Book List

23:56 Mon 24 Nov 2008. Updated: 17:12 28 Jan 2009
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I haven’t got any graphs, despite what I said last time. I had some, but messed them up while experimenting with Flot, and in any case they weren’t quite what I wanted. However, I did solve some of the other issues I was having with my book-tracking application, and am relatively happy with the current view.

It’s still not all that exciting, but I like having the information in one place, and I like the fact that I now have in one nice view all the books I’ve read so far this year.

One thing made abundantly clear by this list is that I my reading is incredibly biased towards male authors. There are 59 books by 61 authors on that list, and only six authors are definitely female; if I count K. J. Parker as female, that would still only bring it up to nine. Either 10.34% or 14.75%, in other words. Considering that a) the book I’m currently reading is Dumas’ Twenty Years Later and b) of the twelve books that I just got from Amazon only one is written by a woman—The Fall of the Kings, which is technically written by two women, but still—it doesn’t look like that ratio is going to get much better this year, and is likely to be worse.

I’ve been aware of this tilt in my reading habits for a while, but haven’t really been able to do anything about it. I don’t tend to notice the gender of the author all that much while I’m reading, and my experience of reading books written by women hasn’t led me to believe that I’d prefer books by men (or women—it’s felt quite neutral). Nevertheless, I seem to end up reading a lot more by men. I don’t know what the gender split in actual books published is, but I suspect it’s better than my ratio.

I’ll have to make more of an effort, I suppose, to get a better balance. I intend to try some Lois McMaster Bujold next year—if I end up reading a lot of her work, I’ll definitely have a much higher proportion of women-written books.

My suspicion, however, is that over time, if I don’t make a conscious effort, I’ll tend towards reading 80%-plus male-written books. While that’s not a terrible thing in itself, I’d like to understand better why that is.

(Actually, after finishing this post I realized that a second book in that bunch from Amazon is written by a woman: Melissa Roth’s The Left Stuff. Which also reminds me to lobby again to have handedness included in the person schema. How to then get that data for entry into Freebase is another question, but I would of course love to see my reading ratio for left-handed versus right-handed authors…)

One Response to “Book List”

  1. Helen Says:

    Has it something to do with the genres you read in? I haven’t done a gender audit of my reading recently, but have a horrible suspicion it might be similar to yours… hm.

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