I keep a list of books I read, so I looked at my tallies for this year. So far, in 2014, I have read 18 books and only four have been by women. That surprised me; thus, I decided to take a look at what I read last year.
In 2013, I read 209 books. I read a lot of different kinds of books, so included in that list are novels, literary nonfiction, nature writing, memoir, poetry, and young adult books. Out of 209 books, 126 books were written by women. To break these numbers down even further, 25 of these books by women were novels, 21 were poetry collections (both chapbooks and full-length collections), and 47 were young adult novels (YA novels are my guilty pleasures). The remaining books were memoir, nature writing, and history. So yes, I read a lot of books by women.
However, what I did notice was that while I read a lot of poetry books by women, I don't read a lot of nature books (books that are comprised by individual essays about nature or book length scientific studies) by women. Since I am trying my hand at nature writing/personal essays, I am realizing that I simply need to read more women writers who are exploring this genre.
For more information about this challenge, see Kathleen Kirk's latest blog post.