This is not meant as a boast, but I have close to 2,000 books in my personal collection. They range from novels to collections of poetry and essays to plays to biographies to volumes on history, art, culture, politics, sports, reference and everything in between.
So last night while bored I decided to get a handle on all of my books and better organize them, as there are random stacks of books spread out all over my apartment causing what can best be described as utterly unmanageable clutter.
While I was organizing the books by subject category, a startling truth revealed itself to me. It turns out that of the nearly 2,000 books in my collection, only a handful (literally 5 books) were authored by women.
Until that epiphany, I had never been consciously aware that I’ve been reading male authors more or less exclusively. And right now, thinking about it, I’m still not sure what it means. I don’t consider myself a sexist and I’m sure my sister, mother, and fiancee would agree. So WTF?
Perhaps this means that I am a “literary” sexist, if such a thing exists. Perhaps not. Perhaps it just means that I am subconsciously drawn more to the male voice, as its more familiar to me and I can relate to it more. Perhaps it means that the types of books I like to read are, more often than not, penned by male writers. I really don’t know. All I know is that with the exception of 5 books, I’ve spent the last 15 years or so reading male authors exclusively.
The ones I recall seeing last night are:
The Collected Poems of Marianne Moore Jane Leavy’s biography of Sandy Koufax Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness” Mary McKay Maynard’s “My Faraway Home” (A book I edited) Tracey McFarlane-Mirande’s “Championship Swimming” (Also edited by yours truly)
To take this a step further, a cursory look through my record collection reveals a similar bias. With the exception of a few Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin records, my collection is 100% male.
So, fellas. Am I alone in this? And ladies, do you find the opposite bias in your own collections?