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#1: Happy Birthday to a fantastic girl who is smart, clever, loves the open highways (and Texas roads, too) as much as me, and who my kids STILL talk about because she gave them little gifts they loved (a sand dollar and a superman magnet - which gets to hold school work with high marks) smashsc (And I know you've changed, but my mind is racing.)

#2: Happy Birthday to ladycat777, who has a smile that brightens the room, that is incredibly smart and thinky and loving and tender, and a great friend to have. Andrea blows me away with who she is, and I'm so glad to have met her and call her friend.

#3: I'm leaving on a jet plane, but I do know when I'll be back, which is midnight Sunday. Leaving in the AM for a weekend in NYC which is SO NEEDED. cherusha and I plan on painting the town red, or at least a hue in the red-family, and good times will be had! I need a break so very very much. entrenous88 has given me many options for travel from LaGuardia to Times Square, and I feel brave and capable. (And cabs are PRICEY now. That's eating into my drinking/food budget!) So obviously, radio silence from this space for a few days.

#4: Thoughts on published books, categorizing genres, etc.

Okay, I do not claim to be an intellectual. There are far better essayists than me, this is just something that's been rumbling about in my head for a while. Let me first say that there's a term I HATE. And I don't bandy that word about. I hate the term "chick lit." Can't stand the type of books they are in the first place, can't stand that they are designed with "women" in mind. (Of course, I don't watch "Lifetime" or those channels, mostly because the programs are crap, and Meredith Baxter Burney hasn't been good since she was a Keaton. )

Simpering, vacuous, shallow... that's what I think of with chick lit. "Let's go shopping to work through our issues over this silly man who hasn't realized my (brand name dropped) wearing self is FAB. U. LOUS. Or let's eat a pint of ice cream with some chick and a guitar on the radio and "get deep." About our looks. GAH. Spare me. Does not interest me in the slightest. Sure, someone is going to come along and say that such and such book was okay, even though it was chick lit, and I'm telling you right now: DON'T.

So that's an actual genre now. And my question is, where's "dude lit?" Because there is "dude lit." Oh, it's not called that, they're just New Releases. But they are written by dudes for dudes. An example? "The DaVinci Code." Is any intelligent woman looking at that protagonist and thinking, "here's a smart guy. This guy has LAYERS." Um, all I can think of is a Harvard doctor of religion took fifty million chapters to figure out what the "pagan symbol" at St. Peter's Square was. DOCTORATE? They're just giving them out now, huh? And the schlocky stab at romance? So typical for a guy: he is a man of "power" so the woman falls for him.

Another book I've read recently was decent enough. I mean, the sentences were well formulated and structured, the plot was enough to hold me in place for a bit, but... No layers. Nothing deep. And stereotypical guy response to females: sexy bombshell is Bad, the boring, shapeless girl stands by him. And guess which girl holds his interest? Oh, and the mother dies in a botched abortion, which leads to all of the books Problems. Because she had an abortion. (I'm condensing it waaaaay down, but the point is taken, right?) And the guy was an editor for: Glamor Magazine.

Maybe this isn't making any sense... Just: I know there's been discussion about how women will read a male or female protagonist, but men will only read a male protagonist. If Harry Potter was Helen Potter, it wouldn't be popular.

And my thought is: do women writers have to dumb down material (i.e.: chick lit) in order to get published? guys get published, and frankly, I've read better things online. I know "who you know" plays a huge part in any success in life. But... so many of the books on the New Releases list I see are what I think of as "dude lit." The same as chick lit, but written by a guy and shorter constructed sentences.

Somehow all of these thoughts make sense in my head... (Um, do I get a pass because it's incredibly humid today and pushing 97 degrees and I ran for an hour?)

Okay, gonna step out and get things done, for my to do list is looooooong. And hoping someone has more cohesive thoughts on the lit writer topic, because it is something I find I think about a lot, lately. Hmmmmm.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
wickedgrdn
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Icon loooovveee. Principal Snyder is the man. :)
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
Snyder RULES. With an iron fist, true, but nonetheless...

