1. ManicParroT
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    ManicParroT Contributing Member

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    Battle of the Sexes. There can be only one gender.

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by ManicParroT, Jan 26, 2009.

    Alright, here's the scenario. You have to choose to read books written only
    by men or by women, for the rest of your life.
    You will be incapable of reading or understanding anything written by the other gender. You can choose which gender, but there is no way of escaping the curse. You must choose, and no, you can't cheat with audio books or anything similar.

    So, which would you choose? If absolutely pushed to make a choice, would you prefer male or female authors? And why? Give examples, if possible.

    Personally, I'd choose to read male authors, simply because overall, I've enjoyed books written by men more. I'd be very sad to say goodbye to Robin Hobb, but I've never read anything quite like the work put out by Ricardo Pinto or Gene Wolfe (Gene is a guy's name, right?!) that was done by a woman. I also think I relate to characters written by men better. And finally, Shakespeare was a man.
     
  2. Darker Rarechild
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    Darker Rarechild Member

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    Male. I don't think I have read many books by female authors, except maybe one or two. Not because I have a bias, but because most the books that intrigue me happen to be written by males.

    Maybe its a guy thing. Men read stuff by men and vice versa.
     
  3. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    Male. I'd have to get rid of Harry Potter and Farseer, but compared to what I would lose if I chose women...
     
  4. ManicParroT
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    ManicParroT Contributing Member

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    It's easy to force the decison. Fail to choose, and you will never read again! :eek:

    There, that help? :p
     
  5. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, I read a study that showed that while men will read books by male authors, women will read books by either gender. I'm not really sure why that is, but it might be a good reason for a female author to use a male or gender-neutral pseudonym.
     
  6. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would choose male simply because there seem to be a lot more male authors so I'd still have a lot of books to read. If you choose female, then like around three quarters of the book store would be unreadable.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    An interesting thought. My favourite books have been written by women, and the ones I want to write are often written by women. Then again, if you look at books like Memoirs of a Geisha, it's a very impressive story about a women in a world for women, and it was written by a man. In fact, it was the only book by a man that we could choose from in our women's lit class.
     
  8. HKB
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    HKB Contributing Member

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    Male. Only because there is more. Though my favorites tend to be from female authors.
     
  9. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    Due to the sad reality that for a good part of history writing was nearly exclusively a male activity, I'd have to go with male. I'd not be willing to sacrifice The Divine Comedy, Medea, La Vida es Sueno and the Aeneid for Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights and We the Living. In contemporary works, I have no preference save quality writing.
     
  10. wonderxwhy
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    wonderxwhy Member

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    I'd pick male.
    Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Hemingway, Salinger, Bradbury, Irving, Pahliniuk, Dan Brown.
    I'd miss my Jane Austen, but i'd rather than give it up than all those guys.
     
  11. laurelin
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    laurelin Member

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    Books written by men, hands down. I'm sorry if I'm insulting my own gender, but I honestly cannot think of one single female author whose work I genuinely like. Maybe it's because I stick to reading mature fantasy and sci-fi mostly, and avoid romance/teen/YA novels like the plague...but I just honestly feel that male authors are better at writing overall. Can anyone think of a female author that writes on a level with George Orwell, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.? (No, that crazyass feminist Margaret Atwood doesn't count.) I'm sorry if anyone feels offended by my saying this, I truly am. I just don't tend to enjoy the work of female authors.
    As an interesting side-note, I've also thought about the nationality of famous authors lately, and it seems I read the work of American and British authors exclusively.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Jane Austen, George Eliot, Emily Dickenson, Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf are all female writers that are better than the authors you listed.

    If I had to choose, I would go with male writers only because of the large volume of works male writers have produced.
     
  13. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    I feel like being spiteful, so I pick female. Granted, it would suck since a great majority of reading assignments are written by males, but I am willing to make that sacrifice:D

    Also, if I exhaust my library, I can write something myself :D

    And there is no way in the world I am giving up ROMEO, I'll miss the Rainbow Boys, but it'll be okay:D
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    REMINDER: Some of the remarks are getting close to sexism, which is a form of bigotry. If this continues, it will result in this thread being closed, and possible infractions.

    As long as the discussion is limited to your personal preferences in authors, there is no problem. Comments about one gender being more capable that the other are unacceptable.
     
