Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives (Hardback)Helen Taylor (author)
- In stock
A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week
Ian McEwan once said, 'When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.' This book explains how precious fiction is to contemporary women readers, and how they draw on it to tell the stories of their lives.
Female readers are key to the future of fiction and-as parents, teachers, and librarians-the glue for a literate society. Women treasure the chance to read alone, but have also gregariously shared reading experiences and memories with mothers, daughters, grandchildren, and female friends.
For so many, reading novels and short stories enables them to escape and to spread their wings intellectually and emotionally. This book, written by an experienced teacher, scholar of women's writing, and literature festival director, draws on over 500 interviews with and questionnaires from women readers and writers. It describes how, where, and when British women read fiction, and examines why stories and writers influence the way female readers understand and shape their own life stories.
Taylor explores why women are the main buyers and readers of fiction, members of book clubs, attendees at literary festivals, and organisers of days out to fictional sites and writers' homes. The book analyses the special appeal and changing readership of the genres of romance, erotica, and crime. It also illuminates the reasons for British women's abiding love of two favourite novels, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.
Taylor offers a cornucopia of witty and wise women's voices, of both readers themselves and also writers such as Hilary Mantel, Helen Dunmore, Katie Fforde, and Sarah Dunant. The book helps us understand why-in Jackie Kay's words-'our lives are mapped by books.'
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 392 g
Dimensions: 211 x 142 x 29 mm
'Taylor captures the complex delights of reading, while taking a clear-eyed look at the politics of how books are marketed, shared and enjoyed. Astute, engaging, inspiring, Why Women Read Fiction will speak volumes to anyone who's ever experienced, at first hand, the power of novels and short stories to enrich and transform lives.' - Sarah Waters
'This spirited cultural history and savvy analysis as to why, how and what women read is - well, a really good story!' - Sarah Dunant
'In her generous and accessible book, Helen Taylor shows how the enterprise of reading draws us into an unseen collective, where the resources of the imagination are pooled; but she is not afraid to show the creative power of division and dissent. Though authoritative and well-researched, Why Women Read Fiction is far more than a study meant for academics and publishers - it is lively and absorbing, like a conversation with other women you wish you knew.' - Hilary Mantel
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