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View Poll Results: Do you generall prefer to read books by authors of you own gender?
I'm a woman and prefer to read books by women authors 17 8.17%
I'm a woman and prefer to read books by men authors 4 1.92%
I'm a woman and there is no clear gender bias to the authors I read 64 30.77%
I'm a man and prefer to read books by men authors 26 12.50%
I'm a man and prefer to read books by women authors 4 1.92%
I'm a man and there is no clear gender bias to the authors I read 86 41.35%
My gender is undetermined, and I read books primarily by women authors 0 0%
My gender is undetermined, and I read books primarily by men authors 1 0.48%
My gender is undetermined, and there is no clear gender bias to the authors of the books I read 6 2.88%
Voters: 208. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-14-2010, 03:28 AM   #1
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Do you read books by authors of your own gender?

A discussion here about men and women authors and male and female readership made me curious about whether people primarily read authors of their own gender.

So taking into account both the gender of the authors you read in general - as well as your favourite authors - is there a bias towards a gender, and is it the same as you own?
Edit: I think I should add that the questions are about what gender the authors of what you read happen to be, and not if it's a conscious choice on your part.

At first I thought, yes, I read more women authors than men, but when I looked at my book case and calibre library, and also trying to add my favourite authors to the equation, I think I end up with roughly half of each.

I am adding favourite authors to the question as it also says something about what we like. For example, one's favourite author may not necessarily have written a lot of books and hence won't feature largely with regards to amount.

Last edited by Ea; 09-17-2010 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:08 AM   #2
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My books are about 50/50 and the same with favorite authors of all the books I own.

Now, if I had to reduce my collection to 50 books or less, it ends up being mostly male authors.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:36 AM   #3
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Uh?

OK, MR won't let me post a message with only "uh" in it, so I guess I need to elaborate a little.

I guess that's another one of these questions about books that baffle me, such as genre. What I care about in a book, ultimately, is whether it touches me or not. I must admit to some bias, when selecting books to read, as there are some kind of books that I automatically assume will annoy me, or just not touch me, and I may miss some good books that way. But gender? Why would the gender of the author have any impact on whether or not I will like it? Or their sexual preference, their age, the color of their skin, the part of the world they come from, whether they have all their body parts or some are missing?

I might have more difficulties reading a book written by someone with a culture and history extremely different from mine, because I would not understand their references, just as I am often baffled by the Bible whenever I try to read it. But contrary to the theories of some pop psychology pseudo-gurus, men and women do NOT live on different planets.

If I can read a book written 2 or 4 thousand years ago and relate to it (even if some parts baffle me a little), I can read something written by a contemporary male and relate to it.

I might get something different from it than a man would, or maybe not. But that's what (good) literature is: an exchange, a contact between different people. When I read, I'm not looking for a mirror, or an imagined version of myself. I am looking for echoes of myself in others, things that can trigger my imagination and that I can link to my own experience, but without being me. If not, I could just write my own book and read only that, couldn't I? Only nobody does that, because it would be incredibly boring.

Reading is a kind of contact with the other. It's a way of feeling and coming to terms with how alien and alike we all are to each other, and that goes way beyond gender differences.

I'm not sure all of the above makes sense, but then, after all, I'm a woman, so I'm not expected to make sense, am I?
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:52 AM   #4
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I would say that 80-90% of my library have male author books. There are excelent women authors, but my own experience showed me that in most cases, I don't resonate very much with most women author's books I've read.

Curious enough, there's female authors in my top favourite books.
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:55 AM   #5
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About 90% of my eBooks are written by female authors, mainly American. There's no particular reason for this except the genre I like to read (murder, mystery, romance) is mainly written by women authors.

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Old 09-14-2010, 05:56 AM   #6
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I'm one that can't stand books by female authors (with a VERY few exceptions)....no offense...it's just the writing style, too much romance, I don't need to read 2-3 pages on how they are screwing...women can't seem to write action scenes as well as men, and the pacing of their books just doesn't seem right to me.

Female authors that I DO enjoy:
Alex Kava
JK Rowling (yeah, like Harry Potter, sue me)
Margaret Weiss (when paired with Tracy Hickman)
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlorenceArt View Post
Uh?

....
You sound annoyed by my question.... You don't find it a valid point to look into?

I made this poll because I see statements such as that women read both male and female authors, while men apparently tend to prefer male authors. I thought it could be interesting to get an impression of the state of things here at MR.

While I think gender ought not to mean anything and my ideal is a gender neutral society, in real life and in practise it does mean a lot anyway. It's questions worth looking into and discussing.

