Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Divine Secret Senses of the Evensong Hunger Moon who's Good in Bed

I don't know what to read.

I mean, I realize this sounds like a stupid complaint because clearly I am in writing school and one of the quirks of writing school is that they also make you read a lot, but the net result is that when, such as now, I actually have time to read things other than plays assigned for class, I don't know what to read.

It's Spring Break, and, although I'm staying home in chilly New England, to celebrate the breakiness of it, I figured I should read "something fun" and turned, as I sometimes do, to the genre known as "women's literary fiction."

Now, just in case all you read is Proust, I should explain that "women's literary fiction" is a distinct genre from "chick lit." Chick lit books feature educated young women with glamorous but frustrating jobs in big cities who date a score of amusingly dreadful men before noticing the cute, smart, wealthy guy with the great career who's been there all along. You know, that guy. Chick lit books end with weddings and shoe shopping, not necessarily in that order.

Women's literary fiction, however, is about an older, more conflict-ridden woman, who has been burned in love and family and finds herself at some sort of crossroads. She is helped by a kind gay/ black/ Chinese/ elderly person/ troubled teenager with experience and perspective who helps the woman sort through her troubled past and embrace with passion her uncertain future. At the end of the book, there is always 1 DEATH (usually the helper person, esp. if they are old or gay, although not necessarily) and 1 BIRTH (always following the accidental/ miraculous impregnation of the troubled woman who either was not interested in reproduction or thought herself to be infertile).

Now, look. I like being uplifted as much as the next girl. Truly. I unironically cried at "Titanic." And, after six months of Aeschylus and Chekhov, I keep thinking that I want to crawl in bed with Jennifer Weiner et al. I started reading this kind of book as escapism a few years ago, and I figured, it's time to escape again. So, this past Sunday, I did virtually nothing other than read National Book Award winner (!) Three Junes by Julia Glass. And there's the 35-year old woman. And the life-affirming dead gay guy. And the accidental pregnancy.

People, please. Get it together. Write something different! Isn't there something out there between Dostoyevsky and US Magazine? I don't want to spend my Spring Break reading post-Oscar bitchiness on Defamer. Or, to amend, I don't want to spend my Spring Break only reading post-Oscar bitchiness on Defamer.


This is where, Beloved Husband butts in and says, "Hey, if you're going to writing school, why don't you take some time and, ya know, write?" And that's why, Dear Reader, I married him.

1 comment:

8yearoldsdude said...

when in times of freedom, I frequently turn to philip roth who is the misogynist male escapism that parallels womens literary fiction (nice differentiation from chick lit, btw).

I had some dirtdirtyfun with Michael Lewis' "moneyball."

because sociobiology is also dirty fun if slightly dry, I recommend desmond morris' "the naked ape" for the old, sex-based and slightly incorrect version or scott forbe's "a natural history of families" for a more modern look which was required to take a more narrow view because it came second.