Archive | April 18, 2011

Reading

I should probably say there is nothing wrong with romance novel reading. It was actually my dad’s favourite genre after Zane Grey. He was always taking my mom’s books. What I’m pissed off about is the assumption that that is the only thing that most women read.

 My guilty pleasure is cozy mysteries which don’t exactly strain the brain and can be for the most part finished in an hour or two. The only problem is they are finished too quickly and are gone. You are lucky if you even remember who done it by the time the next one in the series come out. But cozy mysteries are kind of the equivalent of reading junk food, you have to read other things for a healthy mental state.

 I call it junk food because I get the same kind of cravings to read a cozy mystery that I get to eat junk food. It just doesn’t do the same kind of damage to the body that a bag of Brach’s classic jelly beans might.

 I try to leaven my reading with historical mysteries like ones from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Ireland or Medieval or Elizabethan England so I at least learn something. Or I read Sci-fi or fantasy that takes more concentration. Or I read non-fiction about a variety of topics like philosophy, biography, history or metaphysics/Druidry at the moment. I downloaded a bunch of classics for my Kindle that are free. I noticed “War and Peace” was free but I still have no desire to read it. I’m afraid a lot of classics are classics in the same class as broccoli or spinach. Some taste good but some are of the kind some decided was good for you not a really good read. I tried Silas Marner, never been so bored in my life and I don’t care for gloomy Guses like Steinbeck or Dickens either. Hated the “Red Pony and “The Pearl”. On the other hand I love Alexandre Dumas, per and fils. He knows how to tell a good story.

 Which I guess is my main criteria in fiction, tell me a story, start it from the first sentence and tell it well. And most importantly MOVE IT ALONG! Include plenty of colour but move it, move it, move it forward. Too many of the so-called classics don’t. they navel gaze and try to show you what clever writers they are instead of just telling a story. It amuses me that writers who tell a good story are sometimes considered not as good as ones stagnate in their story telling. J.M. Barrie knew how to move it along as did Jane Austen and L Frank Baum but then Barrie, Dumas and Baum all wrote plays and knew how fast they could lose an audience.

  **Sidebar – I just got to type in a record –“per Rose, the Dr is retired.”  Which I suppose is only funny if you are a Dr Who fan. **

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The NY Times should be ashamed of its critics

http://tv.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/arts/television/game-of-thrones-begins-sunday-on-hbo-review.html

 I can only think that the NY Times has idiots for critics now. Sad come down for a newspaper that used to be distinguished for its journalism even if it was NY chauvinistic. But this one is raging numbskull and a member of Clan Oblivious if she thinks women don’t read Sci-fi and fantasy and what the hell is “boy lit”?

 My guess is that this woman only reads and sees “chick flicks and chick lit”. Something I’ve never read and never will read any more than I will read a romance novel unless they have mis-labeled the urban fantasy again. On the other hand the “Chicks in Chain Mail” series edited by Esther Friesner, is wonderful. LOL!

 Since when don’t women read fantasy? I read the “Hobbit” back in Junior Hi as well as Asimov and Heinlein and the “Lord of the Rings” for the first time back in high school. The first of many re-reads. The first books my mom read to us were fantasy – the OZ books. Some of the best fantasy- Sci-Fi writers are women, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Marian Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey. And a lot of them have written great fantasy in both genres.  

 I did not go to all the LOTR movies because I had a crush on Legolas, for pete’s sake. I wanted to be an elf not lust after one and not just because I’m a lesbian either. It’s a great epic story not unlike the Illiad or the Aenead. Those two books if they weren’t ancient would sit squarely in the speculative fiction genre now.

 This woman should actually go to a bookstore and check out who is buying the fiction in those aisles and I don’t mean the ones buying Charlaine Harris or the Twi-hards. I’ve read my way through a good share of the Star Wars spin off universe books. I read David Weber’s Honor Harrington books. Diana Paxson, Tamora Pierce, Kate Forsyth, Mary Stewart, all write excellent fantasy, all of the sword and sorcery genre and all with complex well written characters of both sexes.

 I haven’t read any of Mr Martin’s books because I prefer women writers of sci-fi for the most part but I love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, John Ringo, James Luceno, Aaron Allston, E.B.White and Troy Denning. Have to admit I hated Terry Goodkind. I was pissed off when Robert Jordan had the temerity to die without finishing his way too slow series of fantasy novels.

 Sci-fi and fantasy writers expect their readers to have brains and keep up and yes, there are some with undeveloped women characters but those are the exception not the rule.

Try a book from Lynn Flewelling’s Nighrunner series if you want complex gay male characters and by the way, she’s a woman.

 And lately, there is an embarrassing trend of sticking some fantasy fiction under the urban fantasy label, under romance that necessitates me going into the dreaded romance aisle and for that matter J.D. Robb AKA Nora Roberts detective series is really sci-fi.

 Ms Bellafante must favour the type of books with easy words and no critical thinking skills necessary. Georgette Heyer, maybe? I know plenty of other women who enjoy both genres so this woman is either an illiterate idiot or she’s just plain stupid and demeaning to men who read too.  Who does she think she is, speaking for me? Shame on the NY Times, another reason not to read that snobby paper. 

Dona

On a wagon bound for market
There’s a calf with a mournful eye
High above him there’s a swallow
Winging swiftly through the sky.

Chorus:
How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer’s night.
Singing dona, dona, dona, dona
Dona, dona, dona dona do.
Dona, dona dona, dona,
Dona, dona, dona do.

“Stop complaining!” said the farmer
“Who told you a calf to be?”
“Why don’t you have wings to fly with?”
“Like the swallow so proud and free?’

Calves are easily bound and slaughtered
Never knowing the reason why
But all those who treasure freedom
Like the swallow has learned to fly.

Birthright

We who are born in country places
Far from the city and shifting faces
We have a birthright no man can sell
And a secret joy no man can tell

For we are kindred to lordly things
The wild ducks flight and the white owl’s wing
Pike and salmon, bull and horse
The curlew’s cry and the smell of gorse

Pride of tree and swiftness of stream
The magic of frost has shaped our dreams
No baser vision the spirit fills
Who walk by right on the naked hills.