The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Revive a Dead Thread > Men vs. Women

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message 1: by Christina (new)

Christina (chold) | 99 comments I apologize if this has been posted previously, but I was wondering what everyone had to say about men's tendancies to not read books by women?

Any guys here that can lend their opinion to this? Is it simply a myth?


message 2: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I tend to gravitate toward male writers. I enjoy books told from men's perspectives better than women's, (usually) so look for that. It's not a hard, fast rule, but certainly a tendency.

That being said, I know many more men who refuse to even crack a book by a woman. I can see if you've read the author before, and were turned off, but based on sex alone? I would bet they miss a lot they would otherwise enjoy!


message 3: by Christina (new)

Christina (chold) | 99 comments That's exactly what I want to understand - why are men so stubborn about it? I feel that it's similar with female musicians. With novels in particular, they certainly are missing out on some great literature, as you said.


message 4: by April (new)

April (escapegal) | 130 comments Trust me, those men have books written by women hidden under their bed...they just don't want their image to be marred!! And half those men cry at the end of the book, too! LOL


message 5: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) I don't know about adults but when it comes to children's fiction, girls are more likely to read a book with a male protagonist then boys are to read one with a female.

JKR was asked to use her initials instead of her full name by publishers so not to discourage boys from reading it.

And even I admit, though being a girl, like Kandice I seem to be drawn towards male authors more. I wonder why... inherent sexism? I don't know, can't say without making too many judgements.




Elizabeth (Alaska) I was surprised by my friend's comment about this. But afterward, I could see the differences in perspective are clear. No, this guy isn't sexist, but I can see his point. I think it's another one of those: how do you go about choosing a book. When there are so many books, it's certainly easier to have some "rules" to start with. Sort of like Fiona's "I won't pick up a book with a pink cover."


message 7: by Christina (new)

Christina (chold) | 99 comments We need a guy's input on this. Does anyone have an idea of the ratio of women to men on this site?


message 8: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) well in this group we definitely do have more women.


message 9: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Hello! Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...calling all commenting men....


message 10: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Of which there seems to be a severe lack of. Maybe we scared them away...


message 11: by Kandice (new)

Kandice What do we need to do to draw them back? *bats lashes*


Allison (The Allure of Books) (inconceivably) *drawn to thread*

oh, hellooooooo Kandice ;)

WAIT! Dang it...I'm not a man.


message 13: by Kandice (new)

Kandice You goofy girl! Seriously, I am watching this thread for a man to comment. None of my brothers are big readers, so I have no one to ask.


message 14: by Allison (The Allure of Books) (last edited Apr 07, 2009 02:28PM) (new)

Allison (The Allure of Books) (inconceivably) well we know Jon doesn't have this problem, he just read ICTC!

I just looked at his read books, a ton of his 5 star reads are women authors.


message 15: by Atishay (new)

Atishay | 1451 comments I think its natural. The only female author I've read is Rowling and Agatha Christie. And I loved Christie. Of course, there again I hated the novels that involved Miss Marple while I loved those of Hercule Poirot. Loved Franklin Dixon's Hardy Boys while hated Nancy Drew.
Its not because we are biased or something but usually female authors don't work out for us. Take Nora Roberts, for instance. We may love books by Nicholas Sparks while hate Nora Roberts at the same time.
The only exception is maybe the classics - with Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, Jane Austen, Bronte. However, even in classics, we do have a tendency to lean towards Doyle, Hugo or Hardy. The numbers are dominated by male authors even there.
I think that's the way it works. Nothing we can do about it.




message 16: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Atishay-But, do you conciously choose males, or do you sub-conciously gravitate towards them?


message 17: by Vicki (new)

Vicki I am fighting this in my classroom now. The junior boys in particular are having huge problems with the current book, In the Time Of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. I thought we could get past in considering these females help overturn a dictator but between it being about girls and having butterflies in the titles they have shut down. I definitely have more problems with the boys then the girls. The girls are must less likely to say something is a boy's book as a boy is to say something is a girl's book.

Personally, I don't care either way. If it's a good book I am more than open to reading it.


message 18: by Hayes (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:28PM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) I see this starting at a very young age, though. Think of your class in elementary school. The Tomboy (girl) was always more acceptable than the sissy (boy), who was always picked on and made fun of. (You couldn't pick on the tomboy; she'd probably bash you one, right?)

