How To Suppress Women's Writing by Joanna Russ

I finished reading "How To Suppress Women's Writing" by Joanna Russ yesterday.  (Then, immediately after my first break, started reading Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, which I had to go and get from my car.) Let's jump immediately past the really annoying thing that happened any time anyone else read the title of this book:  No, it's not about actually oppressing women.  It's a book about how women are oppressed.  The title is sarcastic.  (I anticipate similar troubles if/when I ever get around to reading Baratunde Thurston's "How to be Black.")

I don't really know how to talk about this book.  It's short, and it's incredibly economical -- I was going to write "dense," but that brings to mind a sort of incomprehensibility that is markedly not present.  It's an easy book to understand, but Russ wastes very little time getting to her points.  I don't know how I could summarize any of it.

I heard about this book last year at Readercon -- I can't remember if I mentioned that here before.  I wandered into a panel that turned out to be a book club meeting about it.

Some of the things I found most interesting:

  • Women in anthologies and other collections are really consistently somewhere between 5 and 8 percent of the selections
  • Jane Eyre wasn't Charolette Bronte's only book
  • Everything about H.D.
  • Virginia Woolf's political stuff

This is a really interesting book that I recommend highly.  It has given me a huge number of leads into stuff I want to start reading, now that I know it exists, and have a context into which to fit it.  I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone.

How To Suppress Women's Writing by Joanna Russ: [Amazon], [Barnes & Noble]