A Bookstore Is Brilliantly Visualizing Gender Imbalance by Flipping Around All Male-Written Novels

Sometimes your shelves can send a message

The owner of Loganberry Books was looking for a new way to honor Women's History Month.
Loganberry Books via Facebook

Even if you’re a frequent bookstore peruser, this sight might be a surprise.

Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio, is cleverly “illustrating the gender gap in fiction” by reversing all novels from male writers so that each book’s identity is hidden. The move comes just in time for International Women’s Day on Wednesday (though, as part of Women’s History Month, the shelves will remain in this state through March 14).

The result is visually jarring, with a vast majority of the fiction shelves suddenly bleached into anonymity.

The bookstore isn’t pulling any punches in describing the dramatic project: “We’ve silenced male authors,” a sign in the store explains, “leaving works of women in view.”

Store owner Harriett Logan says she hopes the project will have dual benefits of illustrating a larger problem while also celebrating the women who make up the minority of fiction authors.

The idea, she says, came from a desire to find new, interesting ways to honor Women’s History Month.

“I was looking for an event and activity to commemorate Women’s History Month, but I grow weary of doing the same thing over and over again,” Logan told Cleveland Scene. “Just reading from great pieces of literature didn’t seem participatory enough, and this activity doesn’t require anything.”

In case you’re curious, the store staff didn’t reverse books written by women under male pseudonyms, and research was often necessary for writers with less common names—such as Gleb Botkin (male)—and initials.

Loganberry Books via Facebook