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, Joanna Walsh describes why she started the Twitter hashtag #readwomen2014, after creating New Years bookmarks with a list of female authors on the back. She was inspired by several people who vowed recently to only read books written by women. Though she admits that she doesn’t plan to exclude male authors from her 2014 reading plans, she encourages book lovers to pay attention to whether their to-read shelves are exclusively male — and if that is the case, to think about why it might be so.
Though Walsh’s list includes many female authors from the past, like Jane Austen and Gertrude Stein, it turns out that 2014 will be a good year for anyone who takes her advice and likes new fiction. (So was 2013: Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was many critics’ pick for the best book of the year.)
Here are some forthcoming books from female writers — 12 to be precise, so you can keep up with the average number of books read annually by Americans:
Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings: Published earlier this month, this novel from the author of The Secret Life of Bees — the story of two young women, one a slave and the other her owner, set in 19th-century Charleston — has already been selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.
Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs: Due out later this month, Quindlen’s next book takes as its central character a photographer whose career is falling apart.
Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird: Last year, Oyeyemi was named to Granta‘s prestigious list of the best young British novelists. This February, her fifth novel will be released, the story of the interwoven lives of the three title characters.
Lorrie Moore’s Bark: Acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Lorrie Morre releases her next story collection in February, her first in 15 years.
Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl: Nguyen’s latest, due in February, draws a parallel between pioneers like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie-living characters and first-generation immigrant pioneers like its own modern-day protagonist.
Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World: Coming in March, the next book from Hustvedt is about a female artist who pretends to be multiple male artists in order to gain recognition from the art establishment.
Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation: Russell, author of Swamplandia!, won a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2013 and, with her March novella about an insomnia epidemic, will explore a new kind of publishing: it will be the first book published by Atavist, the long-form nonfiction company.
Maggie Shipstead’s Astonish Me: In April, the author of Seating Arrangements takes on the drama of the world of professional ballet.
Lydia Davis’ Can’t and Won’t: Davis won the Man Booker International Prize last year, and her next collection of short stories — some as short as one sentence — is due in April.
Francine Prose’s Lovers at the Chameleon Club: Paris, 1932: In April, the National Book Award finalist’s latest novel focuses on a group of out-there friends and the jazz club they frequent.
Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure: Waldman is perhaps best known as the author of Bad Mother, the essay collection about raising her children she has with husband Michael Chabon, but she doesn’t just do personal non-fiction. Due in April, her latest novel spans a century, during which a piece of jewelry travels from Budapest, to Salzburg via a train full of loot seized from Jews in 1945, and finally to New York City.
Ruth Reichl’s Delicious!: Food critic and memoirist Reichl makes her fiction debut in May — and her fans needn’t worry that she’ll stray far from her forte, as food will play a large part in the novel.
Emily Gould’s Friendship: The first novel from well-known blogger Gould (also the founder of Emily Books, a digital e-book store) is due in July. It’s about growing up and, as you might have guessed, friendship.