Thursday, March 8, 2012

What happened to my brain?

So there's an excellent post over at LadyBusiness looking at SF/F book reviews in blogs and how they break down along gender lines--that is, how many books by male authors are reviewed compared to how many books by female authors, and how the percentages relate to the gender of the reviewer. It's fascinating and not at all aggressive (translation: guys, you can go over there and read it without feeling defensive). The point of the post is mostly just to get people to think about the issue so that they'll be aware of their own choices in reading material.

This topic pops up pretty frequently online, which is good. Last time I blogged about my own reading choices at the beginning of 2011. My results then were a pretty even split between male and female authors, with the exception of mysteries, where I'd only read one book by a man.

So I went back and looked at what I read this past year (actually, I looked at everything from January 2011 to present) and noted down the authors' genders where I knew them. Since the LadyBusiness post only looked at SF/F for adults and YA, that's what I counted first. I came up with 26 male authors and 19 female.

That startled me, because typically I read more books by women. So I went back and totaled the genders of the mystery and non-specfic YA I read last year. And gulp. I read 23 books by male authors and 16 by female. Admittedly, ten of the male books were one mystery series I went crazy for last year (Barry Maitland), but I'd assumed those books would be outweighed by all the Georgette Heyer and Karen E. Olson mysteries I also read.

So between January 2011 and now, I read 84 novels for both adults and YA (I didn't count middle grade or nonfiction because the original survey didn't). Of those, 49 were written by men, 35 by women. And I'm a woman who likes to read books by women. What the hell happened?


Ash-Matic said...

Statistical anomaly?
Especially with the ten-book series weighing in.

Or maybe your tastes are changing?

K.C. Shaw said...

It's probably a combination of things. I made an effort to seek out mysteries written by men last year (since I'd only read one the year before) and I've been trying to find YA written by men lately since the book I'm querying now is a YA written from a guy's POV.

Either that, or my tastes are changing and I'm turning into a guy. That would be awkward, since my clothes are all girly.

Free Range Anglican said...

EASY ANSWER! You have, over the past year, phenomenally increased the amount of time you've spent with your brother, who probably recommended a lot of books that threw your count way off as most of the books he reads are by men.

K.C. Shaw said...

That's...actually a pretty good suggestion. Although we generally don't have a lot of overlap on what authors we like, for some reason.

Richard said...

Me, I believe this is healthy: it says that you're reading the books you enjoy, not because of the gender of the author but because of the quality of the writing. Which, IMHO, is as it should be.

K.C. Shaw said...

But I rarely care about the gender of the author when I choose a book, and usually I read more books by women. Why did I suddenly change? I'm so confoosed!