Camus and Orwell are the favourite authors among nearly 500 men surveyed in England, a study shows.
“We found that men do not regard books as a constant companion to their life’s journey, as consolers or guides, as women do,” said Prof Jardine. “They read novels a bit like they read photography manuals.” Women readers used much-loved books to support them through difficult times and emotional turbulence, and tended to employ them as metaphorical guides to behaviour, or as support and inspiration.
“The men’s list was all angst and Orwell. Sort of puberty reading,” she said. Ideas touching on isolation and “aloneness” were strong among the men’s “milestone” books.
Some of the observations are contentious- there is an element of stereotyping of both men and women that stands out in the study.
The only observation I could find myself agreeing with is that most men do indeed read fewer women writers.
My own list of 5 books that helped helped to shape me emotionally over the years:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (age of 13)
Mother by Maxim Gorky (at age of 16)
What is to be Done? by Nikolai Chernesvesky (at age of 19)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (at age of 24)
The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by Mario Vargas Llosa (at age of 35)