An article in The Guardian, a UK online publication, divulges what I've long suspected: by and large, men do not read fiction authored by women. The one line in the article that particularly struck a nerve with me is:

'Consequently, fiction by women remains "special interest", while fiction by men still sets the standard for quality, narrative and style.'

In a survey, the male respondents were asked to name the "most important" work written by a woman, and many were unable to answer. The stock answer for those who did respond was Monica Ali's Brick Lane, although at least one respondent who offered this answer admitted he hadn't even read the book.

The rest of the article is here: http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/art...495060,00.html

Now, my question: Why oh why is there this gender bias by male readers? I read works by both men and women, and appreciate the varied styles of both. Is it that men anticipate sentimentalization? Trite plots? A female-skewered view? What is it? And what is this belief that men's fiction "sets the standard for quality, narrative and style?" This almost harps back to the Oprah/Jonathan Franzen fiasco. I suspect that Franzen believed that by his book being labeled a book for women to read, his validity as a writer would somehow be dimishished.

OK, poll for the men on this board: What recent work have you read by a woman that you truly appreciated by way of plot, style, characterization?

Just curious.