Yesterday, in an entirely non-bookish setting, 6 unrelated people between ages 17-79 (two men, four women) were told to name a few books they'd read recently. The room split into two groups, men vs. women, and each group pulled up names of books in an attempt to stump the opposite "team".
Of the books listed, none were common. Except for one book, the men didn't recognize any of the women's books. The women recognized one of the men's books, and the others not at all. One of the books was a children's book that one of the men had read to his child recently. Another was a non-fiction history book. Among the books the women read there was a book about the Holocaust, a memoir, and an internationally popular bestseller.
I can't say I was surprised, but it was strange to see this clear, sharp divide. The men's list was shorter and contained more non-fiction books. The women's list was primarily fiction, with a smattering of memoirs here and there. Each woman seemed surprised when the men didn't recognize their books. The men seemed unsurprised that the women didn't know theirs.
It's a small story and an isolated incident, but there's something odd to it. What's with this divide? I'd be curious to hear any opinions, thoughts.