I would like to share this exchange from the comments in a previous post, because I would love to hear all your thoughts on the topic! I mentioned that I believe myself to be a bit of a literary tomboy. I'm not much of a romantic and I was born with a severe lack of maternal instinct, so there are a lot of books out there that many women I know just adore, but they don't appeal to me at all. Because of this and the fact that I think of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice as a "girl book", I was worried that I may not see in it what so many other women see and love. This prompted the following comment from Damned Conjuror:
I don't think it's specifically a female book, do books have genders? I suppose that women are more inclined to enjoy an Austen book but I don't think that dictates whether it's for women or men. I don't know really, I'm just thinking that we do assign genders to books albeit being arbitrary e.g. a wartime action novel would be for males and a book about horses would be for females. Hmmm.
That was a great comment! It made me stop and think about how I do tend to label books. Not all of them, but I'm definitely guilty of the practice. Here was my reply:
I meant the "'girl' book" comment only as a generalization. No, I don't think books are really "girl" or "boy" books specifically, but there are some that seem to my mind to be more appealing or marketed to one gender than the other. For me, P&P falls into that category. And I understand that I'm making this judgment totally arbitrarily. :-) Weirdly, I would be surprised to see a guy reading P&P, but not a woman reading, for example, Patrick O'Brien's "Master & Commander". I think that just speaks to my own prejudice of believing that women are more open minded about crossing those imaginary lines than men are.
I want to open up this discussion to all of you. Are there books out there you tend to think of as "girl" books or "guy" books? And if so, do you tend to "cross the line"? Are you surprised to see a guy reading what you would think of as "chick lit"? How about the other way around?
And I'd like to thank Damned Conjuror for providing some fun food for thought on a Friday morning! I was near to comatose before I started thinking about this. :-)