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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

So, I’ve been thinking about which I like more . . . male authors or female. Do I choose one over the other? Do I gravitate toward the straightforward, often plot driven books that guys are known for? Or the more character driven, emotional books associated with female authors?

Looking over our bookshelves, there are probably more books by male authors (for simplicity, I’m sticking with novels here, not non-fiction). Both hubby and I tend to find an author we like and read their entire collection. Hence, we have rows of Erle Stanley Gardner (and all the AA Fair titles, too), John D. McDonald, John Grisham, Dick Francis, Rex Stout, Robin Cook . . . are you seeing a pattern here? We enjoy mysteries. On the female side, we have a large collection of Lillian Jackson Braun, Diane Mott Davidson, Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich. Again, a lot of mysteries. My conclusion: My reading history is pretty balanced male and female, maybe tipping just a little in favor of male authors.

About eight or ten years ago, I began exploring new areas of fiction—mainstream, Southern fiction, Christian fiction. Again, I would find an author whose voice I liked and read everything on the backlist. Anne Tyler, Jan Karon, Barbara Kingsolver, Billie Letts, Adrianna Trigiani, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles Martin, Frank Peretti, Lisa Samson, Susan Meissner, Rene Gutteridge. Now, I find that the list weighs in a little heavier on the female side. Hmmm.

Matter of fact—in the past 18 months, I’ve read 20 books by male authors, 50 books by female authors. Which ones do I like more?

Answering that would be like deciding between a Café Americano coffee with half and half or a Latte with an extra shot of espresso and a dollop of whipped cream. Child A or Child B? Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? The truth is, I love books! I love reading, learning about new things, getting the beejeebies scared out of me once in a while, lingering over phrases that steal my breath away, and laughing out loud while I’m turning the pages. Male or female? Doesn’t matter as long as it draws me in, tells me a great story, and lingers in my mind long after the last page.

How about you? Who are your favorite authors? Male or female? Why?

After you all chime in, I will be posting a couple of reviews of two recent books I read by male authors. I want to be fair, give them equal time (most of my reviews of late have been of books written by some lovely, gifted gals).

In the meantime, I’m flipping a coin. Will the next novel I read be by a male or female????

3 comments:

Erica Vetsch said...

I took a quick peek at my bookshelves, and they are split. Dick Francis, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, John Grisham, Tom Clancy..

Elizabeth Peters, Sarah Graves, Essie Summers, L.M. Montgomery, Mary Connealy, Robin Jones Gunn, Brandilyn Collins.

I guess it doesn't matter to me if the author is male or female, but rather what kind of story I'm in the mood for.

Myra Johnson said...

I'm with Erica. Story trumps author gender. A new favorite male author of mine is Chris Fabry. He writes with real heart! I've also read several books by Dale Cramer, another great writer. This week I decided I needed a break from my "should read" stack and borrowed a Clive Cussler adventure from my husband's shelf. A little adventure is good for the soul!

Koala Bear Writer said...

Interesting. Lately, what I've been reading has been by female authors (mostly Christian fiction). But my bookshelves are probably evently split too... Frank Peretti, Sigmund Brouwer, Brock & Bodie Thoene (how's that for a twist-male & female authors in one book!), Jane Kirkpatrick, Michael Phillips, Judith Pella, Janette Oke... A new favourite author is Orson Scott Card, whose book Ender's Game my hubby and I just listened to on audio. Tight, suspenseful book! Definately male author. :)