A year ago, Lisa Jardine and Annie Watkins conducted a survey of women readers to find a "watershed" women's novel, "the book which, above all others, had sustained individual women through key moments of transition or crisis in their lives." The winner was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, with Pride and Prejudice not too far behind. Jardine and Watkins have now repeated the exercise (more details of which can be found in the Guardian) with men. A very different list has emerged with The Outsider by Albert Camus coming out top. Other favourites for the men were Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. One reason advanced for the kind of books these men chose was that "men's formative reading was done between the ages of 12 and 20 - indeed, specifically around the ages of 15 and 16. For men, fiction was a rite of passage into manhood during painful adolescence. Many men admitted that they had read little fiction since".

Readers Comments

  1. Is Professor Jardine's tiresome sixth-form bloke-niggling really the basis for a serious academic career?

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