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Who and what do you read?

January 14, 2014

In a year-end literary review in the Globe and Mail, author Pasha Malla described his 2013 resolution to read more female authors.  In the previous year, he had read “roughly six male-authored books to every title by a female writer.” When he surveyed his friends, he found that this pattern was typical among the men in his group and quite common among his female friends. There was a similar pattern among our Euclid Avenue readers on New Year’s Eve.

Of the nineteen works presented, 5 were written by women and 14 by men, (although Ondaatje and Leacock were presented twice each.) But what’s most interesting is that the 10Euclid reads by gender women chose equally between male and female authors, but no men chose a female author.

But does it matter who you read? Or is it more important to select interesting content? Our group had widely varying tastes in subject matter and genre. Eleven people chose works of fiction—7 works by 6 different male authors and 4 works by female authors. The other favourite readings were from 2 memoirs, 4 works of non-fiction, one poem and one play.

Pasha Malla balanced his male-female reading but found that only 20% of his reading included Canadian writers. At least we got that part sorted (maybe)!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Frank Gavin permalink
    January 14, 2014 12:34 pm

    A friend of mine reports that some years ago when her teenage son took out a novel by Maeve Binchy from his high school library, he was teased at length by his female classmates and even by the librarian. And when on the subway I’m reading a novel by a woman I get a few more curious/odd looks than when I’m reading a novel by a man. It’s not a big difference–the vast majority of people pay no attention whatsoever to what I’m reading–but it may be that boys and men, consciously or not, pick up early on what’s considered more acceptable or normal in the eyes of some.

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