Let’s Talk Bookish: Do you prefer male or female protagonists?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Discussions pertain to topics related to reading or books. Share your opinions, and spread the love by visiting other “Let’s Talk Bookish” posts.

Prompts: When it comes to books, do you prefer male or female protagonists and why? Do you not have a preference? Have you ever not read a book because the protagonist was male/female? Do you think it’s important for children to read protagonists of the opposite gender from them? Do you feel like certain genres have more of a certain gender of protagonist than the other?

I prefer reading books with female protagonists and have often opted to not read books when the main character solely identifies as male, more specifically cis male. If there are dual points of view, as long as one of the main characters at least identifies as female, I will be more willing to read it. Not too long ago, a friend said that excluding books when the main character is male means there are a lot of great books out there I’m not reading. I completely agree! It likely does but it also means I get to read more of what I want. A lot of it has to do with being able to connect with the character as well as being able to live vicariously through the character. I grew up wanting to live adventures but was often told I couldn’t do things but my brothers were allowed to do them. Books give me the opportunity to do what I couldn’t. Also, if I really want to read a book with a male protagonist, I will. Just because I prefer female protagonists doesn’t mean I will never read a book with a male protagonist.

I think it is important for children to read whatever kind of book they would like without having to consider gender unless that is part of their criteria for a book. It’s all about what you feel is best for you and what you enjoy most. In school, children are required to read certain books. Outside of the classroom, they should be able to read what they want--obviously, parent approved and all that stuff too (to an extent…Heh)

Due to self-selection, I can’t be entirely sure whether certain genres have more of a certain gender/sex as a protagonist. If one was to look at all my books, it would look skewed toward female protagonists. It’s certainly possible romance novels largely feature female protagonists but many are dual points of view so wouldn’t that mean it can be viewed as both? On a different not, what I’m actually quite curious about is whether male protagonists written by women in romance novels would be considered accurate depictions of men from a male point of view? I guess that’s the long way of saying that I’m not entirely sure if there is more of one gender protagonist in a genre than others. Hah…Sorry.

What about you? Do you have a preference when it comes to the sex/gender of a book’s protagonist?

First Lines Fridays 1.11: My mother once…

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

My mother once told me I had to get into a top university, or die trying.

You have to be the best, Nancy. Remember: my sacrifices for you. Remember: everything we toiled for in this strange and foreign country.

You cannot let it be for nothing.


by Katie Zhao
ASIN/ISBN: 9781547603978
Publication: August 17, 2021
Series: How We Fall Apart #1

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too. (from Goodreads)

Those first lines are reminiscent of my upbringing but my mom was less intense and more supportive in a positive way. I grew up understanding the sacrifices my family made so ensured to study hard. I am not as into dark academy book but when Zhao announced the book, it made so much sense. I’m halfway through the book and I don’t think I would have survived this prep school.