I have a little thing I try to do. I try very hard to make sure that if I buy a book by an author with given name like Neil, Jim, Terry, Robert, Fred, Vikram, or James, I try to buy at the same time, a book in the same genre by an author with a given name like Afua, Nalo, Elizabeth, Sarah, Lois, Patricia, Ursula, or Jo. 

Today, I completely failed to buy The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, from my local small-chain bookseller, the Beaches location of Book City. I wanted a copy to take on vacation, because it seemed like it would be good vacation reading. I tried really, really hard to find a book in their admittedly small SF section that was by a living female author and that I had any desire to buy. There were a handful of books by Sarah Douglass, I think, and some reprints of books by Ursula K. LeGuin. There was probably some Ann Rice, and there was something whose only blurb was by Charlaine Harris. There was the inevitable Connie Willis, so I guess I could have bought that, but I didn't want to. There was a book by a Canadian author whose blurb was so leaden that I couldn't imagine the prose would be any better. I think there was probably some Mercedes Lackey. 

I could find nothing by Jo Walton, Elizabeth Bear, N.K. Jemison, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Nalo Hopkinson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Patricia Wrede, Jacqueline Carey, Sarah Monnette. I could find Greg Bear, Jim Butcher, Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, Robert A. Heinlein, and a bunch of other dudes. 

The problem, from my perspective, was that if I wanted to uphold my own little policy, I'd have to buy a book by an author whose work I know I don't like, or buy a book that did not look appealing from an author about whom I knew nothing. The SF section did not have a sufficiently broad selection of female authors to present me with choices. 

So, I went to the library instead. 

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