SHOULD books be classified along gender lines? Are there such things as ‘women’s’ books and ‘men’s’ books? I’m not convinced that there are, or that books should be labelled, marketed or advertised as such. For me, there are only books that you read and books that you don’t.
I know that some books, particularly so-called ‘chick lit’ novels, are being aimed at women and I would presume that more women buy these books than men, but I’ve been asking myself whether I, and many other men, are missing out on some very good stories.
I recently recommended Monica McInerney’s novel, The Alphabet Sisters, as one to read. I spoke about her books being a guilty pleasure of mine, mainly because they would be described as ‘women’s’ books, and I chose a lovely pink and yellow cover of the book to include in the feature. The truth is, I’m not guilty at all about reading Monica McInerney, and I would encourage you all to do so.
I thought about this issue of gender labelling again last week when I bought a copy of a new book, Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti. I’d already read the first three chapters of the book and really enjoyed them, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the novel.
Watch the video trailer for Watch Over Me
There has been a lot of blogging interest in the book, and one site specialising in ‘women’s’ novels had an interview with Daniela, which caught my eye. The interview was excellent publicity for the book, but it jarred with me that the book was being labelled in such a way. A good book is a good book, regardless of who writes it or reads it.
The increasing popularity of ebooks will, I believe, lead to more women reading ‘men’s’ books and probably more so, men reading ‘women’s’ books. I read an article recently about Mills & Boon books. They have traditionally, and predominantly, been bought by women, but increasing ebook sales has apparently seen a rise in the number of male readers who are no longer embarrassed about reading a Mills & Boon book for the simple reason that no-one else now knows what they’re reading on their Kindle or iPad.
Many men might still be embarrassed about been seen in possession of a Mills & Boon book, or any so-called ‘women’s’ books, but take away the embarrassment, and I’m convinced many of them will start reading these books.
I have to admit that even with the discretion provided by a Kindle, I’m not sure that I’ll ever read a Mills & Boon publication, but I will continue reading other books that might be identified as ‘women’s’ books, if only in the hope that I’ll turn a page and stumble across a dramatic car chase, lots of explosions, some dead bodies and a few hard-drinking heroes who always get the girl, and then leave them before dawn.
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