I ran across this hashtag #readwomen2014 in a tweet asking for an explanation of its purpose. Hmm. Okay. I’ll bite. What’s up with it? Seems it’s an initiative to read books written by women in 2014 — just because they’re women. I paused a moment. No. I never decided to read a book just because the author was a woman, or a man for that matter. Another pause. Hmm. Maybe this will be the ticket to encourage someone to put down the remote and pick up a book. Well, to each his own. If this initiative gets you reading, go for it!
Women read more books than men do. That fact was confirmed last week by a new Pew report on American reading habits, which found that the 76% of American adults who read a book in 2013 — in e-book, audio or print formats — could be broken down to 82% of women and a mere 69% of men. Furthermore, the average number of books read by men was 10 while the average number for women was 14; the median numbers were 4 and 6, respectively. So not only are more women reading, but also the women who read are reading more.
An effort is underway to give those consumer figures their parallel in terms of what is being read, not just how much, and to make sure that the intersection of women and books includes female writers rather than just readers. In a new column at The Guardian,
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