In Library Journal, Stacy Alesi takes issue with the magazine’s “Men’s Summer Fiction” and “Women’s Summer Fiction” book roundups. In essence, the Men’s list is all thrills and action, written by male authors; the Women’s list is all girlfriends and tears, written by female authors.
Staci — Florida librarian extraordinaire and BookBitch — takes exception:
In close to two decades of dealing with the reading public, the only thing I’ve learned about what men and women read is not to assume anything. So why does LJ feel the need to continue to pigeonhole readers?
I decided to go to the source on this one: authors. Do they write for gender? Do they want their books to be categorized that way?
I’m one of the authors she spoke to. My answer, if you’re in any doubt, is no.
Thriller author Meg Gardiner (The Nightmare Thief) captured my feelings exactly: “[I’m] really surprised that they’d concoct two lists playing so deeply to stereotypes. They might as well have stamped each list with ‘Warning: contains cooties.’”
Staci also talked to David Morell, Tess Gerritsen, Joseph Finder, and S.J. Rozan, who says:
“First- and second-wave feminism have come and gone, and emotion-forward or lighthearted stories are still ‘women’s’ while action is ‘men’s?’ I despair. No, I don’t write to gender. I don’t read that way, either. And with the exception of those men who don’t read women, I don’t think readers generally do, either. Though I must say, I bet one reason some of those men won’t read women is because they see lists like this.”
The whole thing’s worth a read.