The Publishers Weekly list of the "100 best books of 2009" includes shockingly few works by women. So what else is new? The Sisters in Crime response has been posted by SinC President Marcia Talley at

Take a look and offer your own views on the topic.

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They're not obliged to do anything they don't want to do, obviously, especially if they don't care about the appearance of bias--and they evidently don't.
Dan wonders why so many nurses and secretaries are female. I think the reason is simple: the pay is terrible. But up to the 20th century, secretaries were mostly male. Few women worked in offices before that; it wasn't considered proper. And up to the last century or so, nursing wasn't a medical profession, it was a dead-end job that involved a lot of cleaning and little else. Remember that Florence Nightingale was laughed at when she proposed that nurses could be valuable partners with doctors in the care of the sick. (Even now, a lot of nurses will tell you that they're held in low esteem by doctors.) For whatever reason, secretarial work and nursing have come to be seen as women's jobs, in the most negative sense of the term.
Amazon's editors have a best 100 list too.
This appears to be based on sales.
You could ask why not more women become doctors.
In response to the question: "What is the answer?"

Well, we could try to cite the reasons why books were included, and conversely, why not.
The judges need experience and education, preferably in literature. The criteria exist. They need to be applied. And gender of the author (or anything else about the author) doesn't enter into this. People are too quick to scream discrimination. There was a time when I thought the Edgars panels were loaded with women's libbers set to level the playing field any way they could.

My guess is that PW judges bring the experience of having read an enormous number of books to their chore. That should count for a lot.
I wish PW would say who the "judges" are. Editors? Regular PW reviewers?

The intro to the list states they chose the best out of 50,000 books published this year, but no one can possibly believe every judge read 50,000 books.

We also have the question of whether genre fiction should be judged against literary and mainstream. Perhaps the "best" books list should be the #1 books in various categories. That doesn't address the gender issue directly, but my bet is it would increase the chances of books by women being included.
I agree that categories should have been observed. Different categories have different criteria.

Not sure about ballot boxes. Favorite books isn't quite the same as best books. And are we going to control how many ballots a person can cast?
The idea that PW or anyone else is really going to arrive at a list of the ten best books in a given year with which all reasonable persons can agree is just silly. In attempting to do so what they're really doing is publicizing themselves, and trying to stimulate debate and discussion around their particular list (so more eyeballs on their website, etc.). It's a reasonable strategy in that sense, but the odds that any such process (whatever it is--they don't tell us much) is going to actually generate a useful list (if there even is such a thing) would be astronomical, IMO.
Oh, come on. Everybody makes lists. They are as qualified as most, and more so.
Everybody makes lists.

Exactly. And it's nice to be on them. Otherwise I'm not sure what good they are, ultimately, except as attention-getters for the outfits that generate them. there's certainly no objective truth to them, otherwise they'd all be pretty much the same, no?


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