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.