“When women speak truly, they speak subversively,” the late author Ursula K. LeGuin said in a Bryn Mawr commencement speech, back in 1986. “They can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes.”
There are a lot of long-dormant volcanoes erupting today, nearly three decades later. As LeGuin continued, “When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”
If we extend that metaphor, than it probably seems for many women that the landscape around us is reorienting in real time. Women haven been writing and telling their truth for a long, long time. But people in power are starting to listen, and we’re watching the world navigate new landmass: the concrete, explosive rise of women, making their indelible mark on the world.
Which makes now a unique and important moment to prioritize reading women, especially women of color. Reading gives space, allows time, for nuance in ways that headlines can’t quite capture. News moves fast, while a good book lasts and lasts. But, it’s easy for bookstores to throw some “feminist texts” on a table and call it a job well done. There are better, more lasting ways to not only read female authors, but to support them, too.
Meet Book of the Month, a 90-years-young subscription service that delivers books to your doorstep. The gist is that you pay a monthly or yearly premium, and then each month get to pick from five curated books to read. What’s great about BOTM is that they use their huge platform to amplify the voices of emerging authors, especially female authors and authors of color. That means you’re not only getting to choose from amazing books that will introduce you to imperative voices, but you’re also supporting these authors, too.
Take “The Lolly,” for instance, their yearly Book of the Year award, chosen by readers. Last year the nominees were heavily skewed towards emerging authors, women, and people of color. In fact, 13 out of the 20 nominees were books written by women. And being nominated is more than an honor: it’s a job opportunity. As last year’s winner Bryn Greenwood said, “Winning Book of the Year meant thousands more people heard about and read my book.” The winners also get a casual $10,000 prize. Their March picks are also all female writers. You can sign up for BOTM now and use code YESPLZ to get your first month free.
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