In honour of International Women’s Day, we invited some of our authors to tell us why reading books by women is important and to share some of their favourite books by women with us.
Our second featured author is Trudy J. Morgan-Cole. Trudy J. Morgan-Cole is a writer and teacher in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her historical novels include By the Rivers of Brooklyn, That Forgetful Shore, A Sudden Sun and Most Anything You Please. At her day job, she teaches English and social studies to adult learners. She is married and is the mom of two young adults. Trudy’s passion is uncovering and re-imagining the untold stories of women in history.
Trudy J. Morgan-Cole on Reading Women
My answer to the question “why read women?” is really the same as my answer to “why read?” in that I don’t feel “books by women” are a special sub-category of books. If you love books, if you read widely, then you should read and love books by women, which are as varied and diverse as are books by men.
However, with that being said, I realize it’s very easy to fall into ruts with our reading, to only read what’s familiar, what we’ve read before, what gets recommended to us through certain channels. And so, for some readers, that might mean that they’re more likely to read books by men than by women, simply because that’s what they’re used to or what they’ve been exposed to. If you’re not reading many books by women, you’re leaving out a huge chunk of the human experience.
So for anyone who is not already reading a lot of books by women, I would encourage you to diversify your reading. Challenge yourself to find new women writers, new books by women that you might not have discovered if you hadn’t gone looking for them. Adding any kind of diversity to your reading list—whether it’s trying to read more women, more books by writers of colour, more books written in a language other than English, more books by LGBTQ authors, whatever—can only give you a richer reading experience as you get exposed to more perspectives, more views on the world. And that holds true whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction.
When I think of my favourite women writers, I think of a huge variety—some very well-known; some not at all well-known. It’s easier for me to choose a few if I break them down into categories. I love historical fiction: Sharon Kay Penman, Dorothy Dunnett, Margaret George—those are just a few women who I think are masters (or mistresses?) of that genre. One of my favourite fantasy writers is Robin Hobb, and then there’s a very new female fantasy writer, S.A. Chakraborty, whose work I’m really excited about. For contemporary realistic fiction, I love classics like Anne Tyler, but I also love an American writer called Joshilyn Jackson and British writer, Catherine Fox, whose work is not nearly as well known. I think as Canadian readers we’re very lucky that some of our best-known and most foundational fiction writers are women, and of those I would say Margaret Laurence had the biggest impact on me of anyone.
But throwing out all those names is just scratching the surface. I could name a hundred more, in all different genres and styles, past and present. I believe in reading widely, books by men and women from all sorts of backgrounds—but as a woman, I do particularly love seeing the world through female eyes.
From March 8th – 12th, take 20% off all books by our female authors in-store and online.
Enter promo code: WOMENSDAY2019