The New York Times list

Okay, so Beloved was the best American fiction work of the past 25 years. That’s swell. Now I’m not one to flout the P.C. cause too much, but Morrison is only one of two women on the list. What’s up with that? Surely there’s more great fiction by women the last 25 years than just those two books — especially since women read a lot more fiction than men.

How’d that happen? Well, it might have something to do with the list of judges for the project. I’m not sure about all the names, but of 124 people on the list, I count 28 women — not much better than 20 percent. Seems to me the people being asked had more to do with the result than any definition of “best” — objective or subjective.

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5 Responses to The New York Times list

  1. Michele says:

    I think you’re on to something.

    I’ve heard that there are more women readers than men, but haven’t seen any sales figures to verify. Who’s written on the subject?

    Can you point me to a few articles?

  2. dave says:

    Hmmmm… I did a quick google search, and did find a couple things. This article is the best I could find just now.

  3. Ron Irons says:

    1) How many books must you have read to qualify to answer this question?

  4. dave says:

    I don’t doubt their judges have read a lot of books — they’re some of the best-known writers and reviewers in the nation. My beef is that they’re so disproportionately male. One would imagine that after 40-plus years of the women’s movement, the New York Times could offer more gender balance than that.

  5. Matt Bell says:

    Try this article here, about the differences between the reading habits of men and women. Basically, men read less varied authors than women do, so if all the critics are men, then the best books are probably going to be drawn from a smaller variety of writers.

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