Heyyyy, this year I decided also to outline what I might read for the Reading Women challenge. I tend to complete that challenge most years, too, but rarely write about it. I don’t know why, especially considering how hard I try to amplify women’s voices, work, and literature. Probably it’s because many of the tasks here overlap a little with the Book Riot Read Harder challenge so I don’t focus a lot on this one in its own right. Here’s what I’m thinking of. Where possible, of course, I am going to overlap with the Read Harder tasks. Every book listed is written by a woman, which makes sense because it’s the Reading Women Challenge.
An Author from Eastern Europe: Maybe Seeing People Off by Jana Beňová. Or There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Eastern European literature seems really fucking long, depressing, and boring from what I can tell. These two seem tolerable. There is a reason I’ve never read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, or The Brothers Karamazov. Is it just because it’s frigid winter for like 10 months out of the year there? Is there not enough vodka? Too much vodka? I mean, FFS, I could hardly get through The Death of Ivan Ilyich and that wasn’t too bad, relatively speaking. But by the end of it, I wanted to swim in a barrel of vodka. Is vodka made in barrels? Whatever the fuck it’s made in, I wanted to swim in it.
A Book About Incarceration: Affinity by Sarah Waters! That should be awesome. Sarah Waters is awesome.
A Cookbook by a Woman of Color: Caribbean Potluck by Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau. I will need to track down a Caribbean restaurant near me so I can also eat all the food.
A Book with a Protagonist Older than 50: Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman. I love Alice Hoffman.
A Book by a South American Author in Translation: Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac.
Reread a Favorite Book: Jeez. So many could go here.
A Memoir by an Indigenous, First Nations, Native, or Aboriginal Woman: Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot. This has been on my radar forever.
A Book by a Neurodivergent Author: Maybe Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis (autism) or All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Sensory Integration Disorder). I think I own the Anders book, so probably I’ll read that.
A Crime Novel or Thriller in Translation: The Vegetarian by Han Kang. I don’t know how this is really a crime novel, but it is listed as such on the Pan Macmillan site (Our Favourite Crime Novels in Translation) and I’ve had it for ages, so I’m gonna go with that.
A Young Adult Novel by a Latinx Author: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.
A Poetry Collection by a Black Woman: Audre Lord seems popular, so I will try her writing. Or There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker.
A Book with a Biracial Protagonist: Caucasia by Danzy Senna. Probably there are a ton of books I will read that can cover this one, but on the off chance none of them do, I will try this one.
A Muslim Middle-Grade Novel: Shooting Kabul by NH Senzai. I got this for my daughter a while back because I wanted to read it.
A Book Featuring a Queer Love Story: Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
About a Woman in Politics: The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney, or maybe Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. Or, because she’s fucking awesome, The Truths We Hold by Madam Vice President Kamala Harris!
A Book with a Cover Designed by a Woman: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (cover design by Abby Weintraub).
A Fantasy Novel by an Asian Author: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong because I own it, but OMG there are so many I want to read!
A Short Story Collection by a Caribbean Author: The Pain Tree by Olive Senior seems like a great collection.
A Book by Alexis Wright (Waanyi Aboriginal): The Swan Book
A Book by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwean): Nervous Conditions
A Book by Leila Aboulela (Sundanese): The Translator
A Book by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese): The Memory Police sounds awesome.