Men and Fiction

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Fallen
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Fallen » January 17th, 2010, 3:39 pm

I must be going wrong somewhere; my hubby reads at every opportunity. And it's a male author. Hmm, I think we need to go have a chat...Ian Rankin's my rival.

Nick
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Nick » January 18th, 2010, 1:45 pm

Fallen wrote:I must be going wrong somewhere; my hubby reads at every opportunity. And it's a male author. Hmm, I think we need to go have a chat...Ian Rankin's my rival.
I can totally understand that. Rankin's a genius at crime fiction, and even if the prose itself ain't the greatest, it's still very good. Can't get me to put a Rebus down once I've started, which is generally why I avoid reading Rankin outside of my own home. I was planning to go down into the city for the day for something two years back, wound up sitting at the train station all day reading Tooth and Nail.

And a post above made me think of something. Will edit this post once I'm done checking some shiz out.

Okay, so, I was looking at my little library, and I have a total of 13 books written by female authors, and 4 books co-written by a woman. The 4 co-writtens are all different women, but each has man on there with them. 7 of the 13 solo female are the Harry Potter books, and 4 more are Agatha Christie. The only other two solo female author books I have are The Last Dodo and A Place of Execution, by Jacqueline Rayner and Val McDermid, respectively. I literally have over three hundred books. I forget the exact number, but it's somewhere in the 50s, so we'll just say 350 on the nose. .04% of my collection involves a female author in some way. Ouch.

Fallen
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Fallen » January 20th, 2010, 3:40 pm

You'd get on well with my hubby, nick. Are you like him: you won't touch anything of Rankin's bar Rebus?

My genre is horror and sci-fi; I think we total about six book cases between us, including some WW1 satire. Reading's like a bad case of piles: it gets worse the more you scratch it. Ihate a good book, I tend to forget I've got kids when I've got one.

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knight_tour
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by knight_tour » January 21st, 2010, 3:57 am

I agree with some of the comments I read about there being too much emphasis on YA fiction these days. Hey, I read Harry Potter and it was good, but it seems like this is all I am seeing come out these days. I want some more gritty, realistic fantasy along the lines of George R.R. Martin. That's why I wrote my fantasy novel, though I suspect it won't get picked up by an agent, because it isn't YA. It can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy - if publishers think the bulk of sales will go to women, they will aim to buy more stories for them.

matildamcc
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by matildamcc » January 21st, 2010, 9:59 am

I wonder if it's partly a generational thing. Despite growing up in a bookish house, my sons grew up playing video games not reading fiction. My husband and I sometimes wonder if they are able to follow a narrative the same way we are (they get bored easily by a lot of movies). They do have friends who grew up loving Harry Potter and reading sci fi/fantasy and so on, so perhaps that's why there are still so many young sci/fi fantasy writers out there. But my sons couldn't stand Harry Potter....I was the HP reader in the house.

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marilyn peake
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by marilyn peake » January 22nd, 2010, 5:31 pm

I wonder what the actual statistics are. I know quite a few men (including my husband) who devour books in every genre, one right after the other. They’re huge readers. And there are lots of best-selling male authors. It may be that overall book sales are down, and when we see YA books written for teenage girls make the New York Times Best Seller List, we might misinterpret how many books were actually sold. I recently read a few blog posts by women authors of YA novels for teenage girls that made the New York Times Best Seller List. On their blogs, they revealed how much money they actually made on each of those books. The amount was appallingly low, equivalent to many low-paying jobs. It might just be that there are a LOT of books out there, and adults – both men and women – are reading lots of them, but not always enough from the same author (because there are so many authors today) to boost most of those books onto the New York Times Best Seller List. Also, now that Kindle offers classic books for free, I know men who are catching up on reading the classics for free.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

Nick
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Nick » January 22nd, 2010, 6:36 pm

Fallen wrote:You'd get on well with my hubby, nick. Are you like him: you won't touch anything of Rankin's bar Rebus?
I actually haven't gotten to any of his other stuff yet. I want to read all of the Rebus novels first, then I'll dive into his other works and the Rebus short stories. Figure if I dislike the non-Rebus stuff, I'll just stop reading it. Can't hurt to give it a try, though, especially considering how wonderful Rebus has been so far. I'm going slow with Rebus though. Picked up Strip Jack and The Black Book the other night, and as I am going in order, well, it's been quite a while since I bought and read Tooth and Nail.
Also, now that Kindle offers classic books for free, I know men who are catching up on reading the classics for free.
Honestly a lot of the classics have been free for a while. Guess Kindle just makes them more portable *shrug* If I want portable, I'll get them as I have them now, in print. Even if War & Peace is a mortar shell.

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Tycoon
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Tycoon » January 27th, 2010, 8:42 am

For what its worth... I enjoy Nicholas Sparks!!!

