Friday, September 30, 2011

My shelves runneth over...

with lit from female authors.  Am I a femireader?  Yes, I made that word up, hush and let me have it.  During yet another passionate conversation about books, I came to the startling realization that I'm slightly prejudice against books by men or with male lead characters.  I'm not talking about Grisham or Patterson or Sanford or Stephen King.  I can read about Grisham's many male characters and Patterson's Alex Cross series, as well as Sanford's Lucas Davenport series, but the average male author, not so much.

Don't get me wrong, I love Ravi Howard, Jabari Asim, Roy Pickering and Daniel Black.  Their works fascinate me and I thoroughly enjoy reading them, but I don't actively seek books by or about men.  And it's not that they're not writing, they are.  I remember when Eric Jerome Dickey first started out.  I loved his books, but I remember loving them because he wrote from the point of view of a woman so well.  The other male authors I mentioned write from the male perspective and I still enjoy them, so I don't think writing from the female perspective is the determining factor in whether or not I'll enjoy a book written by a male author.  I've certainly digested my fair share of E. Lynn Harris and Carl Weber, not to mention some of Omar Tyree's horrid work.  But I guess as a woman, I want to read things from the perspective of other women.  Am I limiting myself by doing so?

I had a conversation with a co-worker some years ago about her husband's reading habits.  I know a lot of men that will only read non-fiction, but her husband read just about anything, with the only requirement being that it was written by a man. He said that, in his opinion, women authors just didn't get it.  Their writing was unrealistic and too sentimental. I remember thinking how can he just stereotype female authors like that?  But is he really any different from me? Somewhat.  I don't shun books by men like he does books by women.  A quick glance at my bookshelves will show an almost equal representation of male and female authors.  I think I have something to learn from both sexes.

Going even further, I think that I, and everyone else, has something to learn from both sexes and all races.  I'd like to think that my shelves are just as diverse when it comes to race as they are when it comes to sex, but they're not.  Though I don't actively seek male authors, I do actively seek Latina, Asian and other people of color authors, particularly women.  Do I feel more of a kinship with them and seek a better understanding because they're women? Probably.

So what do your shelves look like? Do you find that you prefer male to female authors or have you ever given it a thought? How diverse is your reading selection?  Are you a proclaimed femireader or will you read anything, even the cereal box?

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