Summing it up nicely

Interesting comment about the book industry, and a book recommendation that looks worth following up:

From “Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, [who] is a critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University”:

There continues to be a lot of talk about gender bias in the book industry. The core argument goes that, while both male and female authors write novels about relationships and the domestic sphere, when a woman does so her books are relegated to “chic lit,” and when a man (like Jonathan Franzen) does, he’s lauded for serious literary achievement.

The covers of books written by men are starker, telegraphing importance, while women’s book jackets feature soft-focus, Mary Cassatt-type pictures of women and children. And, statistically, men’s books tend to command more attention through reviews and interviews. All legitimate, even self-evident criticisms…

She cites Nell Freudenberger as an exception, since she has been taken as a literary heavy weight since she first published. Her newest book, The Newlyweds, Corrigan says, “is a luscious and intelligent novel that will stick with you. Sometimes wunderkinds like Freudenberger really deserve all the hype and hoopla, and, somehow, despite literary sexism and sniping, they manage to keep the wonderfulness coming.”

Freudenberger was also one of the 20 under 40 for the New Yorker.

2 thoughts on “Summing it up nicely

  1. “women’s book jackets feature soft-focus, Mary Cassatt-type pictures of women and children”

    I find women’s book jackets often feature women’s bodies without heads. There might be a piece of her face, an eye or mouth, but not a face. Perhaps they are trying to leave faces to the reader’s imagination.

    Overall, I prefer covers without people on them.

  2. By the way when I say “women’s book jackets”, I mean books where the main character is a woman and is somehow featured on the cover, not exclusively read by women.

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