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Originally Posted by FlorenceArt View Post
I'm not sure all of the above makes sense, but then, after all, I'm a woman, so I'm not expected to make sense, am I?
And where did this come from? edit: It gives me the impression that you are angry/annoyed and perhaps think my question is stupid. It gives me the impression that you are for some reason angry and annoyed by the question. I don't quite understand why. I felt mildly attacked.

Last edited by Ea; 09-14-2010 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jhempel24 View Post
I'm one that can't stand books by female authors (with a VERY few exceptions)....no offense...it's just the writing style, too much romance, I don't need to read 2-3 pages on how they are screwing...women can't seem to write action scenes as well as men, and the pacing of their books just doesn't seem right to me.

Female authors that I DO enjoy:
Alex Kava
JK Rowling (yeah, like Harry Potter, sue me)
Margaret Weiss (when paired with Tracy Hickman)
How many female authors have you actually read?

You don't like romance and you don't like to read about screwing, OK, I can understand that. But assuming that just because a woman is writing, those two elements will be present... that's just not true.

I can give you some examples of books written by women where there is no or very little romance. Margaret Atwood comes to mind. As for the screwing, that's very easy. Anything written before the 20th century, and much of what was written in the first half of the 20th, whether written by men or women, has absolutely no screwing at all.

Can't talk about the action scenes though, as I am not that interested in them myself.

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Originally Posted by Ea View Post
You sound annoyed by my question.... You don't find it a valid point to look into?

I made this poll because I see statements such as that women read both male and female authors, while men apparently tend to prefer male authors. I thought it could be interesting to get an impression of the state of things here at MR.

While I think gender ought not to mean anything and my ideal is a gender neutral society, in real life and in practise it does mean a lot anyway. It's questions worth looking into and discussing.


And where did this come from? edit: It gives me the impression that you are angry/annoyed and perhaps think my question is stupid. It gives me the impression that you are for some reason angry and annoyed by the question. I don't quite understand why. I felt mildly attacked.
Well yes, the question annoyed me, but it doesn't mean that you were wrong to ask. What annoys me, really, is the assumptions people make about men and women (such as the one I replied to above). I'm sorry you felt attacked, and it's certainly not personal. The whole subject of men and women tends to switch me into an aggressive mode.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:20 AM   #9
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Anything written before the 20th century, and much of what was written in the first half of the 20th, whether written by men or women, has absolutely no screwing at all.
Well, there are exceptions of course. I understand Sade has some screwing around in his book, and guess what... he was a man
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:02 AM   #10
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I barely read any books by women at all now that I come to think of it. Not that I would avoid them on purpose, but I actually hardly have any in my bookshelf or in my database. Also, when I think of my favorite pieces, they are all by men.

In that sense it was an interesting poll as it made me realize this.

In writing I think it is more important than in other kinds of art as one finds it much easier to relate to the problems, hopes, dreams of the author/ his heroes if they remotely resemble one's own. This is more likely to happen with authors of the same sex. You can tell me as often as you want that men and women ought to be treated the same way and are basically the same and there's no difference between the two, but ultimately there is, and a considerable one at that.

For books written by women I have the feeling there always needs to be a romance involved. I can't think of an example where this wouldn't have been the case from the top of my head. You don't have such a clear tendency in books written by men. That's just my subjective feeling.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:07 AM   #11
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Well yes, the question annoyed me, but it doesn't mean that you were wrong to ask. What annoys me, really, is the assumptions people make about men and women
We can easily agree on that
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(such as the one I replied to above). I'm sorry you felt attacked, and it's certainly not personal. The whole subject of men and women tends to switch me into an aggressive mode.
"Replied to above"? I deliberately tried to avoid making assumptions in my question and poll and simply ask questions. I am not sure what you are referring to?
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:30 AM   #12
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Interesting question. I've never been particularly conscious of an author's gender when purchasing a book, but looking at my shelves, I'd say about 2/3 of my books from the last few years are by women. But then I've been reading a lot of urban fantasy and mysteries.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:38 AM   #13
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"Replied to above"? I deliberately tried to avoid making assumptions in my question and poll and simply ask questions. I am not sure what you are referring to?
I was referring to the post by jhempel24 I replied to in that same post.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:41 AM   #14
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I was referring to the post by jhempel24 I replied to in that same post.
Thanks. I'm afraid your original post freaked me.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:45 AM   #15
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I've got nothing against women writers - some of my closest friends read books written by women.

But I do think that (most of the time) you can tell an author's gender by how they write, and what they write about.
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