In 2014, Anne Thériault challenged men to read more books by women.
Men aren’t encouraged to read books by women because on some level we don’t believe that those books were written for men. And yet no one ever questions why women would read books by men. It’s just taken as a given that books by men are the gold standard, and that everyone, no matter what their gender, should read them. -Anne Thériault
It made me take note of where I spend my literary money and time. Thanks to Good Reads, I can see that female authors took up a good chunk of space on my 2014 list. So while it wasn't a huge leap for me to dedicate 2015 to creative women, it was a satisfying one.
Guys, don’t be that guy. Read (and review, if that’s your bag!) books by women. If you consider yourself to be in any way an advocate for gender equality, then let that equality extend to the media you consume. Because women’s voices won’t get any louder if men aren’t helping to amplify them. -Anne Thériault
Of the books I read this year, here are my five faves.
Meet You There by Jessica Wallace
I dig a book that goes behind the scenes with its characters. One that zooms in on the layers and tough work of being human with other humans.
Meet You There is about fucking up, moving through trauma, fucking up a little more, self-forgiveness, and boundary setting. It's about finding a way to let our pain and uncertainty shape us without taking over.
This book was a big, fat hug. It reminded me to choose compassion and kindness over judgment. That our stories connect us and make us human. And that showing up for the people I love is the best and often only thing I can offer.
I almost never read a book more than once. I'll be reading this for a third time in 2016 for sure-zies.
The Rewind Files by Claire Willett
OMG this book is the funnest.
Badass, sassy, loveable, smart-as-hell female lead, anti-racism, familial bonds, friendship, time travel, un-boring history lessons, and brilliant writing. What else could a reader ask for? A good giggle? All the feels? Check and check!
Seriously. Read it before it hits theatres. Because it will, you guys.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
From my Good Reads review:
White friends, put Kindred by Octavia Butler on your reading list. I can't put it down. It's teaching me, breaking my heart, and making me a better ally.
I'm not normally a sci-fi fan, but this is the second time travel book on this tiny list of mine. It's the second time travel book that might make it into my fave books of all time.
Kindred takes us (and the main character) back in time to life in the antebellum South. It's an uncomfortable, educational, important read. Heart and eye opening. Send it to the front of your list. Start it today. It will change you.
I need more Octavia Butler in my life. We all do.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
OMG A THIRD TIME TRAVEL BOOK. I guess I am into sci-fi. Trippy. I may need to re-write my bio on all the socials.
This book planted a warm fire in my heart that grew and grew and grew and still burns. Rainbow Rowell is masterful at character development and dialogue. Her books are all beautifully paced (I've read them all and you should, too), fun, relatable, and emotionally rewarding. If you've been in any kind of relationship, this book will make your heart sing ballads.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Ohai again, Rainbow.
Oh my sweet young people finding your way and falling in love. How my heart remembers and aches and cheers for you.
My 13-year-old daughter read this first. And now we're both goonie for school bus romance. "A touching tale of two misfits who find where they fit is together."
More wonderfully relatable characters that stay with you, on-point dialogue, and true-to-life circumstance. This is a writer who remembers what it's like to be a teenager, you guys.
Yes. Just, yes.
Honourable mentions tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay Untamed State by Roxanne Gay The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender In the Woods (and the whole series) by Tana French
In 2016 I'll seek out (more) women, authors of colour, and queer writers. This list seems like a most excellent place to start. If you have suggestions, tweet 'em @shannonfisher!