Kant Stop Reading Female Authors!


Last week I finally finished reading the eight books I was sent to judge for the RITA contest.

After that marathon, I said on Twitter, “I finished reading all EIGHT of my RITA books; now reading books by male authors only for awhile. Preferably where people die.” To which a snarky Twitter friend replied, “Oh, so you’re going to try reading like every literary critic in the world for a while.”

Ha! But then I thought about it, and realized that because of my reading tastes, I read primarily female authors. And then, when I strolled back through my reading history, I realized that while I haven’t eschewed male authors–Raymond Chandler, Neal Stephenson, Bernard Cornwell and P.G. Wodehouse are among my favorites–I have always peppered my reading with female authors. Even when I wasn’t reading romance.

Now, is this cool? Maybe. But I wish it were just something that could be, without looking to gender, or race, or any other marker of self to gauge a person’s output. I’ve always espoused the Kantian a priori method of critique, wherein you try to know as little about the item you are ingesting so as not to prejudice yourself.

(Sometimes it’s been a problem when I discover the author’s prejudices after I’ve inhaled the work–C.S. Lewis‘s Narnia series was distorted for me when I realized his deep religious beliefs formed the ideas. Knowing Jim Thompson was a drunk did help explain a lot, though).

I do wish it were less of a ‘thing’ for who is what and what they stand for. My own writing is definitely skewed because of my identity as a white Northeast-raised female living in the late 20th century, but I would hope you wouldn’t have to know that to appreciate my work. In fact, if you did have to know that, I’m doing something wrong.

The books I read, by the way, are HIGHLY recommended: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth and The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (Carolyn first recommended him to me).

Anyway. Which is to say, who’s the last male author you read?

Megan

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