I used to read a lot of fiction but almost every book I see on the shelves of the bookshops I frequent today provide near zero interest. My wife reads continuously but almost none of what interests her interests me (and vice versa I might add). Very little that is published seems to be written by men writing for other men about men doing the kinds of adventurous things men have always done. Anyway, I bring this up in response to a post at Instapundit that reprints this article: WHY WON’T MEN READ MY PREACHY LITERATI BULLSHIT? It’s a fisking of some female author who asks where have all the male book-readers gone? But what specially interested me were the comments on the article at Instapundit. These capture much of my own present frustration:
“So many books, so little time” is a meme I ponder as I look at the shortness of my life remaining and much of the absolute dreck being published these days. I will read most any genre if ‘I’ find it well written. If it makes me think, wonderful, if it just entertains, cool, if I think it’s a real page turner I’m in heaven, and I don’t really care who or what about the writer unless I was enthralled enough to seek out other works by the same author.
I’m not sure how they even gather the statistics she cites. I buy a lot of e-books and audiobooks. I don’t recall ever being asked if I was a guy or a ‘chick’ when I bought a book online. So how do they know who is reading what?
Furthermore, the last few times I went into an actual ‘new books’ bookstore, the latest selections in the scifi and mystery sections were wöke crap. So if I go into an actual bookstore, it’s likely that it’s a ‘used’ bookstore. I doubt that used bookstores report such data, and I doubt that publishers gather that data.
There are a number of excellent female authors. It’s entertaining if you are prepared ahead of time by knowing it’s all ‘manners and morals’ about money, marriage, and feminine intrigue, and mostly set indoors. Like listening to your favorite aunt tell funny family stories; pleasant Sunday afternoon conversation.
It seems to me – based on all the professional NYT reviews, NY Review of Books, the TImes LTS, etc. – that women’s fiction is being pushed hard (based on what reviewers’ bother to review). Everywhere it’s 90% women’s books that are being headlined…. Even in my favorite genres, male authors prefer female heroes. It’s all about female space captains, women warlords, girl magicians, and sultry female assassins.
Same with the movies.