Recommending books

rohina at shaw.ca rohina at shaw.ca
Sat Jun 22 02:53:22 EDT 2002


> Of all these recommendations, are there *any* that you would 
> hesitate to
> recommend to a boy? a girl? and why?

I was thinking about this, and I meant to respond to your previous
message.  There is a strong cultural (sexist) agenda in book publishing
and educational circles which says, boys will only read books with male
protagonists, but girls can read boy books quite happily. I have a
female friend who teaches literature at a well known boys' Grammar
School in Melbourne, and they never set, eg Jane Eyre when it is on the
Syllabus, even though it is a great book, because there is a perception
that the boys won't read it. Girls, meanwhile can read, say, Hamlet with
no problems.

I think it is self-enforcing bunk. If boys are never told to read books
with female protagonists, then they never learn to read them. Girls, on
the other hand, are being taught to accept that men often get the lead,
and that they have to cope with that.

Personally, I would tend to tailor recommendations more to personal
taste or character traits than gender. But then, all the boys I have
ever known well have been (for various reasons) described as "girly" and
they don't tend to have problems reading female-perspective novels.

Robyn

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