The Guardian site has the story of a survey of 500 men on “novels that changed their lives.” First, the good news: Fight Club is nowhere to be found on the list, so In Other Media need not be completely ashamed of his gender today. The bad news: one of the researchers notes with surprise “the firmness with which many men said that fiction didn’t speak to them.”
The books that did speak to the pollees were heavy on isolation and alienation (which, if In Other Media remembers correctly, was actually the name of a first-year undergrad course back in the day), with Camus’s The Outsider, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment topping the list at first, second, and third, respectively.
Since the researchers undertook a similar study involving female readers last year, the new results allow for much comparing and contrasting. “On the whole, men preferred books by dead white men,” reads the story, while women made “much richer and more diverse” choices that also included “a much broader mix between contemporary and classic works and between male and female authors.”
Interestingly, the differences even seemed to extend to format. “The researchers also found that women preferred old, well-thumbed paperbacks, whereas men had a slight fixation with the stiff covers of hardback books.”