Now With More Ladies

Hello, readers!

When I was younger, I very much had a reading comfort zone: I read sci-fi and fantasy books (I still do). Mostly ones that my father loaned me off his thousand-book-filled shelves in the basement. And as a twelve-year-old girl working my way through Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien and their cohorts in otherworldly adventures, I grew increasingly annoyed that there weren’t any books like that written by girls. Sure, these books were good. Classic, even! They were thought-provoking and fun, with interesting heroes; but that was the thing: they were heroes. Not heroines.

(Don’t worry, reader: my sister eventually discovered the Pern books by Anne McCaffery and I found A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin, and Harry Potter happened to us, but even those were mostly still about boys, even if they were written by women.)

This isn’t a new story; most girls who grew up with me had the same problem, and a lot of them have made blog posts and written articles to much the same effect. And we’ve all branched out and found new authors, women authors (authoresses?) who have made an impact since the early days of Asimov and Bradbury and Tolkien and Eddings. But every time March–Women’s History Month–rolls around, I end up thinking about my own history, and my reading history in particular, and I find the need to step up my game.

So, in an effort to counteract the overwhelming amount of books by men that I read in my youth, I’ve started a new tradition: starting this year, I’m taking Women’s History Month to only read books written by women. Thankfully, this is a much easier goal to accomplish now than it would have been when I was twelve; there’s been a steady outpouring of genre books written by ladies in recent years. And it’s been so heartening to see that and to know that girls who are twelve today might still want to read Eddings and Bradbury, but they can also fill their shelves with Maggie Stiefvater and Katherine Arden, Alexandra Bracken and Ann Leckie.

So, if you want to join me in this challenge, I offer some suggestions from me and other staff members for very excellent books that just so happen to be written by ladies.

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Midnight Robber, by Nalo Hopkinson: a colorful and wild ride through Carnival-inspired folklore-come-to-life mysteries and adventures.

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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia McKillip: a classic tale of magic and magical creatures.

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When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan: a not-so-distant future story about a girl dealing with her worldview turning inside-out.

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Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie: a refreshing science-fiction trilogy opener about a spaceship and her captain.

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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, by Sun-Mi Hwang: a “Korean Charlotte’s Web”, a story about freedom in the style of a classic tale.

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The Bloodbound, by Erin Lindsey: all the trappings of classic fantasy–magic weapons, a country under seige, kings and their bodyguards–with a fantastically refreshing style.

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Her Body and Other Parties, by Carmen Maria Machado: a collection of short stories that blur the lines between fantasty, sci-fi, horror, fairy tale…take your pick. It’s all of them.

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The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken: the best of the teen dystopia subgenre, with interesting magic and a main character too real and heartwrenching not to love.

And of course:

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo: because no list made for Women’s History Month should ever be completed without a little bit of Wonder Woman thrown in for good measure!

Happy reading!

~Megan

 

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