Esquire Reading List

Over at htmlgiant Roxanne Gay has blogged about a recent Esquire list, which lists 75 books a man should read (note: I’ve read 19 of the 75). She notes that only one of the books, Flannery O’Conner’s A Good Man is Hard to Find (one of my favorites!), is by a woman. The magazine has omitted many classic books, written by women, that deserve to make the list. Authors such as Ann Beattie, Susan Sontag, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, and dozens of others should be on that list. The idea of gendered writing and whether such a thing exists in literary fiction is a controversial point. Is there something inherent in the writing itself? The subject matter? The point of view? I, for one, believe gendered writing could not be picked out of an anonymous line-up of stories or novels. The magazine, and consequently the list, is geared toward men. Therefore, it is no surprise the list turned out the way it did. Roxanne Gay is right, though, in holding Esquire accountable for the extreme bias in the list.

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