Sexist Book Lover

 A quick little post scribbled between school runs…

I’m going to let you into a little secret of mine but before I do, please promise you won’t write hate mail to me, afterward. You see, I think that I am a bit sexist. 

I had no idea until a few weeks ago when I browsed amongst the paperbacks, (fingering the smooth, shiny covers and breathing in the gorgeous smell of new, untouched paper) and I realised I deselected a book written by an author I’d never heard of simply because it was written by a man. Shock horror! 

If you know me well, you’ll know that I hate anything to do with injustice, discrimination, or prejudice and yet, I found myself doing just that (Sorry Mark-whatever-your-name-is). 

How many times have I read Matthew 7: 1-3? How is it I am guilty of this very sin?!  Will I now have a litany of men banning my own book simply because I am a woman?

As we know, many female authors have opted for gender-ambiguous or male, nom de plumes simply because they thought they’d sell better. Even JK Rowling’s publisher suggested she shouldn’t use her first name because a female author might put boys off from reading Harry Potter (and that was during the 90s!) 

Now I’m really going to risk your wrath but honestly, in my opinion (and I’ve read many books) I have found female authors sophisticated with their plots, adept at describing emotions and wonderfully imaginative when creating character profiles. I would almost pride myself on being able to tell you without looking at whether the author of a book is male or female. 

However, there are a few exceptions to my rule:

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief was one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. The prose is a work of art, the words flow like honey, sweet, and pleasurable to read. For me, it wasn’t really the story, or the characters, it was the poetic language. Oddly, I couldn’t get into any of his other books. It was almost as if they were written by a different person.

I loved Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi simply because I don’t think I’d ever read anything else like it and also I felt I got it. I remember discussing it in college and when asked what it was about I answered, “Belief” to which everyone cried in wild exclamations – “Oh yes! So it is!” Perhaps that one is due to my pride! Again, I wasn’t much interested in any of his other work.

Khaled Hosseini – I love all his books. I can’t get enough of them. Wonderful stories are written with passion and a large dollop of real-life experience. I’m only sad he hasn’t written lots more. 

CS Lewis: He was one of my first favourite man authors. I love his Narnia books but that said, I love anything set in the “olden days” I love the history, the boarding school children, and the food descriptions (he talks about food a lot). I did enjoy the fantasy world and the characters but funnily enough, though I love writing fantasy, I’m not a huge fantasy fan (Is that normal?”)

If you are still reading this, (and I don’t blame you if you’re not) I would love to know how you feel. Do you have a preference? Do some men prefer books written by men? Are there more women who prefer male authors? Are you all far more balanced than I am and like a complete mixture? From now on, I am going to make the effort not to be sexist! I am probably missing a whole compendium of books written by male authors that I will simply love.

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