Can a man write a good novel? Or can only a woman do that?

I only read women. I know that men write books. But their lives are so limited. It’s such a small and narrow experience.

That’s what famous author Marian Keyes says (in the Daily Mail of all places). It startles us in a way that the converse doesn’t. When a man says that he only reads books written by men, as certain men have been known to say, we dismiss the comment as sexist and misogynistic, since there are so many good female authors; but how often do we see the counterpart?

I don’t actually read the Daily Mail; I found this quote and surrounding commentary in Lev Raphael’s blog. I have written about author and literature professor Raphael twice before in recent months — in State University of Murder and in How does the Washington Post know what you’re going to read and at what age you’ll read it? — so you’ll know that I think highly of him. Read his recent post carefully and with an eye for gentle sarcasm, which may fly right past you if you’re not careful. I do need to quote a short paragraph from this post:

Education isn’t a passive thing.  It’s not just waiting for books to be assigned to you, it’s seeking out books that you think might change the way you see the world or at the very least, open the doors to a new one.

Yes. What he said.

Categories: Books