This week, we read a great interview with Meg Wolitzer (whose just-released novel The Interestings is currently being enjoyed by more than one member of this office). “Men,” she says, “with very few exceptions, won’t read books about women.” Though not exactly a new idea, this pronouncement gains a little force by coming hot on the heels of GQ‘s “The New Canon: The 21 Books from the 21st Century Every Man Should Read,” which contains (you guessed it, drumroll please, etc.) three books written by women. Though we won’t disparage any of the books that made the list, we will offer our own — as an attempt to work towards ameliorating the problem laid out by Wolitzer and neatly exemplified by GQ. After all, though there are three books by women on their list, only the Munro could really be said to be primarily about them. After the jump, 21 books by and about women that we think every man should read.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is essential reading no matter your gender, and this chilling depiction of a dystopian future is one of her best. In the Republic of Gilead, women’s rights have been completely eradicated, and the country is ruled by a racist, homophobic, misogynist, ultra-conservative cult. As our editor-in-chief Judy Berman quipped, “This is every woman’s worst nightmare that men have never thought about.” So think about it.