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I Am Reading More Books by Women—Intentionally

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/07/i-am-reading-more-books-women-intentionally


Hey Leonard, great article, in fact, I had noticed that about my reading lists, and did something about it, so, accepting your challenge, here are some recomends for you: Carrie Gibson(historian) Astra Taylor(feminist,politics,etc) Barbara Ehrenriech(all kinds of awesome subjects), Joan Didion(fiction, personal, politics), Rachael Carson(ecology, biology, marine life, etc), Natalie Haynes(historian, comedy, etc), Mary Oliver(poetry), plus many more that I cannot recall right this moment. Anyway, have always liked your columns and essays, thanks, hope you check out some of the recomendations, esp. C. Gibson’s Empires Crossroads(think you would like it).Later!!!

  • Emily Brontë
  • Charlotte Brontë
  • Mary Shelley
  • Jane Austen
  • P.L. Travers
  • Agatha Christie
  • Ayn Rand
  • Andre Norton
  • Pearl Buck
  • Harper Lee
  • Madeleine L’Engel
  • Ursula Le Guinn
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Anne Rice
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Jeanne Robinson
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Charlaine Harris
  • Kelley Armstrong

Excuse me? Some kind of unconconscious sexism must be at play if you aren’t reading lots of books by women, is all I can say.

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Angela Davis
Janet Cambell Hale
Ellen Brown
Tilda Long Soldier
Adellle Davis
Boston Women’s Health Book Collective and Judy Norsigian


Great column Mr. Pitts. I have enjoyed your work for years.

Here are a few more women writers, in addition to those that our friends have
listed above:

Hannah Arendt
Martha Gellhorn
Zora Neale Hurston
Molly Ivins
Claudia Johnson
Sharyn McCrumb
Linda Tirado
Barbara Tuchman
Alice Walker.



Such great author recommendations. May I add a few:

Vandana Shiva
Jasmin Darznik
Brenda Peterson
Mary Pipher
Marion Woodman
M.J. Rose
Leilani Birely
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Margaret Craven
Linda Hogan
Jean Shinoda Bolen
Isabel Allende
Barbara Kingsolver
Laura Esquivel
Sarah Addison Allen
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Joy Harjo
Louise Erdrich
Winona LaDuke
Leslie Marmon Silko
Katherena Vermette
Susan Power
I tend to read mostly women and this is just a taste. I can’t imagine reading any other way.


That was actually the central theme of his article. How did you miss that?

Also, what a lilywhite list. Was that some kind of unconscious racism at play?

Also, Ayn Rand? Would you likewise recommend reading Laura Ingraham, Phyllis Schlafly, and Mary Baker Eddy?

When people recommend male authors, it is generally on account of the merit of their ideas or quality of writing, not merely because they have testicles. Lowering the standards for ovarian authors is an even more insidious sort of sexism than the kind Pitts was talking about.

I included Rand not as a recommendation- none of my list was recommendations- but because she is a writer who has had immense impact on modern thinking among many (unfortunately.)

If you didn’t pick up on it, I listed authors not that I think people should read, but authors I can’t understand someone wouldn’t have read seeing how ubiquitous their work is.

As to why those authors are all white? Well, that’s due to out and out institutional racism.

To quote writer Susan Sontag: “Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas”. I listed authors I felt a relationship with and learned something from. I wouldn’t oppose learning something by Rand except sometimes there are unintended consequences. I take it as a good example of that.


The reason to read Rand is to know her views so they can be debunked more effectively.


As did Phyllis Schlafly. And Mary Baker Eddy. (Her cult even became a full-fledged religion.)

“If you didn’t pick up on it, I listed authors not that I think people should read, but authors I can’t understand someone wouldn’t have read seeing how ubiquitous their work is.”

Yeah I did not pick up on that. Some on your list seemed pretty obscure to me. But then, your list also seemed to be weighted towards genres I have little interest in (children’s lit, sci-fi, fantasy). And again, if influential, prolific, and widely-read are your criteria, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter qualify more than some on your list.

“As to why those authors are all white? Well, that’s due to out and out institutional racism.”

Really. Institutional racism is the reason you included someone like Jeanne Robinson (who merely co-authored, with her husband, three science fiction books) and left out someone like Maya Angelou?

When I go to science fiction aisle books stores it seems Jeanne Robinson is always prominently displayed.

Okay, I blew it.

But let me do say I was listing books of prose fiction.

But I blew it and I’ll do all the mea culpas needed.

Thanks for the input.

Sometimes the history and character of the author is as influential as their work. I doubt Alan Greenspan will be at any Ann Coulter events nor will she have a six foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign at her funeral. I don’t see anything wrong with your list.

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For some of us, there are some aspects of being human that we may never be able to fully understand–not because of an unconscious bias against those aspects, but because they are simply inaccessible to us. It’s like how someone who is completely color-blind can come to understand that the world looks different to other people, and yet knowing that does nothing to convey what the sensation of color is actually like. So I can understand Pitts’ interest in exploring whether he’s missing out on a chunk of the human experience, but even if he is, and even if he can somehow detect that he is, it may be that finding that out will not be enough to give him the experience he is missing.

From what I can tell, women seem to be capable of just as broad a range of perspectives and values as men. Is there a uniquely female attribute common to all women in all that noise of diversity, and if so, is it something that they will all incorporate into their writings? Is this attribute connected to genetic gender, physiological gender, or gender identity? If it is not common to all women’s writings, then who is in a position to say which women’s writings have it and which do not? And if this attribute can only be found in women’s writings, then even if Pitts is ever able to detect and apprehend it, he still won’t be able to incorporate or communicate it in his own writing.

He used the principle of information by exclusion. Women make up roughly half the world population, if that presence goes unnoticed and unheard the entire whole has a deficit. Would you exclude Ann Frank because she only wrote one book, not even a book but a published diary? Even if it is just perspective it has value.

I asked an acquaintance that was color blind how he knew when to stop at an intersection when driving (and a few other things) he said, "simple the green light is always at the bottom).