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"boys don't read girls' books"

That's a common saying by writers and publishers, that boys won't read books with girl leads, but girls will read boy or girl leads.  This always struck me as weird, personally -- I'm not doubting the claim, it just has no resonance to me.  These days I might read more female lead fiction than not.  But hey, I'm an adult, what was my boyhood like?

The most correct answer is "I can barely date exactly when I read anything".  But I have no memory of rejecting anything because it had a girl.  As to stuff I did read before college:

Heidi
The Secret Garden
the Alice books
A Wrinkle in Time (and both sequels, though Charles Wallace shares the spotlight in the third.)
Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, also Moreta's Story and Nerilka's Song.
The Narnia books, two of which have Lucy prominently and one has Jillian.
The Blue Sword, though I forgot reading it, twice.  (In college I had deja vu about having deja vu about reading it.)

And then there's Star Trek:
My Enemy, My Ally, which I've re-read a lot, and splits POV between Ael and Kirk.
Uhura's Song
Tears of the Singers -- I don't remember these all that well, but Wikipedia says both are Uhura-centric[1].
Dwellers in the Crucible.
Dreadnought! and Battlestations! aka the Piper (a woman) books.  They're also first-person perspective.

I think there was also a bit of dabbling in Ramona and Beverly Clearly or Nancy Drew, but by the time I found those I'd pretty much outgrown them.

All that (21 books, not counting the real kiddie ones0 doesn't seem like a lot for 10 years of reading (age 7-17), but then I doubt I could make a list that would feel plausibly complete for the time period.

[1] At some point -- I no longer think second grade, because none of the books were published yet -- I was given a box set of four Star Trek novels: the three mentioned before the footnote, and The Wounded Sky, which was mostly Kirk POV though did have a lot of extra and non-sexualized female characters.  All four were by women authors, too, two of them by Diane Duane.  Not that I paid much attention to authors before college.  In retrospect, this is an interesting box set for Pocket Books to put out.  Not like the books are consecutive or directly related.

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fellmama
Dec. 4th, 2015 03:04 am (UTC)
I wonder if it's partly a readers versus non-readers thing--maybe boys who need more prompting to read anyway are the ones who reject "girl books." So teachers librarians etc. are left with the impression that it's boys generally, when the boys who are readers aren't seeking recommendations or being pushed to read things they don't want to.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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