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?