Dear Men, It’s Okay to Read (and Love) Books by Women

books - neon sign

As you all know, I’ve been spending some time in the online dating world. It’s horrible and I hate it. All the men start to sound the same and I know deep-down I’m not going to be attracted to them if/when we meet in person. And as a book nerd, when I am looking at a guy’s profile, I will automatically look for the books they have read. Buzzfeed recently had a post about a woman who noticed that men will only list white male authors as their “favorite books.” And she would encourage them to message her if they had read books by women. Most of them said, “Does J.K. Rowling count?” To answer this question for myself, yes, J.K. Rowling counts. I think most people automatically think of Harry Potter when they respond, but did you know she’s written other books? Check out The Casual Vacancy and the Coroman Strike Series writing as Robert Galbraith when you get the chance. And I KNOW that the Harry Potter books are great, I think they should be everyone’s favorite books. But that’s it? That’s the only woman you read that you liked? No adult books? As a reader, I think it’s important to read outside your comfort zone, broaden the selection of reading, and gather some new perspectives. That’s all I’m asking. Your favorites will still be there.

And ever since that article, I have also noticed the same observation in many dating profiles.

To be clear, if a guy says he doesn’t read, I’m not going to like him –just outright.

no fun allowedFor the guys who read, please also consider reading women (or for that matter, men who are not white). I think these reading choice comes from a few places, 1) Popular white male authors is more indicative of the larger issue of the lack of diversity in publishing. 2) you believe the stigma of Fiction written by women is somehow less-than in terms of your reading preference. If you’re going to be high-brow about it, below are some writers you can check out without sacrificing your masculinity! These lists are in no way comprehensive and I cannot claim that I have read all these authors, but I’ve read most, and plan to read all of them. And they are critically acclaimed elsewhere so I know that they have a strong readership. Also, I’ve divided them by Literary Fiction and Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors because those are the two genres I see the most on OkCupid (holla at me SFF nerds!). If you click on the name it will take you to one of their more popular books.

Literary Fiction (women):

  1. Donna Tartt
  2. Helen Oyeyemi
  3. Jacqueline Woodson
  4. Roxane Gay
  5. Isabel Allende
  6. Sylvia Plath
  7. Toni Morrison
  8. Kate Atkinson
  9. Virginia Woolf
  10. Jami Attenberg
  11. Julia Alvarez
  12. Zadie Smith
  13. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  14. Jhumpa Lahiri
  15. Alissa Nutting
  16. Celeste Ng

SFF (women)

  1. Margaret Atwood
  2. Erika Johansen
  3. N.K. Jemisin
  4. Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Ann Leckie
  6. Octavia E. Butler
  7. Nnedi Okorafor
  8. V.E. Schwab
  9. Naomi Novik
  10. Emily St. John Mandel
  11. Isabel Yap
  12. Robin Hobb
  13. Nalo Hopkinson
  14. Sherri L. Smith
  15. Grace Lin
  16. Charlaine Harris 

I have seen a few profiles that have women listed as favorite books, so it’s not all men. It’s just most of them, and that’s why I’m making this post.

Happy Reading!

Pusheen Book

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5 thoughts on “Dear Men, It’s Okay to Read (and Love) Books by Women

  1. Great post and it’s given me a name or two to check out that I don’t already know of.

    I’m guessing you’re based in America, because I’m on and off dating sites myself – and I hate it, I just continue to hold on to faint hope – in the UK, and I list bookworm as my ‘personality trait’ (I’m also a newish writer and mention that fact), yet it seems that I’m the only one on there who is like that and no one else is in the least bit interested in reading (never mind writing).

    Maybe I just lucked out by being drawn to the horror genre, but there are tons of women writing some fantastic stories here. In fact, I’ve just finished Damien Angelica Walters’s collection Sing Me Your Scars, and it is an amazing bunch of dark, emotional and literary tales.

    Great wee piece.

    1. Thanks for reading the post! I sympathize because the matches I see online are completely off base! Still figuring out if it’s worth my time. Thanks for the recommendation! I will check her out.

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