Into the wilds

Into the wilds

Kristen Nelson linked to this article on her blog, where I came across it:

Where the Boys Are Not

Pinter said that after he wrote the HuffPo item he was inundated with e-mails from librarians and teachers about societal issues with getting boys to read, and many thought curriculums were weighted toward girls. So do women and girls, who buy the most books, read more because people like them are acquiring and marketing their books?

Although Pinter reiterated to PW that he’s worked with “a lot of brilliant women in editorial” and readily acknowledged that they can and do publish books that interest men, he couldn’t help wondering if an industry so weighted toward the female side wouldn’t produce a different set of books than one a bit more diverse. “I hope it doesn’t get worse—if 85% [of the industry is female]—it’s hard to think that acquisitions aren’t in some way affected by that.”

Okay, so in light of the criticism of the literary establishment over Jonathan Franzen and the literary acclaim he has achieved, what do we have here? Slate’s article analyzed the claims that male writers have received more reviews in the New York Times than women have, and found it to be true.

Could it be that girls get the volume, but boys get the plaudits? And, more worrisome, are the boys getting the reviews because there are more women being published, and therefore Franzen and other male writers stand out?

I doubt very highly that were the situation reversed, as, say, it has been for the past three hundred or so years of publishing, that women would get more reviews than men. Not likely.

Yes, it would be good if more boys read books, as Pinter writes in the article.  But I find it laughable in a hollow kind of way that Pinter blames women editors for the imbalance.

After all,  for the reader of  the New York Times Book Review, they’d never know men were missing in the first place.


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