete Japanese, by Helen Gilhooly
Cataloguing Without Tears, by Jane Read
Dance, by Andree Grau [crossover: international author]
50 Women Artists You Should Know, by Christiane Weidemann
Rad American Women A-Z, by Kate Schatz
Sisters-In-Law, by Linda Hirshman

3. A collection of poetry

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson [crossover: author of color]

4. A collection of short stories or essays

The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum
You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, by Alice Walker [crossover: author of color]

5. An anthology of all female contributors

Girl Comics, by Colleen Coover et al. [crossover: graphic novel]

6. A biography/memoir

In the Frame, by Helen Mirren
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
Life in Motion, by Misty Copeland [crossover: author of color]
My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor [crossover: author of color]
Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand
Self-Inflicted Wounds, by Aisha Tyler [crossover: author of color]
A Story Lately Told, by Anjelica Huston
Watch Me, by Anjelica Huston
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

 


7. A work of science fiction

Orleans, by Sherri Smith [crossover: author of color]
The Girl in the Road, by Monica Byrne

8. A work of fantasy/supernatural

Catwings, books 1-4, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Transcendence, by C.J. Omololu
The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

9. A book that discusses feminism
Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay [crossover: essays, author of color]

10. A book that discusses race, gender and/or sexuality

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae [crossover: essays, author of color]

11. A book by an openly trans woman author
Redefining Realness, by Janet Mock [crossover: author of color]

12. A book by an openly lesbian author
Skim, by Mariko Tamaki [crossover: author of color, graphic novel]

13. A graphic novel, manga or comic book

Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brogsol [crossover: international author]
August Moon, by Diana Thung [crossover: international author]
The Babysitter’s Club, by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover [crossover: bisexual author]
A Bintel Brief, by Liana Finck
Blue is the Warmest Color, by Julie Maroh [crossover: international author]
Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More, by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight, by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley
Cool Japan Guide, by Abby Denson [crossover: nonfiction]
Friends with Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks
Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton
Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson
Ms. Marvel: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel: Generation Why, by G. Willow Wilson
Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
The Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman, by Gail Simone
Susceptible, by Genevieve Castree [crossover: biography/memoir]
This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki [crossover: author of color]
Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary, by Keshni Kashyap [crossover: author of color]
To Dance, by Siena Cherson Siegel
Tomboy, by Liz Prince [crossover: biography/memoir]
Who Is AC?, by Hope Larson
Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed?, by Liz Prince


14. A book published in 2015

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
First Frost, by Sarah Addison Allen
Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson [crossover: nonfiction]
God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison [crossover: author of color]
The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood [crossover: science fiction]
H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald [crossover: nonfiction]
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein [crossover: biography/memoir]
Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova
The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen [crossover: fantasy]
A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
Step Aside, Pops, by Kate Beaton [crossover: graphic novel]
Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar [crossover: author of color]
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley
Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling [crossover: author of color, biography/memoir]
You’re Never Weird on the Internet, by Felicia Day [crossover: biography/memoir]

15. A book written before 1960

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston [crossover: author of color]
The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith [crossover: bisexual author]

16. 3 works by women of color

Bird, by Crystal Chan
Chasing the Sun, by Natalia Sylvester
Self-Inflicted Wounds, by Aisha Tyler [crossover: biography/memoir]

17. 3 works by international women

Aya, volumes 1-3, by Marguerite Abouet [crossover: author of color, graphic novel]
Honor, by Elif Shafak
I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai [crossover: biography/memoir]

18. A nonfiction work of science or philosophy

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World, by Rachel Swaby

19. A romance novel
Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

20. A book written by a local (to you) author

Love Me Back, by Merritt Tierce (Dallas, Texas)

21. A book published by an independent press

The Age of Dreaming, by Nina Revoyr (Akashic Books) [crossover: author of color]

22. An award-winning book

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor (Newbery Medal 1977) [crossover: author of color]

23. A book written by a female author using a male pseudonym
Silas Marner, by George Eliot [crossover: written before 1960]

Total number of books by women: 90
Total number of books I read this year: 163

Those numbers don’t look great at first glance, but of the remaining 75 that were written by men, 36 were comics or graphic novels, many of which starred outstanding female protagonists—and also, that still leaves me with about 60 percent female authors. That is really not bad.

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