“I deem as heroic those who have the harder task, face it unflinchingly and live. In this world women do that.”

—James Salter

How can I not love this quote by American novelist and short story writer James Salter (1925-2015)?

I’ve always been a great reader, and grew up reading all the (mostly male-authored) classics. But now that I am free to read as I choose (outside of work, at least), I find myself increasingly drawn to women’s stories. Or, if you will, so-called women’s fiction.

Reading the comments of others, I see women’s fiction can often be seen as a loaded term, but I don’t agree. I don’t see women’s fiction as “less-than” fiction. Women are the majority of writers and the overwhelming majority of readers and I, for one, enjoy literature following their journeys.

I read widely, but I find that good women’s fiction, following a journey in the life of a female protagonist, often makes for insightful and inspiring reading.

So yes, I find myself enthusiastically nodding along with James Salter. How can I not be drawn to the stories of women who often have the harder task, yet still face it unflinchingly and simply live? Here’s to celebrating women’s stories!