Men Who Read Women: Eight Bestselling Writers Talk About Their Favourite Books By Women

by |August 19, 2013

Inspired by our own John Purcell’s much publicised call for men to read more female writers, we asked some of our favourite male writers to nominate some of their favourite female wordsmiths.

Here are the results, enjoy!


tomparksTony Park

Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire

Loved it. Evocative images of Vietnam and an interesting, sensual story.

Six years ago, Mischa Reese left her abusive husband and suffocating life in California and reinvented herself in steamy, chaotic Hanoi. In Vietnam, she finds satisfying work and enjoys a life of relative luxury and personal freedom. Thirty-five and single, Mischa believes that romance and passion are for teenagers; a view with which her cynical, promiscuous expat friends agree. But then a friend introduces Mischa to his visiting eighteen-year-old son.

Cal is a strikingly attractive Vietnamese-Australian boy, but he’s resentful of his father, and of the nation which has stolen him away. His beauty and righteous fishing-for-tigersidealism awaken something in Mischa and the two launch into an affair that threatens Mischa’s friendships and reputation and challenges her sense of read more…

Tony also loves…

South African crime writer Margie Orford

US writer Laura-Joh Rowland for her Sano Ichiro medieval Japanese crime series

Dianne Blacklock – For her ability to match me drink for drink and book for book – one a year!

Don’t forget to check out Tony Park’s books


MV5BMTgyNDc5NjcwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTY5MTcy._V1._SY314_CR18,0,214,314_Brendan Cowell

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

‘What are you thinking, Amy?’ The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: ‘What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’

Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. gone-girlThe police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she read more…

Brendan also loves…

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The First Stone by Helen Garner

Don’t forget to check out Brendan Cowell’s books


greg-barron-61Greg Barron

An Antidote to Murder by Felicity Young

When an act of compassion misfires, autopsy surgeon Dr Dody McCleland must fight not only for her career, but also for her life. The body of a scullery maid is discovered in her room. When it emerges that she had recently begged Dody to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, the coroner recommends Dody be tried for criminal abortion causing death.

antidote-to-murderMeanwhile, the one man who might be able to help her, Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, is nowhere to be found. After another woman’s body is discovered bearing all the hallmarks of the same crime, Dody suspects that a rogue doctor is on the loose. Amid the turbulence of Edwardian London with its mix of strikes, suffragettes, German spies, exotic dancers and an illicit drug trade, Dody must read more…

Greg also loves…

I admire so many female authors that I don’t know where to start. Picking three favourites at random I’ll choose Colleen McCullough for her storytelling and historical detail, Harper Lee for teaching me that morality can be fiction’s greatest strength, and Rosemary Sutcliff because when I was fifteen she made me feel like I was there in Roman Britain.

Don’t forget to check out Greg Barron’s books


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADamon Young

Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home.

Gob-smackingly brilliant.

As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive.

swimming-home

She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe’s enigmatic wife allow her to remain? Profound and thrilling, Swimming Home reveals how the most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

Damon also loves…

Alison Croggon, Jenny Diski, Charlotte Wood.

Don’t forget to check out Damon Young’s books


0000007096Michael Fullilove

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

‘What are you thinking, Amy?’ The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: ‘What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’

Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war. . .

Michael also loves…

– I’m in awe of Hilary Mantel’s achievement with the first two books in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies and I cannot wait for The Mirror and The Light.

– One of the best books I’ve read on US politics is Peggy Noonan’s What I Saw at the Revolution, a memoir of her time as a speechwriter to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

– I have a soft spot for Dorothy L. Sayers, in particular her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.

Don’t forget to check out Michael Fullilove’s books


34Garth Nix

I’ve recently read and was totally drawn into Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver, I am a long-time admirer of her books.

Discontented with her life of poverty on a failing farm in the Eastern United States, Dellarobia, a young mother, impulsively seeks out an affair. Instead, on the Appalachian mountains above her farm, she discovers something much more profoundly life-changing – a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature. As the world around her is suddenly transformed by a seeming miracle, can the old certainties they have lived by for centuries remain unchallenged?

flight-behaviourGarth also loves…

As for women writers who I admire, respect and am entranced by their work, there are tons. Just a few would include:

Hilary Mantel
Ursula Le Guin
Barbara Tuchman
Dorothy Sayers

Don’t forget to check out Garth Nix’s books


2cd460_800469c2e2c46bb34021e0b73a8a51b9.jpg_srz_288_360_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzSteve Worland

I love Malla Nunn’s Emmanuelle Cooper detective series. They are beautifully written, gripping thrillers and a great read for blokes.

A Beautiful Place to Die: The Detective Emmanuel Cooper Series – Book 1

When an Afrikaans police captain is murdered in a small South African country town, Detective Emmanuel Cooper must navigate his way through the labyrinthine racial and social divisions that split the community. And as the National Party introduces the laws to support the system of apartheid, Emmanuel struggles much like Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko to remain a good man in the face of astonishing power.

In a considered but very commercial novel, Malla Nunn combines a compelling plot with a thoughtful and complex portrayal of a fascinating period of history, illustrating the human desires that drive us all, regardless of race, colour or creed.

a-beautiful-place-to-dieSteve also loves…

I’m also a big fan of L.A. Larkin. She’s a superb action writer. Thirst is a beauty and well worth a look for the fellas.

I’m currently 60 pages into Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ and intrigued to see where it leads. I think men will really enjoy it. I know I am!

Another Aussie female writer I think blokes will enjoy is Kathryn Fox. I really enjoyed her latest ‘Cold Grave’. It was a compelling read.

 

Don’t forget to check out Steve Worland’s books


james-bradley-1-webJames Bradley

I think the obvious one to recommend is A.M. Homes’ May We Be Forgiven.

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper.They have been uneasy rivals since childhood.Then one day George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life. In May We Be Forgiven, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life – at individual lives spiraling out of control, bound together by family and history.

may-we-be-forgivenThe cast of characters experience adultery, accidents, divorce, and death. But this is also a savage and dizzyingly inventive vision of contemporary America, whose read more…

James also loves…

And in terms of other women writers that might appeal to men (although just typing that sentence makes me depressed) I’d suggest Hilary Mantel (I think everybody who’s read Game of Thrones should read Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies and vice-versa, but Beyond Black is also a work of brilliance), Lauren Beukes and P.M. Newton.

Don’t forget to check out James Bradley’s books


Thanks to all the wonderful writers who contributed. For more books for blokes, check out our Father’s Day Gift Guide, with something for every fella.

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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