Driven by my love of books and inspired by the completion of my Goodreads challenge, I took upon myself to review the kind of reading I am currently doing and what insights I could glean.
- All the books I read this year except one were non-fiction! [16/17]
- The only fiction book I read was a new take on the Hindu Mythological character Bhima from Mahabharata. It was an interesting perspective, even if not completely in keeping with the original text.
- Less than half of those books were by women [8 of 17]
- Surprisingly, only one book was on parenting. For some reason, I had expected more. 🙂
- These books exclude the children’s books I read to T, despite the fact that most of them were titles or characters I had not read as a kid. Maybe I should add that list!
The point about gender bias in my reading was surprising. If I were to list my favorite authors: Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Barbara Cartland, Julia Quinn, Meg Cabot, Patricia Cornwall, you can find women dominating the list. As an author I am inspired by the women authors who made a difference in society by their work : by just putting it out there and by the strength of their female characters. So, I felt extremely guilty to note that women did not dominate my reading list as well. To assuage my guilt, I looked over last year’s list. Only slightly better: 7 of 13!
Self-help, management and business books are a favorite genre of mine. But, it seem like even lists for women have books by men! I don’t hold the opinion that books by men are not relevant to women, or vice versa. Just that very few books by women are segregated as those for women audience and those for the general public. Books by men are never categorized as being for men or general masses. Intrigued by this thought, and recalling all the conversations I’ve had in the past, I sought out book lists of books by women in the genres of management, business, self-help and career development.
I found many.
I filtered them to books ‘by women + management’, ‘by women + leadership’ and ‘books by women + business’. And that’s where the problems arose. Most lists had at least one book by a male. Grrr!
It seems even Google is stumped by my quest for ‘books by women’ and delivers lists ‘for women’. No! I do not want lists for women. I want books by women in these genres. Trying books by women turned up big lists but these were not particular to business or leadership or management.
I did find a few shining lists:
- Inc.com : This is the one list that comes up frequently. Interesting to note that this article was created by a man! I did dwell on how it takes a man to point this out and carefully curate that list. But then, I realized that it was actually inspiring. Men are committed to equality on all fronts and helping in their own ways! That is heartening!
- Goodreads Business List: A lovely find on Goodreads.
I made up my own list based on books I have read and been recommended. The list of 25 books can be found here. It is not exhaustive, so feel free to add if you find I missed any awesome guide.
I also found two more lists that warrant a glance because they have books by women. But they are imperfect answers to my quest, hence not included in my best match list.
- NonFiction for Women – This list is ostensibly for women in their twenties. I’m not! I turned 31 this month! But, with 135 books, all by women; it’s not hard to find many wonderful titles for inspiration and empowerment. Be warned! A few books on that lists are what my granny would refer to as ‘indiscreet’ or ‘crude’. However, the sheer number of books compelled me to add the link.
- Indian Women Authors: This list is targeted towards women in Indian workforce. So, it does not qualify for a generic audience. But, I am an Indian and some of the titles in this list were recommended highly. I would urge you to use the list as a springboard to find your own region-specific lists or curate one!