Saturday, November 14, 2009

Top 10 Books of the Year

Earlier this month, Publisher's Weekly posted their picks for Top 100 books this year in several categories, as well as a new feature to this year's list: their Top 10 picks that stood out from the rest.

As Alicia Suskin Ostriker points out on She Writes, every single title chosen for the Top 10 was written by a man. Perhaps the thing that is of even more interest than the gender of the writers is the similarities of their subjects (and in turn the subject's genders). Ostriker writes:
It was a little dismaying to read the descriptions of the books, which you can do at, and realize how very much it was shaped by "boy" subjects. "Gritty, mostly honest-hearted ex-heroin addict protagonist Ricky Rice!...Rebellious Yankee son of a father who fell victim to the Depression!...[T]he men who built America’s intercontinental ballistic missile program in the 1950s and ‘60s!...Two 40-ish men seeking love and existential meaning!...Grann’s vigorous research mirrors Fawcett’s obsession with uncovering the mysteries of the jungle!...Philosopher and motorcycle repair-shop owner Crawford extols the value of making and fixing things in this masterful paean to what he calls manual competence!..." That's six of the ten.
Read Ostriker's full article "Publishers Weekly Versus the Rest of Us" here.

Over on the Editorial Ass(istant) blog, Moonrat, herself an editor states that she sees this all male top ten list as indicative of two factors in publishing:
1) Not enough books by women are being published relative to the total number being published
2) The books by women that are published are getting less marketing money relative to their counterparts by men, and are therefore catching fewer people's eyes
Read full article here.

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