Reading Habits #2: Gender in Writing

… or a study of gender in the books that I read.

So it occurred to me the other day that almost all of the books I read are written by men, about men. This doesn’t bother me, I just thought it was interesting. Obviously, it’s the kind of thing that I find most pleasing to read. Who knows. Anyway, I decided to do a little digging, and came up with the following stats.



Created with

So there we have it;

  • Over 79% of the books that I have read this year were written by men
  • Of the books (with single perspectives) that I have read so far this year, only 4 of them have female leads.  That’s 16%.

I’m interested to see if your own reading habits produce similar stats to mine.  Have you thought about it?  Let me know!


17 thoughts on “Reading Habits #2: Gender in Writing

  1. Considering I’ve only read about three books this year lol, my results mean nothing. Two by women, one by a man about a woman (I only read it because it was written about her).

    WordPress is my bookshelf!

    • See, I’ve definitely done it without meaning to. I looked at my 2013 ‘Read’ list the other day and kind of went, ‘huh’. It looks like the preliminary comments are swinging the same direction as your own reading habits. Interesting, indeed.

  2. Ah well, I think it really depends on what genre we’re reading because if I am going to survey myself, almost all the books that I’ve read were written by female authors. And they have female protagonists. I take it that you’re into a lot of sci-fi and mystery/thriller books…? Because most books falling under those genres are written by men. Am I right? Or am I talking nonsense?

    Thanks for stopping by Thoughts and Pens.

    • Oh, it definitely depends on the genre. One of the reasons I’m not so surprised about the comments disagreeing with me here is because I know a lot of book bloggers are really into YA fantasy books that tend to have female leads. Interestingly though, a lot of the books I have read this year are plain old ‘fiction’; eg, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Before the year is out I can see myself doing a post on the genres I read.

  3. Like Lesley, the books I read are mostly written by female authors WITH female protagonists. I think that’s sort of the trend in YA books right now — strong female leads who can save the world, because females are so underrated everywhere else. We’re expected to stay home and keep the house clean, feed the children, and be good and docile, so I have to admit that it’s nice to see females taking heroic roles in books! I tend not to prefer reading books written by male authors, because based on experience, their characters are usually quite emotionless, and they tend to drag on and on and on. There have been a few rare ones that stood out, though.

    But no, I never thought of this at all! Reading has become what has defined me, so I don’t care what gender the book’s protag is, or what gender the author is (though I have a preference for female authors; I’m just more comfortable with them), just as long as it has a great plot, great characters, an intriguing storyline — something that I can enjoy.

    • You’re completely right! I do love a good female protagonist, but at he same time, like you, I just pick up whatever looks good to me at the time; irrespective of the gender of the person who wrote it or of the main character.

      I’m interested to know more about how you can say so clearly that you prefer female authors, because I think I would claim a preference for male authors (no surprise based on the graphs above, I know) but I can’t say why. I definitely need to think on this one.

  4. That’s so interesting! I think prior to the end of 2013, my results would have been the same as yours. That’s because I was reading mostly classics and literary fiction, most of which tends to be written by male authors(though I’m not sure if I’d have as many on the male POV side–I feel even a lot of the male authors I read have female main characters, or at least a good chunk do), but in 2013, I’ve DEFINITELY read more books by female authors, since this is the year I’ve really started reading YA, and many YA authors are females.

    • You’re not wrong! A LOT of YA seems to be written by females about females, so that will definitely skew the results in another direction. I keep thinking I should make a conscious effort to read more books by women/about women but then I think that I like what I like and will probably continue to read whatever appeals to me at the time.

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