I started off my reading year with 3 books by women (see my thoughts here) so I thought I would even things up by reading from a different perspective. A few weeks ago, I explored what it means to read a book written by men for men as opposed to a book written by women for women, etc.
But no, reading all male authors wasn’t really intentional. I do try to read as widely as possible, alternating between the made up stories and true life, books for young adults and literary fiction so dense one’s entire reason for continuing is to e able to mark off a title from one or another of those list of books everyone should read, but as it relates to authors, I am not often intentional on separating them by gender.
My Thoughts On These 3 Books By Men
Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s latest novel. His writing is geared toward a Young Adult audience but because his books have been so popular, a few of them adapted and made into wildly successful movies, think The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska, then this book was a bestseller even before it’s October 2017 release date and you just have to know what it’s about before phrases from these scenes find their way into pop culture and everyone understands the reference except you. I was entertained. There were things I liked about the novel but it was a little difficult to read stream of consciousness from an obsessive character. When I wasn’t focused on that, I enjoyed the author’s trademark science and art additions, the way he used his city of Indianapolis almost as a character in the book, sometimes hero, sometimes villain. It is a book I’d recommend with hesitation, because of the main character’s obsessive thoughts that could probably put a reader into a spiral if one is in any way thus inclined towards hypochondria and obsession.
While the author is male, his more successful books seems to be about a female main character who is having an ab-normal experience in some way: The Fault in Our Stars is about a teenager battling cancer and Paper Towns is about a teenage runaway whose parents don’t seem to chase her. You get my drift?
The White Tiger is Arvind Adiga’s man Booker prize winning novel about an Indian businessman who has heard that China’s Premier is about to visit Delhi and wants to caution him by sharing his personal story which he says is representative of the real story of entrepreneurship in his country.
Through a series of letters, Balram recalls being a young boy with parents so poor they didn’t even give him a name, born into a caste of servitude and growing up hungry to change that destiny, a desperation he uses to justify the decisions that helped him climb the ladder in Indian society. White Tiger is a breathtaking glimpse into the poverty and corruption of Delhi – breathtaking because the rich descriptions almost channel the reader into the slums and sewage infested streets the author describes as the backdrop of the city he desperately wants to escape, inviting compassion and understanding and finally respect for anyone who doesn’t just survive but is able to succeed there.
The unemotional, results-oriented narration is what one might typically expect from a male author.
The Remains of the Day earned Kazuo Ishiguro the Man Booker Prize in 1989 but he’s also the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Remains is another stream of consciousness novel, this time narrated by a dignified English butler who takes pride in the fact that his father before him also has the sterling characteristics to serve in this capacity. Like the narrator in White Tiger whose rickshaw driver father was bred to be a servant, Stevens grew up seeing his father dedicate his life to being at the beck and call of other men. However, unlike Balram, Stevens is content, proud even, of his title, and abandons everything else, never acknowledging the compromises he has made and to what end. The reader can almost visualize Stevens’ caricatured character that this male author creates, a formal narrator who doesn’t ascribe emotions to himself but whose feelings are described in his interaction with women. However, the focus isn’t just on Stevens as a person – instead, his robotic demeanor symbolizes all of us who consider ourselves above the politics, who follow blindly without calling out our leaders when they make the wrong choices. This statement could be and should be said by any author, regardless of gender.
And that’s what I thought when I was done reading these 3 books by men. What about you? What have you read lately and what did you think about it? There are some Booktube channels doing a challenge to read exclusively books written by women in February – Femmeuary is what they’re calling it. I won’t be taking up that challenge this month because I have lots of male authors on my TBR. The book I’ve chosen for Book club this month has a male author. But it’s nice to support women writers whenever we can. All writers. All writers need our love, not just men or women. But if you’d like to support this female writer, click here to buy my book 🙂
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