East Coast, West Coast Picks

Every major paper has released or is about to release their ‘best of’ lists, and it’s been entertaining comparing the selections. I was thrilled that the L.A. Times picked Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Hummingbird’s Daughter, a wonderful novel that was released last spring and which I absolutely loved. I also liked that the N.Y Times included Nadeem Aslam’s Maps for Lost Lovers, a lyrical and disturbing novel set in a Pakistani community in England, as well as Sam Lipsyte’s Home Land, a fresh and funny novel that was championed by several bloggers.

But there’s a lot that’s frightfully similar between the two lists, particularly in terms of gender. Of the twenty books on the L.A. Times favorite books of 2005, fifteen (i.e. 75%) were written by men. Meanwhile, twenty-two of the thirty-four books of fiction on the N.Y. Times notables list were by men (that’s 64%).