Reading Habits

By | January 20, 2010

I have been meaning to do a post for a while.  Jeff over at Fantasy Book News & Reviews had a good post discussing and responding to some comments on his reading preferences.  A lot of the responding originates from this post on a different site.

The key part of the discussion I picked up on is whether the gender of an author determines whether or not I read a book.  Apparently a few folks did “Best of” lists that didn’t include female authors or something along those lines.  I am going to have to agree with Jess on this one – the gender of an author has nothing to do with whether or not I will read a book.

The post goes on to discuss some of the comments in the one article criticizing Jeff’s reading habits.  The thing that most bothered me about the post and the comments is that by somehow reading more male authors than female makes you sexist, limits your horizons, or other such stuff at that.  One commentor actually seemed to have a level head though.

The key part of what Aiden said was this:

It bothers me that Jeff even has to think consider whether he’s ‘sexist’, because of the gender of the authors he enjoys.

Bottom-line, I don’t think people should worry about the authors race/number of fingers/gender, and just read books they enjoy. Just because all the books on my ‘Favourites of ’09’ list are written by white males doesn’t mean I chose them for that reason, it just means that those white males wrote the best books I read this year.

Jeff somewhat agreed with this for his own reasons, though he did say he tends to purposely select male protagonists.  You know what – that’s fine.  I read what I like, he reads what he likes, and we both post about it.  People tend to enjoy the best what they can identify with.  The whole discussion seems a bit silly to me.  Who cares if someone is “limiting” their choices or not?

All that being said, I would be annoyed if the same was said about me.  True this site is fairly new and to date I have reviewed and written about all male authors, though one does approach things from a female protagonist reviews.  Most of my favorite authors are males, but there are quite a few female authors I read.  My own novel I am writing does have a male protagonist, but certainly contains inspiration from Katherine Kurtz more than anyone else.

To be honest though, I don’t pay that much attention to the gender of an author.  I see a book title, description, or blurb that interests me, I read the back (description) and if I like it flag it on my “To-Read” list on Goodreads.  Seeing as I subscribe to quite a few Review sites, sign up for book contests, and now am starting to get PR releases (and hopefully ARC’s soon) I get flooded with possibilities.  I really don’t even pay attention to whether or not the name is male or female, etc.   I tend to look at the cover and read the description before even really seeing who the book is by.

This post got a little longer than expected and I hope the topic is beat to death.  The only change I anticipate making here on Epic Plains is to review books whether or not I actually like them.  Seeing as my “To-Read” list is rarely less than 50 books, I end up being pretty selective in what I purchase, so generally only buy books I know I am going to like.  However, I do have a ARC and contest book coming in, so consider those randoms that while in my genre I may or may not like.

Any thoughts?

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