Okay, the title rather says it all, but this blog is actually about why men prefer reading novels by male authors, while women favor female authors. This is not an opinion but a fact. Not sure where it came from but a fact, nonetheless.
This element about literature and the sexes started 40,000 years ago in a small cave somewhere in Europe. A singularly talented Neanderthal gathered his buddies one Friday night and after a few rounds of caveman libations, drew some excellent artwork on the cave wall using chalk, charcoal, blood, and flower dye. This first picture book / novel was drawn in three scenes: 1. A rousing illustration of him and his tribal fellows attacking a neighboring village. 2. A stunning depiction of a mass killing of all the men in the village. 3. The victors clubbing the enemies' women and dragging them back to their caves. The artist beamed as his fellow Neanderthals clapped, jumped, and hooted at the mural in great admiration of the author and artist's skills.
And thus the first picture book was written and the first literary critic also gave the first ever review of a book. The artist's wife stared at the cave book painting, frowned, and then opined, "I don't like the ending."
Men liking men's books and women liking women's books is genetic. Earlier this year, Esquire came out with its listing of "80 Books Every Man Should Read." Out of the 80 books listed, guess how many were written by women? Time's up! One. Yep. Only Flannery O'Connor made it into the literary sausage-fest with her novel, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," and Flannery sounds like a man's name anyway.
So do men buy books written by men because they fantasize killing bad guys, ravishing women they'll never have in real life, and having untold riches? The short answer is, "Yes." The long answer is, "Yes they do."
And likewise, do women like their novels written by women that have a female protagonist who is wealthy and surrounded by attractive men who love the main character for her powers of deduction, cunning, intelligence, and stunning good looks? Yes. And does this blog post so far sound sexist, narrow-minded and typically male? Again the short answer is, yes.
Of course there are exceptions. I have read Harper Lee and Flannery O'Connor and Margaret Mitchell, but very few contemporary women authors, although I enjoyed, The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins. I was forced to read George Sand and Virginia Woolf in college, but that doesn't count. And then there's my wife who reads James Patterson and John Grisham and hasn't suffered from the experience.
But I do have some proof from an author herself. J.K. Rowling admitted she used her initials for fear that boys wouldn't read books written by women. Obviously, she was right.
Men like novels with lots of sex and violence and no romance. Women like novels with lots of romance and no sex and violence. Men like novels that have solutions to problems. Women like novels where they talk about solutions to problems.
It's pretty obvious my new novel, Deviant Acts, is written by a man. There is a love story and there is sex handled tastefully, yet after the lulls there is the typical action and violence. I apparently have been conditioned by too many Warner Brothers cartoons and sexist male relatives.
All right, I have no real basis for believing as I do, but when I pick up a book by a woman author I usually get through two or three chapters and then give up on it. I'm sorry. It's my fault. I'm so shallow. Shame on me.
But if the Neanderthal women had banded together and wiped out all the men in their tribes, except for that one sensitive, good-looking guy, we wouldn't have this problem.