:)
ladycat777
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you, honey *loves you so much*
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
*holds you TIIIIGHT* Sometimes I just want to cuddle you up and bring you here and take care of you. One day you'll look in the mirror and see what we all see: a beautiful girl with a heart of gold. <3 times infinity.
ladycat777
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
*snuggles in with you* Today, I could use that. It hasn't been a good day so far :(
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, no. Well, there are a LOT of people who love you, and soon (a month and a half!) we'll be there in person to tell you!
cherusha
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'M BRINGING THE BONG. OR ARE YOU BRINGING THE BONG?

ARE TWO BONGS EXCESSIVE??
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
Two bongs are NOT excessive, and we may need MORE BONGS.
cherusha
Jun. 7th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
DAMMIT, YOU TELL ME THIS NOW?


...

Don't worry. I know a guy who knows a guy.
lynnenne
Jun. 7th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC)
It's not just a female protagonist. There was a recent study (I forget who the authors were) which surveyed both male and female writers, publishers and critics. They were asked to name important contemporary authors. Among female authors, the usual suspects made the list: Alice Munroe, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, etc. Then the participants were asked if they'd ever read books by any of those authors on their own time (i.e. for non-work-related reasons). The women had; the men hadn't. Upshot: Women will read books by both male and female authors. Men will only read books written by other men. Seems like any book written by a woman is automatically classified as "chick lit" by the men. Women are writing in a ghetto.
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, sure, I believe that. But then... "The Secret Life of Bees" and... The Bridges of Madison County? Is that the name? Those are the big name female books that get Oprah-sized and flood the airports and check out stands, and sorry, but they're crap. So... My thoughts are men associate sappy cheese with female leads/authors. Which SUCKS.

(Oh, man, most comics say girls aren't funny.)

And I just read a collection of AMAZING short stories (Trap Lines is the title) and I thought it was written by a man because of the cadence of the sentences, right? And read the back flap after the second story and saw it was a woman. Nice. It's an excellent twisted and dark collection.
zandra_x
Jun. 7th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, most comics say girls aren't funny.

Actually, it's just that most girls don't think fart jokes are funny.
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Heh.

(Although, I wish it was that simple. The world of comedy is still HORRIBLY misgynist. Example: Jerry Lewis commenting on how women aren't funny just a couple of years ago. But then, he's an ass.)
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
I await your thoughts, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
floweringjudas
Jun. 7th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
*considers* Think there are a few exceptions to the guys-not-reading-chick-lit thing. When Bridget Jones's Diary was published in the Independent and the Daily Telegraph, think it had sort of a wider audience, didn't it? But then, BJD is genuinely funny and well-written whereas 95% of chick lit is absolute tripe (I read the first of those Shopaholic books and felt dirty after).

Maybe if someone would write a woman lead character who's more interested in having to save the world in the next thirty minutes than discussing her latest Manolos and Mayun over mojitos with her requisite Three Sexy-Funny GalPals and Token Fag, guys'd read it. Though I think it does come down to most guys-as-readers being more interested in "what" and most girls-as-readers being more interested in "how."
floweringjudas
Jun. 7th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
Also OMG HAVE FUN IN NYC.
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Hooray YAY!!!! *hugs tight, tight, tight*
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
but did guys read BJD? I know it's classified here at chick lit. Which... GAH, I haaaate that term.

(Of course, I could go into a long diatribe about how sickening I find that Lolita is classified as "black humor" when FUUUUUCCK, that's dark if so - it left me feeling sick inside.)

And agreed on the whole "WRITE INTERESTING FEMALE LEADS." I would like to hear from those on my flist in the publishing business how many books come in with female leads, however. Ones that aren't classified as the Shop-til-you-win-a-man books with the girlfriends of snarky/sexy type. Oh, and the obligatory holding hands and dancing with joy scene. Wait, that's chick flicks. :D
thepiratequeen
Jun. 7th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
EEEE!!! You will both be in my city and I AM NEVER LETTING YOU LEAVE!!!! *evil laughter*

I'm finding it hard to answer the whole lit genre question because part of me wants to blame publishers and part of me wants to blame the average book buying public. I've had similiar fustrations with what is considered YA lit, what is considered Teen Lit and what is just put in the Fiction section.

