Some of you know that my husband, Jim, was an eclectic reader. He read everything from quantum physics books to biographies to thrillers. But, for years, I had a hard time getting him to read female writers. Oh, he'd read Ann Rule's true crime books. But, thriller writers? It took me a long time, but I convinced him to branch out. Before he died, he was reading Tess Gerritsen, Alex Kava, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Unger and Lisa Gardner. In fact, he'd try a female author if I brought a book home. Success!
It's not always that way, which is why I asked author Alafair Burke if I could reprint the letter she sent the DorothyL listserv. With Alafair's permission, here's her letter.
I frequently get emails from male readers who say, “I don’t like women authors, but I do like you.” Appreciative yet perplexed, I started asking readers why they thought they didn’t like women authors. I know there have been related conversations here on the list, but usually I'd hear that women weren't hard-boiled enough, or that there was too much romance and not enough action. Or they simply believed that women writers were writing for women and not men.
I'd like to stamp out the saying "I don't read women," one t-shirt at a time. I also want to promote youth literacy. Like chocolate and peanut butter, the two ideas have come together beautifully with "Real Men Read Women" gear. I’ve enlisted just a handful of some of my favorite female writers in this fund-raising effort to support youth literacy. Thanks to bestselling (and super cool) authors Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen, Laura Lippman, Karin Slaughter, and Lisa Unger, “Real Men Read Women” t-shirts and other gear are available online at www.printfection.com/readwomen. There's also a shirt that says "I like boys who read books by girls."
If this is a hit, I'd love to enlist other writers to lend their names to the effort down the road. I hope you all don't mind my posting a plug for the gear here. All profits go to youth literacy.
author of Long Gone and official t-shirt peddler
It's a great campaign, Alafair! And, a great way to support youth literacy. Thanks for letting me help spread the word.