A few years ago, there were an awful lot of wives and daughters in book titles. These days, as most everyone has observed, we’ve been overrun by girls.
From The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2005 to Gone Girl in 2012 to Carl Hiassen’s Razor Girl this year, it’s a trend you’d figure would be finished, that actually shows no sign of being done. At FiveThirtyEight, Emily St. John Mandel looks at what it really means:
Who are these girls? Why are there so many of them? Books with “girl” in the titles make up a tiny fraction of all the books published in a given year, but they appear again and again on the bestseller lists. Other people have written about this trend, often with great eloquence, but none of them were backed by a data set. Using the database at Goodreads, the popular social networking website for readers, we set out to change that. A number of patterns emerged in our analysis: The “girl” in the title is much more likely to be a woman than an actual girl, and the author of the book is more likely to be a woman. But if a book with “girl” in the title was written by a man, the girl is significantly more likely to end up dead.
The piece is elegant, eloquent and here.