Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Reading Guides FAIL

Happy Monday everyone!

Often summertime means reading lists...  you know, those big summer blockbusters and well as new discoveries...

Well, Library Journal just published two summer reading lists - one for men and one for women.  Here are the introductory paragraphs:
Summer 2011’s action/adventure thrillers offer readers old friends, some new buddies, and a couple of wannabes who don’t quite measure up. Characters in these stories rely on their friends to help them win or die trying. So before you take on international skullduggery and domestic thuggery, first make sure your own buddies have your back—invite ’em to a barbecue at the pool. Then they’ll owe you when the bad guys come calling.

Make room in your beach tote for a mix of favorite authors and debut novelists from this year’s crop of summer women’s fiction reads. Ensemble reads—featuring best friends, sisters, or soon-to-be friends—remain popular, while several titles include dashes of mystery and intrigue along with the usual romance and fun.
Can you guess which paragraph was for men's list?  I am really bothered by these lists and I am not the only one.  The fact that it came from Library Journal is also troubling.  Dividing the lists by gender is lazy and offensive.  Women read thriller, action and suspense novels.  Men read cozies and romance.  Not all women want to read character based relationship novels, nor do men only want buddy books fighting bad guys.  LJ should have created genre lists - a Thriller Summer Reading List, a Cozy Summer Reading List, a Hang out with Girlfriends Summer List, etc... 

Do lists like these bother you - or is it just me?  As a reader, a list like this serves no purpose to me.  As a bookseller, I would have failed if I assumed every woman who came into the store only read women authors.  As a woman, I am just plain irritated.

What do you think?  Check out the lists on your own:


Lois Winston said...

Terri, I don't like anything that smacks of sexism. I rarely choose books based on reviews, though. I'll read a book if it appeals to me, no matter what a critic has said. Same with movies. Some of my favorites are ones that the critics panned. Conversely, I've walked out of movies and tossed aside books that have received rave reviews. But here's the irony when it comes to sexism, scanning my bookshelves, I discovered that about 85-90% of the books I've read were written by women authors.

Kathleen Ernst said...

I don't appreciate these either. LJ is making assumptions about reader tastes, based on gender? Sticking with topical lists makes a lot more sense.

Robin Allen said...

I don't pay much attention to any list my book isn't on, but now that you've brought LJ's lists to my attention, I'm still not going to pay attention to it. I read what I like, which is usually not what everyone else is reading.