Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Weekly Geeks: My first geekish outing!

Whew - what a week!! For some unknown reason, I was beaten into submission by work and general life since my last post - I have read but seemed to have had my post creativity sapped and so just plodded on...on with today's post, though!

One thing I have been in awe of ever since I started blogging was the sheer volume of memes out there - I have wanted for an equally long time to find one that I can participate in regularly but that I won't eventually find a bit formulaic...since I keep my blog fairly up to date with what I'm reading, what I have read and what I buy, that ruled out a lot of memes of that nature! I also wanted something which I could get stuck into with a bit of thought (although I'm sure I may on occasion regret that!).



Problem solved: I have now found...






For those who haven't seen it, there is a weekly theme/discussion topic/blog-related activity that you can post about or do and they seem rather varied! So, I'm declaring myself a weekly geek...at least for the time being! My plan (after this week, obviously) is to post my thoughts on the topic on a Sunday, since I'm mostly just hiding in my house on a Sunday trying to deny the impending working week...


This week's topic: WOMEN WRITERS

The questions (my selected questions, that is..):
  • Do you tend to read more books authored by men or women?
  • What are your thoughts about the label "chick lit"? Do you think it makes a difference what we call women's fiction? Are books written by women more likely to be labeled "light", or unimportant?
What I read: Had you asked me this question before I started blogging, I would have probably answered that I read mostly books by men, as that was my instinctive reaction when I first read this question. However, of the 48 books I read last year, a massive 37 were written by women - that's over 75%! Clearly, then, this is utterly unintentional as I was under the opposite impression! I am, as you can imagine, quite shame-faced that I had so dilluded myself...I am also somewhat disconcerted that the balance is this far off. But then, as long as it's done subconsciously, I'm not overly concerned...

Thoughts on "chick lit"

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I went to an girls-only high school. The headteacher there was a fabulous woman and extremely encouraging - her ideas weren't necessarily that women should all be career-driven or challenging men on every corner but that they should be what they want to be: want to be a lawyer/scientist or whatever? Fine; want to be a full-time mother? Go for it.
Rather than making me a feminist, I think it's made me generally more accepting: Want to read James Joyce? Fine; Want to read Marian Keyes? Go for it. I know I should be insulted that books written by women and intended for women are referred to almost derogatorily as "chick lit" but it doesn't necessarily concern me. I think that the insult isn't implicit - I use the term myself, sometimes, but in an almost affectionate way. An insult is in the ear of the receiver, I guess you could say...

It isn't the fact that it's written by a woman that makes a book 'chick lit' so I also don't think the label is any reflection on an author's gender; it's the target reader. But sometimes it's just too easy to say, "How dare you imply I can't cope with grand ideas because I'm a woman?!" And so ladies, I say, don't take offence! Who wants to read fashion garble/stories about "Mr Right"/inevitably happy endings/cry into a stereotypical cocktail of the moment?! Much more likely to be a woman than a man - and that's why we're the delightfully charming beings that we are! Just a fact. (And, please, don't take this too seriously - I know that not all women want to read this stuff! That's kind of my point...if you want to, you should be able to without worrying that it has any reflection on your intelligence or worth to society...)

So don't be offended - embrace your ability to appreciate the innane without getting caught up in the fact that someone is implying that's all your good for, because you know that it's just what you fancy at the moment, right?! You can get round to Dostoyevsky another time...Crime and Punishment isn't going anywhere!

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On an aside, I've *tried* to install the Intense Debate feature on my blog - if that messes things up, hopefully I'll realise and be able to fix it...sorry if it causes any problems!