I do think that the whole "chick lit" genre is a marketing scheme that maybe unfortunately has worked too well. "Chick Lit" has become the hipper, more modern younger cousin of bodice rippers and as such I think they are seen as more of a step up the ladder rather then another divider between cultural genres.

I mean the B&N I worked in also had an African American lit section and a Gay/Lesbian lit section. But all your Dan Brown's, James Paterson's, Tom Clancy's, etc just sat in regular ol Fiction. It doesn't sit easily with me that those genres are seen as different from "regular fiction" as Mystery, Sci/Fi-Fantasy and Romance are but more then a fair amount of people would come in and specifically look for those sections.

I don't know...I don't think I'm making complete sense right now but I feel what you're saying and I don't like it anymore then you do.
stoney321
Jun. 7th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
No, the comment about "modern, younger cousin of bodice rippers" makes a lot of sense.

And I emailed your Gwyn account with some deets - email me back when you have a spare second, YAY!
viciouswishes
Jun. 7th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
There should totally be "dude lit." If I ever work in a bookstore or open one myself, there's going to be a "dude lit" section.
speakingsilence
Jun. 8th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
I have the same visceral hate reaction to the term and genre 'chick lit' -- I tried one book by Jane Green on a gushing recommendation by a friend and hated it with a violence. In thinking about your 'dude lit' category, I realize that it corresponds to the 'young male writer' category that I have (think Ethan Hawke's first book, which a quick flip through and reading a couple sentences had me categorizing it thus for it's immature character development and stilted dialogue aiming at pretension.) I certainly wouldn't advocate any more of those guys getting published anymore than I want to see more 'chick lit' on the shelves. Somehow we're supposed to believe that these are successful women in charge of their own lives, but they come off as shallow, juvenile, self-obsessed bitches, at least in what I've read -- and I certainly don't want to spend time with the characters.

It's kinda funny, though, because it feels like it's much easier to see the distinction you're pointing out in the genre of film, where some of the buddy type movies or gross-out comedies seem to fall into more of a 'dude flick' genre -- think Dude Where's my Car? or anything with Tom Green or Johnny Knoxville. Maybe that's because there seems to be a difference in the amount of reading done by men versus women, at least in the fiction genre. The women I know who read for pleasure are so much more numerous than the guys, which could account for aiming 'dude' stories at film and 'chick' stories in print. But that's just a pull-it-outa-my-ass theory, so feel free to disregard!

Interesting question, and now I'll be stuck thinking!!
stoney321
Jun. 8th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
Oooh, yes to the movie analogy. (Could be that the typical "dude" isn't likely to read for pleasure, and it's easier to absorb cheese through your eyes. Um, metaphorically speaking. :D )

And here's something to chew on (me, mostly): my husband typically reads non-fiction for pleasure. (War memorials, books on economics, etc. Yeeeeaaaah.) But he'll read fic if I slip it in his hands. WHich means, he's read some Amy Tan, Leslie Silbert and Sarah Vowell.

We just may have to force the boys to step out of their comfort zone. :D (thank you for comenting!)
speakingsilence
Jun. 8th, 2006 03:29 am (UTC)
it's easier to absorb cheese through your eyes This had me giggling madly...not only because I'm envisioning lying back in a spa chair with slices of cheddar over my eyes...but because, um, how do you read books if not with your eyes?? *laughs near you but not at you, really*

On another note, it does seem that the guys I know gravitate to the non-fiction as well. For example, my brother never touches fiction at all, preferring psychological true tales of the weird, and my dad makes an exception only for Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlem -- give 'im gadgets and action, and he's suddenly reading fiction.
(Deleted comment)
spuffyduds
Jun. 8th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
I think of Tom Clancy et al. as "dick lit." (Observe my biiiig shiny metal submarine, packed with seamen!)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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