Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic:
Put bluntly, if you call yourself a reading man, but don’t read books by women, you are actually neither. Such a person implicitly dismisses whole swaths of literature, and then flees the challenge to see himself through other eyes.
This is not a favor to feminists. This is not about how to pick up chicks. This is about hunger, greed and acquisition. Do not read books by women to murder your inner sexist pig. Do it because Edith Wharton can fucking write. It’s that simple.
Yes, I do find it incredible that so many men don’t read female authors. Imagine if women (who are, after all, the majority of book buyers) said they didn’t read anything by men. It would be a huge marketing problem!
6 thoughts on “Reading as cartography”
You said it: By far, the majority of books are bought by women. And they are usually books of a certain sort, very middle-class and middle of the road. It’s a real problem for writers, male and female, who seek agents and publishers but don’t pander to the mores and expectations of the general reading public.
To be fair, men don’t read books written by men, either… If you look it up, you’ll see the women are the primary market for books…
So in that light, the conclusion is somewhat bogus…
It’s like complaining that men don’t use enough tampons…
You compare reading books to a gender-determined biological function? Interesting.
Thank god for real dogs. They give illiteracy a good name.
Imagine the quality of mind that prides itself on being empty of Willa Cather, Toni Morrison, Emma Goldman, Annie Dillard, Margaret Mead, Octavia Butler or Edith Wharton.
After college I spent years reading fantasy only written by women. I found it extremely rewarding.
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