Reading more diverse fiction

Recently I spotted this tweet by V.E. Schwab.

I had a look at the article. ONE series out of the ten was written by a woman. ONE. I can see where Schwab is coming from.

My first thought was that I don’t look at the author’s gender when choosing a book to read, so I can’t be biased.

Can I?

I checked my goodreads books. From the 43 books I’ve read this year, 18 of the 43 are by women authors. It’s better than the one in ten from that article, but I want to do better. I’m currently reading NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season (which is just stunning), taking it up to 19/44.

In my favourite genres (sci-fi, fantasy and crime fiction), it feels like there’s an awful lot of books by guys.

Jeannette Ng (author of Under The Pendulum Sun, which is now firmly on my list), said

Generalising terribly, straight white dudes get much more of an advertising push than everyone else (they’ll be more copies stocked, placed more prominently in bookstores, etc), so making an effort to seek out other authors is just counteracting that, in my mind.

If the guys get the advertising push, you’re more likely to notice them. They’re being marketed as the default, so you’re naturally more likely to pick them up. And the publishers see that you’re buying books by men (and usually straight white dudes) and think ‘ooh, people like this! We must have more!’

(yes, #notallpublishers, I know)

So, by choosing to read more books by women, books by people of colour, books by minority authors, it’s saying to publishers that we want *more* books from people like that. Let’s broaden our horizons, folks.

Of course, I’m not saying that I’ll never read a book by a straight white guy again (seriously, they’re EVERYWHERE), as some of my favourite authors are just that. But I’ll be making more of a conscious effort to expand my reading.

And maybe find some new favourite authors.

So I put out a call on twitter for recommendations for my list.

And the book recs rolled in. I’ve compiled them here, for my benefit and yours. Apologies if I’ve missed any – I’m always up for more recommendations in the comments too!

Some authors I’ve already read (or am currently reading):
Claire North (HUGE fan), Martha Wells (Murderbot Diaries), V.E. Schwab (Vicious and Vengeful are superb)

Several books/authors were recommended by several people:

  • Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler
  • Kameron Hurley (Bell Dame Apocrypha)
  • Seanan McGuire (as Mira Grant)
  • KB Wagers space opera series
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Aliette de Bodard
  • Catherynne M. Valente

Also recommended:

  • Cassandra Khaw
  • TJ Berry (Space Unicorn Blues)
  • Nicky Drayden
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Elizabeth Moon
  • JY Yang
  • Marie Brennan (Lady Trent)
  • Madeline Ashby (Company Town)
  • Delilah S. Dawson
  • Mur Lafferty (Six Wakes)
  • Spare and Found parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
  • @RoanhorseBex
  • The Reader and The Speaker by Traci Chee
  • Ana Mardoll
  • Emma Newman
  • Kameron Hurley
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Gail Carriger
  • Cherie Priest
  • Ada Palmer
  • Delilah S Dawson
  • Anne Leckie
  • Emma Newman
  • Kate Milford
  • Fran Wilde
  • Jeannette Ng
  • Clockwork Boys and also Wonder Engines by T Kingfisher
  • @meganeabbott
  • @MegGardiner1
  • @LauraMLippman
  • @KathyReichs
  • @GearBooks

Should keep me going for a while… Who’s with me?

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

9 thoughts on “Reading more diverse fiction”

  1. Have you read City of Lies by Sam Hawke, The Power by Naomi Alderman, or Suicide Club by Rachel Heng? Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of these. I also read A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan recently – one of those on your list – and really enjoyed it. Kindred is also brilliant.

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