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It has occurred to me that lately the only books I seem to enjoy are by women and about women - anyone else?

(17 Posts)
shoppingbagsundereyes Tue 19-Nov-13 07:05:25

I'm 40 and I reckon for the last five years the books I've engaged with most are of the Maggie O Farrell type. I read two or three novels a month so lots in a year. This is so different from when I was younger - I did an English degree so read really widely and certainly didn't have a preference for female authors per se in my twenties. Anyone else find this?

48th Tue 19-Nov-13 07:23:21

I have rediscovered this-read through the Virago published catalogue as a teen then forgot how much I loved willa catha and the others. Just recently have been reading and using audible more and realised I was missing the women writers. Am seeking them out and enjoying them more.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 19-Nov-13 07:52:11

You mean quality literature, don't you? Not chick-lit, just in case there's a misunderstanding. Because chick-lit sometimes causes threads to get a bit heated wink

DuchessofMalfi Tue 19-Nov-13 07:53:49

Actually, I seem to be going in the opposite direction recently, and reading more books written by men. Although I did enjoy Maggie O'Farrell's Instructions for a Heatwave recently.

Who else have you read, and what would you recommend?

bimblebee Tue 19-Nov-13 13:06:31

I hate chick-lit but really enjoy quality women's writing and love Maggie O'Farrell.
Other female writers in a similar vein to look out for are:

Julie Myerson, Susan Fletcher, Helen Howe, Lesley Glaister, Erin Kelly, Helen Dunmore.

Louise1956 Tue 19-Nov-13 17:17:56

One of my very favourite authors is Barbara Pym, whose main characters are usually women. Jane and Prudence is my favourite, very funny book.

shoppingbagsundereyes Tue 19-Nov-13 17:24:11

Can't stand chick lit

DuchessofMalfi Tue 19-Nov-13 17:49:30

I went through a phase of reading Iris Murdoch's novels. She was good, but sometimes a bit complex. I had to study one of her novels, The Bell, for A Level. That one's very readable.

I am v much the opposite. Other than The Wonderful Jane, I enjoy few female authors, and find my patience with them has got lower as I've got older. I find most contemporary female writers (Helen Dunmore, Kate Atkinson, Sarah Waters, Ann Tyler etc etc) really tedious, I'm afraid.

Hullygully Tue 19-Nov-13 18:16:27

Really Remus? I thought Dunmore's books about the Siege of Leningrad brilliant.

Campaspe Tue 19-Nov-13 19:18:20

OP, I am 40 and find hte same thing. I am a voracious reader, but I don't get enough time to really indulge. I think this makes me more selfish and narrows my horizons, as I find I very much want stories that reflect my own life experience. I especially love stories about motherhood, and stories about middle-aged women triumphing and finding their way in life. What that says about me, I don't care to ponder on! But if anyone can recommend any books in this vein, I'm all ears...

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 21-Nov-13 00:47:07

I like Maggie O'Farrell's, and have enjoyed the odd one each by Julie Myerson and Susan Fletcher and also have some of the old Virago 'feminist' classic authors as some of my old favourites - Willa Cather, Margaret Lawrence, Miles Franklin, Margaret Atwood etc.

BUT my favourite authors and the ones I identify with the most are all male writers. Authors such as Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, Paul Auster et al are ones who I always hope and wish for a new novel from each Autumn and who I feel describe the human condition so well. There are some dead male authors whom I also love - but am not expecting something from them anytime soon! - such as Richard Yates, John Updike, Saul Bellow etc.

Though going back full circle to women, probably my very favourite author of all is Alice Munro; she seems to convey both the domestic and the universal unlike anyone else.

AmyTanFan Fri 22-Nov-13 00:04:22

Yes, I almost exclusively read women writers. And mostly American women, too. (apart from Jane Austen, obv). Louise Erdrich, Donna Tartt, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, Willa Cather, Claire Messud, Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen.

bibliomania Fri 22-Nov-13 11:25:10

For fiction, I do tend to go distaff. Especially agree with Louise about the glory that is Barbara Pym. So very sane.

Just finished Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach - lovely and warm.

For non-fiction I have no particular gender preference.

(I'll be 40 next year, for those wondering if it's an age thing! Have always leaned this way though)

Levantine Fri 22-Nov-13 13:51:08

I know what you mean. I really enjoyed Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley. Naff title but one thing that really struck me was that she wrote about her children and their personalities when they were very young in a way that you hardly ever see in novels.

Also, not by a woman but amazing on being a mother was The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin.

maillotjaune Sat 23-Nov-13 16:59:27

I've never consciously picked books because of the author, but on the whole I read and enjoy more books by men. No particular reason but most of the books that interest me due to the subject matter are written by men.

Actually I think I like to be unaware of the author while I'm reading, so it's not that I want a blokey voice grin

The last book I read was a re-read Wolf Hall, and I'm reading The Luminaries at the moment and obviously those are both by women but I don't think of them as books that only a woman would write.

penguinpaperback Sat 23-Nov-13 23:51:28

Same here, just some of my favourite authors, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, Anne Tyler, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mollie Panter-Downes, lots of the Persephone authors.... and many more all women.
Except William Trevor. I have all his books.

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