Tonight, on the eve of International Women's Day, I decided to turn to my own bookshelves and take some inventory. (First problem: I need to buy more bookshelves.) I knew I wasn't understocked when it came to books by women writers, but I suspected my shelves were predominantly stocked with books written in English, or, at their most exotic, works translated from European languages.
As it turns out, predominantly doesn't begin to cover it. I am a certified bookaholic, but tonight I was dismayed to discover that my addiction has primarily consisted of devouring books written almost exclusively by Western writers. (I am currently enraptured by Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet Chronicles
) Given my deeply held belief that we are not only the stories we tell, but the stories we read, this represents nothing less than a gaping hole in my understanding of this world. I need to read more books written by women who live in places other than Europe and the U.S. And I need you to help me get started.
So today, in honor of International Women's Day, please post your favorite book written by a woman writer from a country other than your own on your She Writes page
, and help me write my shopping list. (I'm going to start be revisiting Jean Casella's fabulous blogpost, "Lost (and Found) In Translation: Top Ten Books by International Wom...
," and by picking up the anthology co-edited by new She Writer Elizabeth Nunez
, Stories from Blue Latitudes: Carribbean Women Writers At Home and A...
). Tag it "international women", include it in your "what brings you here" feed, Tweet it, Facebook it, and through your example inspire everyone in your world to do the same.
Most powerful of all, however, if you can, do one, wonderful thing more: join me in buying a book, or borrowing a book (or a whole bunch of books) written by a woman from a country different from your own
. She Writes has members from more than thirty countries, including Egypt, Columbia, Mexico, Iran, the Netherlands, Germany and Qatar. We are international in our membership, and tomorrow we should be international in our spirit and our actions. I know that many other actions will be taking place tomorrow to honor the day -- please share your participation in them with our community, too. Days like tomorrow are good days. They are days that raise our consciousness and call us to act. I, for one, am looking forward to connecting with women around the world by supporting their efforts as writers, and learning from their stories. I hope you will, too.