Blog » Susan_Hawthorne » Why men don’t read books by women
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Why men don’t read books by women 22 Apr 2010

you can tell we no longer
know our classics
a postmodern breakfast
of
Greek and Latin
μετα− meta-: Greek preposition meaning
with or after
data: plural of datum
(past participle of the verb dare to give)
Latin for a thing given or granted,
something known or assumed as fact,
and made the basis of reasoning or calculation

μεταdata is definitely after: after the date
of my dictionary, printed in 1977
metadata is the data that comes with or after the book

a whole world of information and facts
attached to an eBook with ones and zeros

a spreadsheet of working days
column after column after column after column after

six columns of ISBNs
two ways of listing the title
long blurbs and short
subject matter and keywords
prices in different currencies
dimensions in metric and imperial
an excerpt and its source
a review and its source
and more …

and everyone wants something different
I’m after
and after
I’m over it

Associated Author: Susan Hawthorne

Comments
Anne Tyler is one of my favourite authors and I'd put in a vote for The Accidental Tourist. Though Magaret Atwood should get a nomination for anything from Edible Woman to Year of Flood.
Posted by George Dunford | 22 Apr 2010
I'm told that women do not know how men think. Maybe they're right. Maybe our male characters do not think or act like men. It would be interesting to do a blind study with the same book under a male and female author and see if men still disliked it when they thought it was written by a man.

With the exception of a few men who I admire and trust I'm done trying to get men to read good books written by women. If they want to know about a book I'm reading they can ask.
Posted by Elisabeth Tilton | 22 Apr 2010
Lots of studies were done on essays and the marks teachers gave according to whether they believed it was by a male or female. Boys always did better - even the pretend ones.
Posted by Susan_Hawthorne | 22 Apr 2010
One of the insights I had when doing the prolific women's studies and reading I did for our group Difficult Women was that the reason I had been unable to understand women's writing previously was in part due to the way the patriarchal history of literature positioned men at the centre of experience and women on the periphery. The early women writers were diarists and it was when I was able to move myself from my 'privileged' centre and stand on the edge that I was able to see and understand women's perspective. The perspective shift was what enabled me to finally understand the early writing.
Posted by Joe Dolce | 06 May 2010
In the last month or so, I have read Elizabeth Strout's Amy & Isabelle and Abide with me, Curtis Sittenfeld's The Man of my Dreams, Hilary Mantel's Fludd, Lional Shriver's A perfectly good family, Alison Kennedy's What becomes and Sonya Hartnett's Of a boy.

I find the Orange Prize the most interesting of the major literary prizes for throwing up authors I had not previously heard of but who are a pleasure to read - Nancy Huston, Kamila Shamsie. Hopefully many of our fine Australian writers have achieved a wider audience through the Orange Prize - not just Kate Grenville but also Maria Hyland, Michelle de Kretzer etc.

Probably fewer men read, but those that do ... do they really discriminate because of the gender of the author? Pity, if that is so. Today I spoke to male collegue who mentioned 2 books - Wolf Hall, which he has recently read and We need to talk about Kevin, which he was about to start. The last male colleague before I spoke to had also read Wol
Posted by Graham Anderson | 07 May 2010
Susan, this is so complex, but the suggestions you've made would seem to be the best way of going about things and changing the habits and mindsets through encouragement to seek out and enjoy interesting, and friendly, perspectives that don't just pander to preconceptions and provide the comfort of affirmation of patriarchal values. You can only do what you can, and be careful not to alienate and hope that appreciation and acknowledgement follow. Must reads - that would be a long list. Thanks for considering what to do about this.
Posted by John Burke | 31 May 2010

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