Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hanging out with the Boys

For a long time I've been guilty of a reading sin: I read far more female authors than I do male. Darby has visited this problem over on his blog, only in reverse. He vows to be better, as do I.

The question is why. I'm not certain I have a good answer, which troubles me.

Some of my favorite authors (yeah, right, sure) are male. Andre Dubus. Ernest Hemingway. Kent Haruf. William Gibson. But far more are female...Atwood, Didion, de Beauvior, Kathyrn Harrison. My shelves reflect my bias, canting dramatically estrogenward.

I suppose in reading I look for the unknown point of view, but seeing through a female character's eyes is reassuring. Most female writers these days have some stock in making their way in our weirdly sexualized society, and I am drawn toward those who have some pithy rejoinders therein. Atwood epitomizes this, but Susan Choi certainly had plenty to say about being an Asian female, and my current read, Sigrid Nunez's The Last of Her Kind, dissects growing up in the sixties, free love, rape, and all.

Good God. I sound like a raving, unshaven feminist. I'm not. I'm equal opportunity: I think everyone should be treated fairly and most people are jerks. This is a most unfortunate view, but seriously, look around you. How many people in your life are jerks?

I rest my case. Still, good readers read widely. That means across the proverbial gender divide. Hence my game attempt at Ian McEwan. My slow realization that I should really join the masses and read Richard Powers. I'd like to read Calvin Trillin's memoir of Alice, except I am afraid of bawling all over it. The new Roddy Doyle sounds good, too.

Both of the aforementioned are about...women.

Well, a thorough rereading of Raymond Carver, untouched since grad school, is clearly in order. I am trying. I won't call it a resolution. It's too late for that. But a game attempt.

On a final, sorta related note: my past two fiction projects (one abandoned, may or may not complete, the other current) involve male narrators. Go figure.


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