Vicki, are your male students resisting because they don't like what's in the book, or because they don't want to be caught reading a sissy 'butterfly' book? or any book at all, because reading anything is considered sissy (unless it's a comic book or a playboy...)


message 19: by Richard (new)

Richard | 46 comments "A couple of years ago, British author Ian McEwan conducted an admittedly unscientific experiment. He and his son waded into the lunch-time crowds at a London park and began handing out free books. Within a few minutes, they had given away 30 novels.

Nearly all of the takers were women, who were "eager and grateful" for the freebies while the men "frowned in suspicion, or distaste." The inevitable conclusion, wrote McEwan in The Guardian newspaper: "When women stop reading, the novel will be dead."

More...




message 20: by Hayes (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:16PM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) from the article...(italics mine):
Among avid readers surveyed by the AP, the typical woman read nine books in a year, compared with only five for men. Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography.

9 books and you're an avid reader? where do TNBBC members get pigeonholed?


message 21: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) You guys have just given me an idea... Be back soon with data! :)


message 22: by Richard (new)

Richard | 46 comments Megalobibliacs?


message 23: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I think we may be labeled anti-social freaks.


message 24: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Apart from the whole anti social thing is nullified by GR and TNBBC ;)


message 25: by Hayes (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:23PM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Richard wrote: "Megalobibliacs?"

nice word!

Interesting article, too. Thanx for posting it.




Elizabeth (Alaska) I didn't start paying attention until my friend mentioned it to me. I read more books by female authors, but it's certainly not because they are female. (And I don't read chick-lit either, as a rule.)


message 27: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) OK... I've never really thought about it, or noticed any prejudicial preferences for male authors, but here's what I've found:

Out of the 283 books I've listed as "Read", only 91 are by female authors. (Now, a good chunk of the 192 compiling my male author list is supplied by Stephen King, since I have read 50 of his books... give or take.) So apparently, I am approximately 2/3 more likely to read a male-authored book. Eeeenteresting. :)

I'm pretty much willing to read anything and everything that doesn't run away from me. I think that there might be a tendency for people to see books written by women as softer, and less willing to be the sort of rough & tumble books that "manly" men write. But I like all sorts of books, and I've read some books by men that make me cringe and wish the author would grow a pair, just as I've read some books by female authors that I wish would cut her characters a break once or twice...


message 28: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:40PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) I'm not sure I understand what you mean by rough and tumble.

I just know that men look at the world differently than women do. As a reader, you'll see that come out in their writing. Sure, there is some blending in the middle. It isn't subject matter, it is perspective. I don't have enough psychology education to verbalize this well.


message 29: by Hayes (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:40PM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Becky: Now I'm going to have to go and count (but not now, it's almost one in the morning)... but does anyone know (Richard?) what the male-female ratio of authors is? (I mean if there are 2% female authors and 98% male authors, more people would be reading male authors... you get my drift?)


message 30: by Richard (new)

Richard | 46 comments What I find strange is that books written by women about the exploits of women are generally referred to as chick-lit, while books written by men about the exploits of men are not placed in a separate (dick-lit?) category.

I also find the distinction between female and male preferences (fiction vs. non-fiction) intriguing. Do most guys like to keep it real?

Personally, my preference/choice is generally guided by reputation and review, and certainly not by gender.


message 31: by Hayes (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:42PM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) I love that expression! (dick-lit, I mean)


message 32: by Kandice (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:44PM) (new)

Kandice Me too! Don't think I will be inserting it into conversation, but I will certainly be thinking it:)


message 33: by F.D. (new)

F.D. Crandall (FDCrandall) | 87 comments I really can't answer the question as to why “men read men” and “women read women.” I can only surmise that they relate to the authors of their own gender better than the opposite. Men tend to read the adventure/spy/special ops novels where a man is the focal character, where women, reading the same genre, might prefer to have the main character a women, with a male as the foil or the second/supporting character.


message 34: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I don't have the time (or stamina!) to check my entire read shelf, but of the 34 I feel comfortable reccomending, 28 are written by men. I am very, very careful about what I put on that shelf, so I guess that says quite a bit!


message 35: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) Me either, Elizabeth, haha! I guess what I mean is that male authors tend to be a little more harsh with their characters and stories- not afraid to harm, maim, outright kill them off, not afraid to end a book without a happy ending because it's more realistic. Whereas female authors can be seen as tending to wrap things up more neatly with happier endings, etc. That's the sort of thing I meant.

