I Have an Author “Type”

There is a study out there that says men like to read male authors and women prefer to read female authors. I have never analyzed my reading habits and author gender. I do know a lot of my favorite authors are male. I do, however, have quite a few female authors I read regularly. I like to joke that I sometimes have the reading habits of a teenage girl. I’m too lazy to do a count, but I could see my total skewing more toward the male authors. I don’t think this study says more than that people like to read what they know and that people feel more comfortable with the voice of someone with whom they relate. That’s why the push for more diverse titles is important, especially for kids. All kids need to be able to find books about someone like them.

I was thinking about this last night after I was working on a list of books for a class I will be leading at work. It is a list of good adult fiction for teens. I took many of the books of the Alex Awards list and added a bunch from my personal experience. As I was asking coworkers for some titles to add to the list, I mentioned that I needed to add some diversity, because although I didn’t know what most of the authors looked like I was pretty sure they were a little too similar. I googled the names of the authors and discovered that they were more alike than I realized. If I just looked at the author photos, I could assume that they were all related. Apparently, I don’t just have a thing for British and Irish authors, I I have thing for British, Irish and ginger authors. It was really weird. I can now add diversity to the list of my reading goals for 2015.

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8 Comments

  1. I never thought about this – but my two favorite authors (Neil Gaiman and Jose Saramago) are both male! What does that say about me as a female reader? HAHA. I am currently loving David Levithan too. Hmmm. I guess there are female authors I read regularly as well… But my bookshelf, I think, is very male-dominated.??? Or at least my favorites…

  2. Doing a quick analysis of my go to authors, I find a very equal number of male and female authors as well as an eclectic mix of genres, though I most definitely prefer fiction and gravitate toward mystery, horror and thrillers… perhaps I should add more non-fiction reading to my own goals.

  3. Well duh, redheads are hot.

    Wow, I just surprised the hell out of myself. I took the five-star book list, because “favorites” covers an awful lot of territory, and broke it down. Of the fifty-five distinct authors to whom I have given five star reviews, only seventeen are women (though only one author who has gotten more than one five-star review is male; the others are all women). Equally surprised to find that only twelve are non-US authors (3xAustralia, 2xCanada, 2xEngland, 2xJapan, one each Ireland and Sweden) and almost all focus on adult lit (5xJuvenile and 3xYA).
    I bet if I expanded it to 4.5 star reviews the numbers would even out some, but I don’t have the time at present.

      • I was crazy enough to do it… expanded down to 4.5-star books. 164 distinct authors.
        49 women.
        45 non-Americans. (Australia x3, Austria, Canada x5, Cuba, England x13, France x5, Germany x2, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan x8, Martinique, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden)
        Reading level: Adultx133, Juvenile x11, YA x20. Note that a lot of authors on the list cross boundaries; I rated them based on the book I actually had in the list (Richard Adams, e.g., is under YA despite writing mostly adult fiction, as are La Guin, L’Engle, and C. S. Lewis. And what the heck do you do with JCOates and S.King?)
        This is an interesting one, and it bears out something I hypothesized last time. 33 authors have two or more books rated 4.5 or above. Of those, ten are women, and the M:F ratio of “four books or more” is exactly 50-50.
        I genrified the same way I readingleveled: depending on the book that is on the list.
        Comedy x8 (probably the biggest surprise in this whole breakdown)
        Criticism x2 (film crit in both cases)
        Drama x16
        Fantasy x29 (I also included magic realism here)
        Gaming x1
        Graphic Novels/Manga x8
        History x1
        Horror x16
        Investigative Journalism x3
        Law x2
        Memoir x3
        Mystery x2
        Philosophy x3
        Plays x4 (couldn’t use drama as the genre…)
        Poetry x55
        Religion x1
        Romance x1
        Sci-Fi x3
        Self-Help x1
        Sociology x3
        Surrealism x1
        Writing x1
        A lot of those genres are fluid (I noticed at least one fantasy and the romance could have gone under GN/Manga, for example).

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