Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Do You Read More Male or Female Authors?

Flickr Credit: Plashing Vole

As I tell you every other Saturday, I am only reading books by women this summer. Hopefully thirty of them. I say hopefully because, man, this is harder than I thought.

It isn’t that I don’t have books to read, or that I’m not reading right now. I’m right on track in terms of the books I’ve already read. I have more than a few thoughts to share about the things I’ve noticed so far and curious to find out more about the trends I notice as I move forward in the challenge. It’s just… it would be nice to read a book by a guy right about now.

There’s no really great reason why. I suspect that some of it has to do with my love for rereading—I’m not reading many of my favorite books this summer because they were authored by men. And I suspect that, in some way, it might have to do with me and my habits.

Reading challenges aside, I tend to read more books by men than women.

I’ve asked before if anyone else felt like male voices dominated in their school reading. In the comments section of that post, many people said that whatever their school reading, their personal reading habits favored female authors. I thought I was the same, except I just went and tallied up the count.

I started keeping track of the books I read in August 2013, so this compares the ratios up to today. N/A refers to books that were written by three or more people or attributed to a publisher rather than a person. Books with both a male and female author each got the book counted in their stats. And since I did this all last night, I’m sure that there are a few errors, but consider it close enough.

So: I tend to read more books by guys.

At least, I’m pretty sure I used to. I didn’t last year and I might not this year, but it certainly looks that way to me. I’ve only read books by women since May, and I’ve still read more books by men this year! Without this challenge, you’d see more blue on that pie chart for sure.

Knowing that fact, it leaves me with the question: What does it mean? Does it say something about where I look for books? The kind of books I’m more willing to reread? Maybe even the kind of style I prefer? At the very least is says something about choice. Yes, I feel like I don’t read enough female perspectives at school, but I am the one who chose to binge-read series by Jim Toomey, George O’Connor, John Flanagan, and Mark Walden over the two and a half years.

But in the end, this is really more of a source of curiosity than a real issue for me. So what if I tend to enjoy and reread male authors more? Plenty of people do, and plenty of people don’t. Both are okay. I just want to know the right answer behind it all—even if, in a case like this, there’s no such thing.

Don't worry about me, really! I have Malinda Lo and Maya Angelou waiting for me, and they're gonna be totally awesome. It's just my darn hungry eyes...

Your turn! What about you? Do you find that you read works by more male authors in your personal reading? More female authors? Nonbinary authors? Why do you think that is?


  1. To be honest, I don't usually pay too much attention to whether I read more male authors than female authors, though I suspect it's skewed more towards the male side. Maybe not, but I doubt I read equal numbers of both. I have been reading lots of comics lately, and (in my experience anyway)those tend to be written by men more often than not. On the other hand, lost of my favorite authors are women--S.E. Hinton, Megan Whalen Turner, J.K. Rowling.

    1. Yeah, comics and graphic novels do seem to skew towards the male side of the spectrum. There is that. But, then there's the other side you point out—just because you read more men doesn't mean that they're your favorites. (Yay S.E. Hinton and J.K. Rowling!)

  2. I lean more toward men, probably because they tend to write stories that a). involve less romance and b). are more action oriented, both of which are more along the lines of what I like to read. That being said, A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of my favorite books of all time, was written by a woman, as are a lot of my other favorites.

    Gosh, I'd miss Ranger's Apprentice with that challenge, too. And Eragon--those are two of my go-to summer series.

    1. Mm, yeah, I can see that. I mean, I think in my experience men don't write less about romance, they just write about it in a different way, but still.

      Yes, yes. I miss them dearly. *sniffles but is brave*

  3. This is really interesting! I was recently working on a post about various statistics. I generally (I just tried to spell that with a j) tend to read more books by women, but maybe that's because YA is dominated by women? Although I wonder if there is a fundamental difference in the quality or content of women and men's writing, or if it varies on a case by case basis? I'm not sure there's an easy way to test this hypothesis. But I also would say it's something that's really important to think about.

    1. Yeah, YA contemporaries, anyway, do seem to be skewed towards a greater female writer population. Or something. I think women tend to read more in general, you know? But you're right, it's interesting to think about but also there isn't really a solid way to test it or anything...

  4. I thought I read more books by men, but I wasn't sure so I went and counted all the male/female authors on my bookshelf. I have 51% male, 49% female authors on my shelf. That actually really surprised me. I don't really pay attention to that when I'm searching out a book to read, so the fact that it's pretty much evenly split is interesting. I don't know, I don't really have a point beyond it's interesting.

    1. That's a pretty close split! I think most of us don't really seek out a particular gender of author when we're reading (I'm just talking about it because I have this reading challenge going on) and so it's kind of cool that your reading habits fall out that way.


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