I know that is not exclusive to male authors, but that's what I think think the impression is. *shrug*


message 36: by Richard (new)

Richard | 46 comments Afterthought: The whole classification thing is pretty random, really. My book is listed as "Men's Adventure" on some sites, even though it has a pink cover. I guess that makes it a "Gay Men's Adventure" in some circles, which explains quite a lot...


message 37: by Richard (last edited Apr 07, 2009 03:57PM) (new)

Richard | 46 comments Call it mick-lit, Kandice. Keep them guessing.

EDIT: Signing off. Bedtime in Amsterdam. Thanks for the entertaining chat.


message 38: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) bedtime in rome too. g'night


message 39: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) My Absolute-Favorite shelf follows my 1/3 observation with my Read shelf... Only 5 of the 15 books are by women. Hmm... Interesting.


message 40: by Fiona (last edited Apr 07, 2009 04:05PM) (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) I didn't count them going back too far but basically over the last 5 years I have read:

39 men and 19 women which I think is quite significant.

Do I purposefully avoid women? Yes, I'm distrustful. I guess maybe it is because we live in a world still dominated by male perspective? Don't know, maybe that affects my reading choice.

I'm more likely to read a rom-com by a man in fact apart of Bridget those are the only in those genre I enjoy. Maybe it is because I don't relate to the common stereotype of women?

Or there are just male authors.



message 41: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I prefer male Doctors and Dentists too. Does that say something even worse... *gnaws nails*


message 42: by F.D. (new)

F.D. Crandall (FDCrandall) | 87 comments There's nothing wrong with a "Salmon" colored book.


message 43: by F.D. (new)

F.D. Crandall (FDCrandall) | 87 comments As long as there's some butt kicking and and someone gets shot.


message 44: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Salmon is only manly if you catch one in your teeth like a bear! LOL (just kidding)


message 45: by El (new)

El Generally women are less likely to be considered "experts" in their field. When you look historically at women writers and their male contemporaries you will see the women have either been ignored or overshadowed by the men (Edith Wharton was good friends with but overshadowed by Henry James, Sylvia Plath was obviously overshadowed and questionably beat down by Ted Hughes). Women are often considered "crazy" (in art you have Frida Kahlo and Lee Krasner that come to mind above all).

A lot of it comes down to "authority", particularly in history - Alison Weir, Mary Renault, Antonia Fraser are great historians but against male writers in the same field the women are considered too emotional in their investigations of the past and therefore are deemed less of an authority on the subject.

I think colleges and universities still do not encourage reading of women authors. I went to a women's college and so was introduced to authors I probably would never have come intact with had I gone to the university in my state (based on friends at the university who were still reading Dickens and Melville in their classes while I was learning about Flannery O'Connor and Charlotte Perkins Gilman). Showing the world that there are women writers out there who do not necessarily write what is considered "chick lit" might help men and women realize there are literary women writers as well.


message 46: by Christina (new)

Christina (chold) | 99 comments Hm, I think these are all compelling arguments ... maybe one of the biggest contributing factors is in fact that there are less serious female authors (I'm not counting those like Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele). But considering some of the most influential authors in our time, they tend to be men ...

Then again I would ask the question: is that only because potentially serious and worthy females just didn't get the attention because men wouldn't jump on the bandwagon and read her stuff?

Maybe there are too many answers/suggestions to this question!


message 47: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) What do you mean by "serious" female authors? Authors who are taken seriously by others? Or who take themselves seriously? Or who write about serious topics?


message 48: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) I just counted my read books... Of 391 books, 82 of them were written by males (by 38 distinct authors). This means that 79% of the books I've read in the past 2-ish years were written by females.

This does NOT surprise me at all. But, that's because unlike many of the people who have commented so far, I gravitate toward pink (and purple!) books. If they have sparkles, all the better! ;) (I'm actually quite serious though...)

I may be an engineer, but I am also VERY GIRLY. (My coworkers know I love to bring pink into the workplace as much as possible... Which isn't a whole lot...)

I am a woman. I think like a woman. I like to read about women (and their various ordeals). I read a lot of YA, chick-lit, and romance novels.... So it just makes sense that most of them were written by females....

My husband, on the other hand.... He's read the Twilight series, the Host, Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice..... and I have no idea what other books by female authors. Not very many, I daresay.


message 49: by Christina (new)

Christina (chold) | 99 comments Authors taken seriously by others ... perhaps such as Ayn Rand? I actually think guys have read her stuff; then again she doesn't really write like a woman (in terms of how people may stereotypically think they write).


message 50: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) I was thinking of S.E. Hinton... I think most guys really love The Outsiders.


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