by Zoe Pollock
Chris Jackson, subbing in for TNC, has a nice post about our own unintentional literary biases, after he had to make a concerted effort to read more female fiction. As a fiction lover, I just recently vowed to bone up on my foreign policy non-fiction, thanks to some enthusiastic encouragement from my nerd boyfriend. Chris' point is well put and well-taken:
There are ways that our reading is shaped and limited by the biases of the dominant literary gatekeepers--maybe without realizing it, we've only read books by people of a certain race, or who write in a certain language, or who follow the conventions of a certain genre (including the unnamed genre of Anglo-American Serious Fiction). To some people this is the great opportunity in the coming bookquake, the chance to disintermediate some of those gatekeepers and their peculiar, ossified biases. But the real bias may be inside of us, as readers, and we might have to force ourselves out of them to take advantage of these new opportunities. How exciting is it to consider that there are worlds of literature out there that you may not have tapped into, undiscovered countries of books to explore that might yet tell you something new in a new way?