Fiction and gender

Two British literature experts have been conducting a study comparing the favourite fiction books of men and women. Many of the interviewed had some professional connection to literature.

Apparently, they were much surprised by their findings which showed that men preferred angsty existentialist books while women preferred books of passionate struggle. The top 5 lists of each gender were as follows:

Men’s favourites:
(note: Marquez and Tolkien are in joint fourth place)

1. Albert Camus ?? The Outsider
2. J.D. Salinger ?? Catcher in the Rye
3. Kurt Vonnegut ?? Slaughterhouse Five
4. Gabriel Garcia Marquez ?? One Hundred Years of Solitude
J.R.R. Tolkien ?? The Hobbit
5. Joseph Heller ?? Catch 22

Women’s favourites:
1.Charlotte Bronte ?? Jane Eyre
2.Emily Bronte ?? Wuthering Heights
3. Margaret Atwood ?? The Handmaid??s Tale
4.George Eliot ?? Middlemarch
5.Jane Austen ?? Pride and Prejudice
Toni Morrison ?? Beloved

What I notice is not so much the theme of these books but rather the simple fact that men prefer books with a male protagonist while women prefer books with a female protagonist.

Big surprise.

My guess is that people prefer books with a protagonist and situations that they easily can relate to. That this is now proved as be gender stereotypical shouldn’t really surprise anybody.

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