Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Can't Think of a Good Fucking Title

"When's the last time you read a book by a woman?" I interrupt Z as he gestures toward his recommendations and launches into pocket-sized diatribes about each.

"I read that one by that Ann Coulter chick a little while ago."

"That doesn't count. It’s not really a book book.”

“Well, I read this other one. It was one of those dating books.”

Dating books?” I raise my eyebrows at him.

“Yeah, someone gave it to me and-“

“Whatever, that doesn’t count either. You know what I mean. When’s the last time you read a novel, memoir, narrative that was written by a woman?”

He pauses to think. Silence.

Both of our eyes fall on Memoirs of a Geisha.

“Even that was written by a man.”

“I was just about to say,” his voice trails off.

I don’t blame Z. He may be a misogynist, but he’s not sexist. I can barely remember the last time I read, or even expressed any interest in reading, a book by a woman. In the age of devils who wear Prada, sluts and the city and Manhattan call girls keeping diaries, it’s hard to find a strong female voice that can relate to people as opposed to just women. When’s the last time I saw a successful contemporary female author who wrote books that didn’t involve career-driven women who wore Jimmy Choos and Chanel suits and found time in their hectic schedules to obsess over shiny Wall Street bankers? None of that shit interests me either.

I would rather read about Hunter S. Thompson bingeing on drugs in Vegas, a Chuck Palahniuk sex-addict choking his way to financial security, bullshit nights in suck cities, John Updike's crazy Rabbit sex. I’m not saying a woman needs to pepper a narrative with profanity in order to be taken seriously, but she needs to make characters people can relate to; and if not relate, at least be interested in. Not many heterosexual men are interested in Vogue and Page Six. Not many women are either.

It’s reached the point now that women who do write material that is relevant aren’t taken seriously because the general male public assume their material is not relatable. All female literature is lumped into the bubble gum genre of “Chick Lit” and regarded as yet another tale of a big city gal with big city aspirations snagging her big city man and achieving all her big city goals while looking fabulous to boot.

Just fucking kill me.

“When I publish my first book, I’m going to do it under a pseudonym.”

“What kind of pseudonym?”

“I’m going to use a guy’s name. Maybe something androgynous.”

“What, are you gonna be John Wong?” he laughs. I roll my eyes.

“It’s not going to be Asian either. I could write something about living in the South during the Civil War, but if my name’s Kim, they’ll file it under ‘Asian-American Literature’ and the only thing that sells less than being a woman is being Asian.”

"They'll think it's about math."

-L

9 Comments:

Blogger Seth said...

If you like sci-fi (not Star Trek, but no other good genre name), Sherri S. Tepper is a good female author.

The Gate to Women's Country was pretty good.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read 'The Year of Magical Thinking' by Joan Didion. It was pretty good, but not trippy/crazy like your other mentions.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.jonathanstrange.com/

wonderful book

10:18 PM  
Blogger wdegraw said...

"I’m not saying a woman needs to pepper a narrative with profanity in order to be taken seriously, ..."

"Just fucking kill me."

Please.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Barbtender said...

How about going north of the border? Try Margaret Atwood, the doyenne of Canadian literature. Her most recent offering, Oryx and Crake, was less impressive, but the Blind Assassin (2000) was amazing. Oh yah, it happened to win the Booker prize.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my early midlife crisis :"im mid 30s, i cant afford a co-op, i have no boyfriend/family/kids, my job is ok wtf else can do?

"travel"

10:56 PM  
Blogger plantain said...

I second the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell book by Susanna Clarke... great read... also anything by Zadie Smith...

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

michelle malkin?

10:17 PM  
Anonymous lolo said...

A.L. Kennedy. Even if you don't bother to pick up one of her books it's still worth a look at her website.

Just please, promise one thing, don't ever become one of those "asian chick lit" twats. I want to punch out every one of Amy Tan's teeth and then cram them all down the throat of Amy Wong Weltner.

10:02 AM  

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