I love the summer and I love reading -- therefore, I love combining the two! So I pay attention to summer reading lists and while I know I can't read even a fraction of all the books on these lists, I like seeing what books make it on there.
I was all geeked out today when I saw a link to the Wall Street Journal's new interactive summer reading list. It looks cool. It's got the cover and a little blurb and you can read an excerpt... good times.
Except I noticed something about halfway through the list: I had yet to see a book written by a woman. In case you were wondering, you only have to read two books this summer written by women: Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment and Do Not Deny Me by Jean Thompson. This is out of 19 books. Two! Out of 19!
Of course I can't say I'm completely surprised by this, but DAMN! I don't have anything against male authors, I just wish this list was at least a bit more balanced. Is that just me? Maybe...
- At Wed Jun 03, 01:03:00 PM Maggie said...
As a big reader, I found the list to be a pretty boring one. Going with the obvious mix of mostly snooty books with the occasional guilty pleasure thrown in is inevitably going to lead to a list heavy on male authors. The lack of women also shows a total lack of creativity, IMO.
I just checked my own reading list for the year to make sure I'm not a pot calling the kettle black. Happily, mine comes out almost exactly even with the male/female author split. Phew.
- At Wed Jun 03, 02:36:00 PM Sungold said...
It's not just you. I remember seeing other lists (at the New York Times, I think?) that were imbalanced, though not as severely as this one.
My own summer reading will tilt toward women. Which is fine - I'm not dictating what's hot and what's not. (Then again, I'm not sure the WSJ is ever hot!)
- At Thu Jun 04, 06:30:00 AM T. R Xands said...
Pfft are you kidding? 2/19 IS balanced!
Okay after that failed attempt at humor, I agree with Maggie; not only was that list wholly uncreative but it was also boring as hell. BUT what I wanted to point out earlier (much earlier) was that I really liked how a lot of the books written by the men authors? Had female protagonists. In which liked = thought was odd.
I developed a sort of pet peeve about male writers writing female protagonists because I noticed so many books that do...it's not necessarily always a bad thing because it can truly work, then again it can also really fail. Fail hard.
I much prefer to just check books from the library but I took a good look at my tiny bookshelf today and realized indeed most of the authors are male, although my reading is usually 50/50. But I don't feel like an even split is enough. So I'm making it a mission to seek out more female authors this year.
- At Thu Jun 04, 06:29:00 PM Vérité Parlant said...
Written by two women, By Cynthia Crossen and HHellen Rogan. Hmm. But it seems it's the suggestions of WSJ readers plus publisher's and agents. So, I guess WSJ readers who sent in suggestions aren't into women novelists. Sad that the agents and publishers would be so lopsided, but it may reflect the kinds of publishers and agents Crossen and Rogan contacted.
- At Thu Jun 11, 09:36:00 PM frau sally benz said...
Y'all need to share your lists with me! I need cool books to read. Well, after I'm done with the three books I need to read first.
Most of these lists do lack creativity though. I guess I just wish it was balanced un-creativity.