Most everyone has preferences when it comes to reading. Those may be the genres and subgenres they lean towards, paperback/hardcover vs. ebook, specific authors or even writing styles. Another big preference potential is male or female authors.
Male and female authors very often write from differing or even contrasting world views. As I mentioned in a previous post on perspectives, readers bring their life experiences into what they read. Authors do the same thing when writing a book. Since men and women have very different struggles and obstacles in their lives, their base level life experiences are going to be different, so how they approach the stories and characters they create are also going to be different.
It has been my experience that, as a woman, I struggle to connect with books that are written by male authors. I can absolutely enjoy them and appreciate the artistry that is behind those stories, but I have yet to find a male author that inspires me to be watching impatiently for their next book release.
I have found that books written by male authors (though I must say that my sampling is on the narrow end and really only range in a few genres) tend to focus more on action than emotion. The big, exciting parts of those books fall heavily into that range. When there is an emotional context, it is often times harder to actually grasp the emotion the author is trying to impart because it comes from a different perspective than mine. It is also more of a punctuation to different points of their stories rather than a threaded part of the cohesive whole.
A female author tends to have that emotional thread underlying and permeating everything. When a reader sees a character developing, that character’s thoughts, actions and personality is woven in along with their feelings about themselves and everyone around them. This applies to male and female characters.
Male and female authors usually portray their male and female characters differently. What a woman sees as important or appealing aspects to her male and female characters is often going to be different than what a man sees for those same characters. While both tend to either overtly or subtly objectify the opposite sex in their characters, women are more likely to emphasize non-physical or imperfect physical traits in their characters. I think that they are also more willing to place both women and men on equal or at least balanced footing.
Author Kim Harrison posted similar thoughts on male vs. female author character representation on her FB page.
There will always be exceptions to every rule, but in the broader spectrum, these generalities tend to run true from what I’ve noticed. I can admit that I’m biased here as I prefer a female author and often will skip even reading the blurbs of books that are obviously written by male authors. I know that I have a better chance of connecting to how the female authors have written their stories and portrayed their characters as they are coming from a similar world view and life experience. This absolutely is not always the case, but it is often enough to allow that to impact my reading choices.
That doesn’t mean that I am a staunch male author hater. I will read something if it looks appealing. I am always on the search for new favorite authors to add to my collection. I just haven’t found one that gets to me yet.