  15. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    @thirdwind: It's impossible to objectively determine which author is better than other, but I have serious doubts whether anyone can achieve what Tolkien did for fantasy or what Orwell did for dystopian literature. Not taking sides in the female vs male debate, by the way.
     
  16. Phil
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    Phil Member

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    It'd be hard giving up the likes of Jane Austen, but there are just so many more male authors. Like someone said earlier, there was such a large span of history where it was all male dominated.

    I just couldn't give up the likes of H.G.Wells, Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe and the likes.

    I'd choose male every time.
     
  17. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you read Margaret Atwood, you don't read American and British only. She lives in Toronto, CANADA, and she does count. Also, to add two more to thirdwind's list of female writers who are equal or better: Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mercedes Lackey. Besides, there are probably loads of men who write for Harlequin who use female pennames.
     
  18. laurelin
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    laurelin Member

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    I have to agree with Acglaphotis...I realize that it's a matter of personal preference, but you're making a VERY bold statement by saying that these people are better than the authors I mentioned. And that's putting it lightly.

    @Rei: I realize that Margaret Atwood is Canadian, but I wouldn't read any of her work ever again as long as I could help it.
    Something that happened in my English class made me think about this topic. I learned that the department of education decided to assign a new novel for us to read for class in place of the novel we were originally supposed to read (The Great Gatsby). And the decision was made not because the story has any more merit, but based SOLELY on the fact that this new novel is written by a female author who is Canadian, instead of the usual American author that gets assigned who is male. I thought this seemed absolutely ridiculous, and it makes me disgusted with the board of education in this country - why, of all things, should the freaking GENDER and NATIONALITY of an author be relevant in judging which book should be taught to senior-year students?? Sure, it would be nice if they happened across a book that is very good and also happens to be written by a Canadian, but since when should the quality of the writing itself be less important? It just makes me so mad.
     
  19. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Without getting into a big argument here, I have to disagree with you. One writer being better than the other is not a personal preference. I think you're confusing best with favorite. It's sort of like comparing two singers. One may be your favorite, but the other may have better range, etc. Thus, the 2nd singer would be "better" than the first. I forgot to explain my thought process when I posted that list.
     
  20. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No offense to the OP, but the whole premise of this thread is just a breeding ground for trouble.
     
  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I was actually thinking that the first time I saw this thread.
     
  22. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    No, no one is. What I meant by what I said is that when you're comparing the magnum opus of any great author, you're going to have a hard time determining which one is best: They're both masterpieces; They made their respective genres what they are today; And they did it without sacrificing eloquence nor story. As with other types of art it's impossible to objectively determine which is better. Right now, off the top of your head, who is better Hemingway or Wilde? Any type of answer is subjective, that is, 'best' can't possibly have an objective meaning in this area, unless we agree on a definition of better, and even that won't be objective.
     
  23. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've never read Wilde so I can't judge who's better. But consider this. Take the magnum opus of Dan Brown, say, and the magnum opus of Faulkner. Faulkner clearly excels in quality of prose. I agree that sometimes two great authors are on equal footing, but in this case, I thought that the writers I listed were more talented in writing prose than the authors listed by someone else.
     
  24. laurelin
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    laurelin Member

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    Please do explain it then, I am honestly interested in seeing it.

    Edit: The ability to write flowery prose does not inherently make the authors you mentioned better than the ones I did. I mentioned the authors I did because I feel that they are good examples of people who are masters at truly epic story-telling, world-building and developing living, breathing civilizations that feel wholly real and believable. Honestly, I think these kinds of stories are the ones that are the hardest to write, and I find it difficult to compare that kind of work with Jane Austen.
     
  25. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    To be a little off topic: I highly recommend "The Picture of Dorian Gray", it's an excellent work. I had a quote on my signature not long ago.

    I said great authors. How you define that is very vague, but I don't think mostly anyone's definition fits Dan Brown. Succesful, yes. Great, I'm not sure.
    Is that all you weight when comparing all works of fiction? If that is so, it is only by your (meaning, subjective) definition. As I said, why is your definition of best the correct one? It's a very flaky ground anyone stands in to call anything the best.

    That's the thing; it can't be objectively done.
     

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