For several years now something called the VIDA Count has been getting a lot of play in book reviewing and media circles. Basically it's a count of how many of the books reviewed in major sources are by men and how many are by women, and who's doing the reviewing. The news hasn't been good if you're looking for equity between the sexes. You can see all the charts for books reviewed in 2013 here.
What I found most interesting this past year about tracking my own reading was how far off I was in my own estimate of what I read. I actually didn't want to write this post, discussing how many male authors I read versus how many female authors I read, because I thought I would be embarrassed to share the fact that I read a ton more male authors than female ones.* So what did I find?
Of the 99 total books I read, 63 were by women, and 36 were by men. What's more, a shocking 24 of the 36 titles written by men were novels. (I'm not good at math, but I think this means that of 99 books I read last year, only 12 were nonfiction titles by men.) I read 19 novels by women, and 44 nonfiction titles.
I tend not to pay a lot of attention to who is writing what I read, unless I notice books coming out by my particular favorites. Learning that I naturally read a lot more books written by women than men, and that I didn't read much male-written nonfiction at all, was very interesting to me. In future posts I'm going to look at my favorites and least favorites for the year, so I'll be kind of interested to see how that shakes out too. Stay tuned!
In the meantime: who do you read more, men or women? Does it matter to you in any way?
*I rather thought my book collection would look like my CD collection: that's a total sausage fest, with maybe one or two Sarah McLachlan and Dido CDs thrown in as the exceptions to the rule.