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Todd Packer
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Todd Packer » February 4th, 2010, 12:50 pm

If men realized that Die Hard was based on a novel, perhaps they would read more.

Nick
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Nick » February 4th, 2010, 7:33 pm

Todd Packer wrote:If men realized that Die Hard was based on a novel, perhaps they would read more.
This man knew this, but this man already read a lot long before this revelation was made (admittedly, this was only in, like, June) and has never seen Die Hard. Or a Rocky film. Or the Godfather. Or Fight Club. I can go on with the heresy. Also, as I understand it, Die Hard takes its fair share of liberties with the novel (which I haven't myself read, so I'm going on the word of a friend).

superdarklayers
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by superdarklayers » February 5th, 2010, 6:51 pm

For those who argue more new female writers, any data outright that shows that? In any case, there was a rise in readers and especially young people reading without any mention of gender, according to this study. Moreover, are their really fewer men reading than ever before? The National Endowment of Arts found rises in reading across ethnic groups and genders:

http://www.arts.gov/research/ReadingonRise.pdf

"Whites, African Americans, and Hispanics have all shown significant growth in their reading
rates, as have both adult men and women." page 1

The rate of growth was actually slightly higher among males than females. page 6.

Nick
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Nick » February 5th, 2010, 9:30 pm

superdarklayers wrote:For those who argue more new female writers, any data outright that shows that?
No official data, but it certainly seems to be the trend. I'd also be willing to slog through the research if I could find a list of novels published in 2009. Surprised wikipedia doesn't have a "List of novels published in 2009 article". They seem to have lists of everything else. And yes, I'm only willing to do 2009. Heaven knows how many novels were published over the past decade but far too many for me to be doing this just to satiate the curiosity of myself and a few other people.

superdarklayers
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by superdarklayers » February 6th, 2010, 12:39 am

Well, I just checked the Costa/Whitebread Prize Debut Novel Winners and the Guardian First Book Prize Award.

If you add up all of the writers shortlisted for a story collection or novel from 01 to 09 with respect to Guardian First Book Prize Award, there were 13 women and 12 men. 8 of the winners since 99 were male compared to 3 women (most for nonfiction). This thread is about fiction though and if you just rely on short story collections and novels then 3 women and 2 men. (Though two of the women won for story collections, and this estimate exludes a graphic novel written by a man). So, a female edge, but just +1 in both cases.

As for the Costa/Whitebread Debut Novel, 6 of the 11 past winners were male from '99 to '09. 23 of the authors shortlisted were male, compared with 21 female. (Also fwiw, even the most recent years show a fair number. The '09 Costa winner for best first novel went to a male, and 3/4 shortlisted that year were guys. Though 3/4 women in '08 and a female winner).

4 of the 10 John W. Campbell Award winners (science fiction) for Best New Writer were male in the past decade.

Although these don't represent all new and emerging writers, they are a measure of presence.

Also for several years readership was declining until 2002 and it went up since.

How overwhelming are females among new writers and is it really an issue or the issue? Readership started to go down in the 1980s, and there's no evidence that the effect was lesser among men. The numbers went UP among both females and males towards the end of this decade. So if more women are new writers in the most recent years, do they account for lower numbers over the 80s or 90s?

Someone mentioned a time issue. Men tend to work more in the labor force, but when you add in childcare and housework, the number of hours come out even (Slate article: http://www.slate.com/id/2164268/pagenum/all/#p2). And guys actually sleep less and have more leisure time. Finally, one journalist mentioned in her book 168 hours that the average American watches 30 hours of television in a week.

Nick
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by Nick » February 6th, 2010, 7:42 am

Interesting data on those awards. Although I can't help but wonder, either A. men are writing better novels, but women are being published more frequently, or B. men and women are being published at more or less the same rate or men have a small lead, and it's just that the female novelists are the once receiving a bigger marketing campaign, or as a Bb. the women's books are catching on with the mass populace and thus providing themselves with better marketing, whereas the male novels seem to be niche. Just a thought.

Edit:

Okay, so it isn't exactly a list of all novels published in 2009, but I found several top X-type book lists of '09 or lists of top sellers and such. I'm not counting one site I found, because it states it only lists female authors, and the list is very very long and looking like it's five times the length of the 154 novels from those other lists combined. 154 books total. 55 of those are by male authors. 2 are by some group I've never heard of. The remaining 97 are by female authors. Now, this is of course a representation of people's tastes and not actual publishing trends, but I still think that data goes a pretty long way.

wetair
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Re: Men and Fiction

Post by wetair » February 6th, 2010, 8:39 pm

I don't care about the gender of the main character. In order to get a list of books published (do reprints count?) we could go to the major publishers and get a 2009 list of their catalog. or maybe there is a library that has that info. or wait, wiki does have 2009 novel list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:2009_novels

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