It’s a publishing truism that women read more fiction than men, and it’s also pretty clear than certain books or categories of novels appeal more to one gender than another. I tend not to buy books about submarines, for instance, while male fans of Jane Austen are in the minority. But sometimes novels achieve universal gender appeal. I’ve passed most of these along to the men in my family with great success. They tend to have more action and fewer descriptions of meals or clothes than what I think of as “girl books,” but they’re all character-driven and emotionally absorbing.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam