The inevitable––a new list––is happening. The last time we had such a controversy about the lack of recognition for women’s writing, it was Modern Library’s “100 Best Novels” that began the uprising in 1998. ( See http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html). Now WILLA (see blog post below) has started a list of the best women’s books of 2009 to counter Publisher’s Weekly’s inability to find even one book by a woman for its “Ten Best 0f 2009” list. Want to add one? Go to http://willalist.wikia.com/wiki/The_WILLA_List_Wiki.
My take on all this is that lists are fine, but what will matter in the long run is if women’s books get reviewed and if people–especially women, who are by far the largest share of book buyers and readers–buy them and nominate them for prizes. If professors, male and female, teach them. And, yes, we will still have to fight to win the nominations, but at least we will have some well-heeled women writers to throw their weight around when those prizes are being determined. Practical applications of justice are always better than any pedestals we might climb.