The cumulative nature of diverse reading

[This article was originally published in February 2016 on Medium.] The name I gave my commitment to not read books by men in 2015 — the No Man’s Land Reading Project — is the only original thing about it. Author Jack Heath did it in 2011 and would like you to know women write just as well if not better than men. Lilit Marcus did it in 2013 and … Continue reading The cumulative nature of diverse reading

Book Review — Birds of America (1998) by Lorrie Moore

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. It’s rare that a collection of short stories makes the New York Times bestseller list. Lorrie Moore was already an acclaimed short story writer when this happened … Continue reading Book Review — Birds of America (1998) by Lorrie Moore

Book Review — Lucy (1990) by Jamaica Kincaid

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. Lucy is a migrant story, and in 1990, when Lucy was first published, there were fewer novels like it being published by houses as revered as Farrar, Straus and … Continue reading Book Review — Lucy (1990) by Jamaica Kincaid

Book Review — Floundering (2012) by Romy Ash

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. Not everyone has had close contact with a story like this, but even for those of us who haven’t, in an age where tabloid journalism regularly plumbs … Continue reading Book Review — Floundering (2012) by Romy Ash

Book Review — My Brilliant Friend (2012) by Elena Ferrante

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. What a thing is Elena Ferrante. Not since the publication of the last Harry Potter novel have I felt so much a part of the literary zeitgeist as … Continue reading Book Review — My Brilliant Friend (2012) by Elena Ferrante

Book Review — Learning by Heart (1986) by Margot Livesey

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. A few weeks ago in a review of Anne Enright’s short story collection The Portable Virgin I made this observation: “[Short story collections seem] like something a publisher dreamt up … Continue reading Book Review — Learning by Heart (1986) by Margot Livesey

Book Review — The Secret River (2006) by Kate Grenville

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. I wonder how many nations’ readers are familiar with the sensation of picking up a work of literary fiction and recognising in it the voices of five … Continue reading Book Review — The Secret River (2006) by Kate Grenville

One hundred words on activism ::

A friend of his was in the quadrangle holding down a recently adopted dog and beating it, for what he never discovered. He was in university at the time. He’d just stepped out of the shower. Towel around his waist, he had walked to the window of his third-floor dormitory. He ran out of his room and downstairs, losing the towel at a leap in … Continue reading One hundred words on activism ::

Book Review — The Portable Virgin (1991) by Anne Enright

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. Anne Enright has come a long way since this collection of short stories put her on the map in Ireland and in attentive literary circles a couple of … Continue reading Book Review — The Portable Virgin (1991) by Anne Enright

Book Review — The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. I will probably realise this generalisation to be false not long after making it, but for now it’s helping me begin a review of a book which is … Continue reading Book Review — The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Review — The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (2015) by Jessica Hopper

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. Reviews of Kendrick’s debut album, contemplations of Lana Del Ray, treatises on the state of Coachella, dispassionate and analytical tear downs of Tyler, the Creator. Those are … Continue reading Book Review — The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (2015) by Jessica Hopper

Book Review — Lovers’ Knots (1992) by Marion Halligan

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. The sub-heading of this book is “A hundred-year novel”. This is no lie: the sum of the many disparate and delicately related stories in this novel do span a … Continue reading Book Review — Lovers’ Knots (1992) by Marion Halligan

Book Review — We Need New Names (2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. You know when you finish a book and spend the immediately proceeding half-hour sitting completely still, staring at nothing, the physical book forgotten but still in your lap, pulling … Continue reading Book Review — We Need New Names (2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo

Mos Def, aka Yasiin Bey — Supermagic ::

It seems fitting, after Michael Brown, and Walter Scott, and Freddie Gray, and with the Baltimore Uprising in full swing, to post this. I love this album, I think it’s one of the best ever made, and it opens with a quote you’ll hear if you play the song, a quote from Malcolm X, which, sadly, becomes more and more relevant: … you’re living at … Continue reading Mos Def, aka Yasiin Bey — Supermagic ::