Please give a warm welcome to author, Melissa Bourbon, joining us with her new mystery novel - A KILLING NOTION!
I write cozy mysteries, but I read books in many different genres, books written by both men and women. When I began writing mysteries for women, I wondered…do men read cozy mysteries, or are they too soft? Do women read hardcore sci fi? I imagine some do (on both counts), but in general, probably not. Men, in fact, don’t read a lot of books written by women (the very reason JK Rowling went by her initials instead of by her name).
When I came across a list of top books to be read, it sparked a lot of thought in my stress-addled mind so I came up with this list. Here are the Top Ten reasons why men don’t read books written by women.
10. First, let me just speculate: “Maybe they do, at least occasionally, but just don’t admit it.”
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I think may be reasons why men don’t read books by women:
9. Women acknowledge that fiction can give guidance or solace where men...not so much. They keep emotion bottle up inside, right? Every man. Everywhere.
8. Books written by women tend to have more emotion built in and for a man to read such a book would, by association, mean he has those emotions, too, and he just doesn’t, right?
7. Men like novels that focus with an intellectual struggle. So books authored by women are less intellectual.
Oh, I’m getting a little riled up.
6. Men read angst-ridden books in which the struggle to overcome some catastrophic circumstance is at the core of the plot. Again, don’t women write this type of novel? Sure, as long as there’s emotional growth woven in. Ah, emotion, there’s that word again.
5. Rites of passage are, quite literally, part of a man’s experience. Books written by women are less about those rites of passage and more about the choices we make based on circumstances, which is also true in cultures with rites of passage. The boys go out, kill a dear, and become men. The girls, becoming women, are relegated to The Red Tent. Isn’t that still true today? Aren’t all our books about secret women things to which men just can’t relate?
4. Men show a huge lack of interest about personal introspection, family, and/or domestic elements in their book choices. We’re still ingrained with the age old gender differences, and reading choices reflect that. Who’s more introspective, family, and domestically inclined in your household? Man. Breadwinner. Woman. Not. They must think that all books by women have those themes!
3. Raise your hand if you know the gender of Harper Lee. Uh-huh. It’s a top recognized book among men and women, but how many men think Harper’s a man? Okay, this isn’t really a reason, but I’m just sayin’.
2. Men only like adventure and triumphing over adversity like women only like romance and love. God, it’s great to be a stereotype, isn’t it?!
1. Several years ago, Esquire Magazine created a list of 75 books every man should read, and not one is written by a woman, what does that tell you? http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/75-books
On a similar list of books every woman should read, there are plenty of women represented. http://jezebel.com/5053732/75-books-every-woman-should-read-the-complete-list
So really it’s the media’s fault for telling us what we should and shouldn’t read and respond to.
And there you have it. We all live in gender boxes. Where do cozy mysteries fit in? Do men read them? What is it about them that make women respond? I have my own theories, but what do you think?
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