So, I've explained, probably more on Facebook than here at the blog, why now when I"m purchasing books, be it at a store, a used store, online, or even from quickly set up booths on a street, or when I'm requesting a review copy from a publisher, that I will not buy or ask for more male authored books than I will female authored books.
It comes down to the fact that I know that more books are being reviewed and touted that are penned by males than are so when penned by females. I know that if I look at the list of titles that I'm looking forward to based on past interactions with the author's work(s), that it has a male-penned slant to it for those very same reasons--for the 20-30 years I've been a heavy reader, I had greater opportunities to find out about books written by men.
Based on recent events, I think I'm going to have to change my policy. Well, at least in the cases of purchasing books--I don't think I'd feel right in changing this policy when it comes to requesting galleys or review copies as on a regular basis, the best PR that publisher/author/book gets out of me is a mention that I received the book here and on FB and Twitter--I don't find the time to review every one of them, no matter how much I'd love to.
But, I do believe that the new policy when buying is going to have to change to that I purchase at least one MORE title penned by a female than those penned by males. And the thing is, this policy doesn't hurt male writers; I'm still going to buy works written by men that I've enjoyed books by in the past, or have heard great things about. I'm just going to have to continue developing a better library of female authored titles. Which isn't going to hurt me at all either as since I've begun this policy I've done nothing but find wonderful novels and stories to read. So this upgrade to the policy is one I look forward to.
Recent developments you may inquire? This has happened two times in a row now but I'll only go through the details of this last incident. When you purchase books at a Barnes & Noble, they give you a little attachment to your receipt headed with "YOU MAY ALSO LIKE..."
The titles I purchased were:
Barbara the Slut, a debut short story collection by Laura Holmes
Make Your Home Among Strangers, the debut novel and 2nd title from Jennine Capo Crucet
Gangsterland, Tod Goldberg's best-selling novel, fairly deep into his career now (not at all to imply he's nearing the end, just that this is more than his first or second title published)
The titles recommended to me:
There Must Be Some Mistake by Frederick Barthelme, a novel, one of at least a few by Barthelme (now this one does have Goldberg's Gangsterland pop up on the Amazon page for it as "one other people purchased."
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, a novel that only has the fact that it was authored by a woman as a similarity with any of the above.
Redeployment by Phil Klay, which is a wonderful short story collection and so has that in common with the Holmes titles I guess.
Perfidia by James Ellroy, which I suppose has L.A. in connection with Goldberg's novel.
Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon.
So, I buy three titles, two by women, and am suggested to run back in and purchase five titles, four of them by men with not much tying them together to make me understand WHY I'd like those particular titles. They didn't think to suggest Mia Alvarez's collection, or Rebecca Makkai's--both of which, like Holmes', are debut AND STILL ON THEIR NEW TITLE SHELVES? Maybe Patricia Engel's It's Not Love, It's Just Paris, also a debut novel published after a very well received debut story collection? Or dozens and dozens of other titles that are undoubtedly more like what I purchased than the five they suggested? And this is not meant as a sleight to any of that quintet suggested. It just seems to one more means of having books by men suggested more frequently than those by women.
Hence, the upgrade to my policy.