The shoes to the left are pink, aren’t they? Pink, pink, pink, pink, pink. There are some (men) who believe that that’s all women care to read about — shoes (preferably pink), and shopping and sex and romance and cocktails, etc. Phooey to them, I say! What’s the cause of today’s diatribe? Something Maureen Johnson brought to my attention this morning on Twitter: this article from NPR of one man’s 100 best books of the past 100 years. I quote Maureen:
Once again, men write “important books,” and women write . . . books for LADIES, perhaps? Or, no. Now I remember. Chick lit and fluff. Go on! Look on your shelf right now! Who wrote the “important books”? And which books are presented as “commercial”?
As a rebuff of this mixed-up kind of thinking, Maureen reposted an excellent blog, and I urge you all to read it. One part I particularly like:
You know, there was a very good reason that Dorothy Parker wrote (or at least was rumored to have written) “Please God, let me write like a man.” She was a great writer, but as long as she wrote about women as a woman, as long as she cracked her jokes, as long as she made her sly observations about female society . . . she wasn’t creating literature. Or so it was often perceived. Many of her male friends thought she was and promoted her relentlessly. Dorothy Parker was one of her own harshest critics.
And so it seems to be with Chick Lit. The harshest words about this term seem to be coming from other women, often under the guise of promoting the work of women.
I can’t help but also think about something another kt literary client, Amy Spalding, wrote the other day, also on Twitter:
So sick of people recommending YA books with the disclaimer “even though it is YA it is good.” SIGH.
Hey, people! Why must you disparage any genre? Sure, something may not be to your taste, whether it’s chick lit, or YA, or science fiction, or male ennui novels, or even literary fiction (and here I recognize that I have been at fault in the past), but let’s talk specifics, shall we, rather than lumping everything in together. Say, “I didn’t like THIS YA novel, or THAT family drama.” Be precise, not general.
With a clearer head, I can look back at that NPR article and recognize that the author is saying these are the books that mean something special to HIM, and that I can get on board with. I’ve got a list like that as well. (*goes digging around in various archives*) See?
What about you? What are the top books on YOUR list?