About a year ago I asked you guys for book suggestions, and read several great books I otherwise wouldn’t have known about as a result. So I’m doing it again. The holidays are rolling around, and I need to load up my Kindle to keep me occupied during travel. So by all means, tell me what you’ve read lately, or about some of your old faves.
Gigi was kind enough to send me a copy of her book, and you guys may already know her from The Ramble. I am a big fan of her travel blog.
And speaking of books –
I’m sure a bazillion peeps have already ignited the blogosphere with this one, but I tuned the internet out over the weekend, so the WSJ article Why Women Writers Still Take Men’s Names is new to me. In a nutshell, women writing in genres with more male readers, like sci-fi, sometimes use a male or gender ambiguous pseudonym so as not to alienate potential readers. Studies have shown that men are more likely to read male writers. Not exactly surprising. It also reminded me of a conversation I once had with an acquaintance. I asked him about the book he was reading, to which he replied, “It stinks of woman.” He was also Russian, so go ahead and reread that sentence with a super heavy accent. Anyway, he went on to say he didn’t care for female writers, because even if they were writing from a male perspective, their ‘woman-ness always comes out’.
Whatever that means.
I also went to a writing conference once in which an agent told the audience he wouldn’t request to read a submission that was written from the opposite gender perspective of the author. He said they are too hard of a sale to publishers. Is he right? I have no idea, but clearly agents are still suggesting writers use gender neutral names.
To be fair, it works both ways, the WSJ article points out male authors of bodice rippers/romance books do the same thing.
Personally, I’ve submitted short stories in the sci-fi/speculative fiction and horror genres under a male pen name for the simple reason that I think there is some truth to the idea that female writers aren’t considered serious contenders in those areas (particularly women that have previously published women’s fiction).
What do you guys think? Does an author’s gender ever sway your decision about reading a book?