The project

Balanced Shelf began as a one-year reading project. I have been a passionate devourer of science fiction and fantasy literature for most of my life, and like many people, I realized at some point that my reading lists were exceptionally male-dominated.  When some cursory efforts to change this still left me skewing heavily in favour of male authors, I decided to read (almost) exclusively female identified SFF authors for one year.  The year has come and gone, but I am continuing to actively seek out writers I have overlooked over the years and bring some equality to that most beloved, cherished section of my bookshelf.

These journal entries take the forms of reviews. However, I won’t be creating a numbered ranking system. I find assigning a number value to a book is 1) reductive, and 2) highly prone to inconsistency, given the subjective nature of reviews. As an alternative way of summarizing my thoughts, I generally include a pros and cons list to indicate my overall impressions and whether a particular book might be of interest to readers.

That said, my own goal with this project is not really one of evaluation but exploration. So rather than a comprehensive review, I might choose to highlight a particular theme, character, or setting I found particularly evocative. I am hoping this blog will present an opportunity to solicit exciting book recommendations, and give some extra love and attention to the great writers I am discovering.

5 thoughts on “The project”

  1. Sounds like an excellent goal! I’m taking it half and half; one male, one female review every week. Incidentally, some books I’d like to recommend if you haven’t tried them yet:

    1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    2. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
    3. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
    4. The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan
    5. Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

    1. That’s a great way of doing things as well, I will probably do something like it myself once I finish my year! And I have not read ANY of those books… I’m adding them all to the master book list right now!! Thank you so much for the recommendations.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I think I definitely need to update my reading list with Elizabeth Bear, M. L. Brennan, and Juliet Marillier… everyone seems to love them.

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exploring women's voices in science fiction and fantasy