Tuesday, May 30, 2006
"To be frank my dear, I found your prose to be rather tiresome. Now fetch me an apertif, would you?"
Am I sexist, at least in the literary sense? I fear this may indeed be the case.
Mrs. Blogfoot and I were just at a Memorial Day cookout at another couple's house, and once we had again exhausted the topic of punk bands, the talk turned to books. Everyone in attendance reads a decent amount, most likely more than average, and we were bandying about titles and recommendations before we got too drunk to do so with any lucidity. And one of the ladies remarked, after recommending the book "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger, that she read an article that said that men rarely will read a book by a woman author.
And you know what? I think she's right.
I have a lot of books. I've read a boatload thus far in life. And in my current collection, which is pretty large, I have exactly three books by female authors. They are:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
The Secret History by Donna Taratt
That's it. Three. And today I relayed this theory to my boss, who also reads a lot. And we looked through his two large, full bookcases, and he had exactly one book by a female author, which was "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova.
Maybe it has to do with subject matter? "Geek Love" is about a carnival sideshow and "Frankenstein" is about, well, you know. And I never read "The Secret History." I just own it. Although I heard it's good. "The Historian" has been described as "The DaVinci Code" meets "Dracula", so there you go.
Now, I'm simply not going to read "The Time Travelers Wife." Not because it's written by a woman, but because it's a "Today Show Book Club" selection. Gahh! My eyes will not be sullied with material that Al Roker hath enjoyed, and that's all there is to it.
I don't avoid books by women, I just haven't stumbled onto many I'm interested in. I'm going to stick with the opinion that it's due to subject matter. I don't read many, if any, best sellers either. I'm not a big fan of airport fiction, no matter how well done. I didn't read "The DaVinci Code". I did read "Cell", the latest by Stephen King, only because everyone claimed it was a return to form. And it was. Unfortunately, it was "The Tommyknockers" form. It was sluggish and filled with exposition. I hate exposition. But don't even start to bag on Stephen King. Back in the 70's and early 80's he wrote some really nice stuff. "The Shining", "The Dead Zone", "Salem's Lot", "The Stand"...these are all truly great books.
That tears it. I'm going to read my wife's copy of "Pride and Prejudice". That is, right after I finish "Vendetta" (A Mack Bolan adventure), "Doc Savage, Man of Bronze", and "The Rock Says..." by The Rock.