Helloooo readers! It’s Stephanie again! Since yesterday was International Women’s Day, this week’s Book Beat is all about female authors, characters, and influence. Hey, we are Women Write About Comics. Personally I only tweeted and retweeted female voices on Wednesday to give them a boost. Speaking of female voices, I recently borrowed Tracee de Hahn’s debut novel Swiss Vendetta the other day and actually read it right through the night (at least I fulfilled my New Year’s reading resolution?)! Lüthi is no blushing girl or femme fatale, but a 40-something mother who has just transferred to the violent crimes division after her husband’s sudden death. Like her creator, it’s Lüthi’s first big project in a new job, but both she and de Hahn do their work magnificently. Everything from the way Lüthi warily watches male suspects to her empathy with the murder female victim would be impossible if she was written by a male author. Next time you hit up the library, try finding your own book with a female protagonist and author. I think you’ll be even more surprised at how much more authentic the narrative is.
Speaking of female narratives written by women, here’s a look at the cover of the first Lumberjanes book courtesy of Entertainment Weekly! As announced previously on Book Beat, Lumberjanes is being turned into a middle-grade book series with the first book coming out October 2017. Judging from Brooke Allen’s cover, the first book in the series will focus on April and be titled Unicorn Power. I haven’t read much of Lumberjanes but I’m glad to see that traditional femininity is embraced, not rejected, in the character of April. As a middle schooler, I rejected pink and all things glittery, frilly, and girly as being “typical girl stuff” and somehow inherently weak. Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two (I have a pink lace dress that I absolutely love) and I’m glad the next generation of female readers won’t feel the need to reject their femininity in order to present themselves as strong or unique.
Meanwhile, the feminist and exclusively female-founded and -staffed bookstore, Loganberry Books, recently went through their fiction section – about 10,000 books! – and turned all the books written by male authors around. The books’ spines were hidden in order to demonstrate clearly and visually the gender gap in fiction. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words (wait, does that mean I could have just posted the photo and not written this article at all?) and it’s shocking to see how male authors dominate the genre. Maybe libraries should follow suit on their own shelves or even feature books exclusively written by women on their recommendations shelves.
By the way, does anyone remember that photo of Hillary Clinton glancing at a newspaper while flying coach on an airplane? Well, romance author Alisha Rai, Kensington Books fiction editor Esi Sogah, and blogger Eli put their heads together and identified Hillary’s current read as Victoria Thompson’s Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue, part of her Gaslight Mystery series. Is there anything that book Twitter can’t do? (Don’t answer that, I’m already a little scared.) I can’t help but wonder how many copies have been ordered since it’s been identified as Hilary’s current read. It just goes to show that women can wield enormous power whether by writing or by reading.