41 books sexist prof David Gilmour should read

Roxane Gay in Salon:

Morrison_smith-620x412Canadian novelist and professor David Gilmour ran into some trouble when he told interviewer Emily Keeler, “I’m not interested in teaching books by women.” He went on to explain that he simply didn’t love women writers enough to teach them. The one woman writer who did meet with Gilmour’s approval, Virginia Woolf, was too sophisticated for his students. He preferred the prose of the manliest of men — Hemingway, Roth, Fitzgerald, Elmore Leonard, Chekhov. There’s an unforgettable bit about eating menstrual pads — what would we do without Philip Roth? It’s not nearly as silly as it is sad that Gilmour hasn’t allowed himself to love and respect contemporary women’s writing. It’s a shame he denies himself and his students the opportunity to appreciate a richer chronicling of the human experience than that provided by the most masculine (in his estimation) of prose writers.

If I were teaching such a course, I would ask students to read a selection of the books I’ve been thinking about lately — a list that is deliberately incomplete, and one that will be ever changing. The class would meet each week to discuss a theme like sexuality, the body, place and displacement, race, difference, violence, love and hate — and how and why modern writers approach these themes. At the end of the semester, I would ask students only one question. What does it mean to be human? Without offering them a diversity of voice, I cannot begin to imagine how they might answer that question. Here’s what they would read:

“Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys

“Misery” by Stephen King

“Beloved” by Toni Morrison

“Disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee

“NW” by Zadie Smith

“A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry

“Once Were Warriors” by Alan Duff

“Deliverance” by James Dickey

More here.