#HallOfShame | Modern Library's Top 100 Novels and Top 100 Nonfiction
Does this sound modern to you?
- Modern Library Board's 100 Best Novels: 9% are novels by women. (Edith Wharton appears twice. Because finding 9 women authors was just too hard.)
- Modern Library Board's Top 100 Best Nonfiction: 12% books by women.
The list criteria doesn't get much more generous than "Best." There's no time limitations, no genre restrictions, and there are 200 slots to fill. So it seems unbelievable that out of 200 books in Modern Library's lauded "Top 100" lists, only 21 are by women.
The Modern Library, a property of Penguin Random House, describes itself as playing "a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century" and shaping the intellectual tastes of young Americans for decades. If that's true, it makes their nearly all male book selections not simply ludicrous, but dangerous.
"The goal of the '100 Best Project' was to get people talking about great books"... just not great books by women authors. This is a classic list, one that has probably inspired many similar lists of book recommendations since its creation in 1998 (in fact, we heard it about from a GenderAvenger who believed Esquire's recent "80 Books Every Man Should Read" came from this list). The Modern Library still uses it regularly: The 100 Best Novels list is currently featured on their homepage.
Tell Penguin Random House to bring the Modern Library into the 21st Century and add women authors to their Top 100 lists.
Suggested tweet/share text:
#HallOfShame: 21 books by women in the #ModernLibrary Top 200 books. Make a change, @penguinrandom. http://www.genderavenger.com/blog/hallofshame-modern-librarys-top-100-novels #genderavenger