foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

Last month over at Fangs, Fur, & Fey on LJ, one poster discussed a conversation she overheard in the fantasy section of a bookstore

Dude: Man, look at all this.
Pal: Wha?
Dude: I'm getting so sick of seeing this shit.
Pal: Wha?
Dude: This, and this and this (*pointing to books on shelves I'd have to crane my neck to identify*) and this and this.... All these books with heroines who wanna be the hero and shit.

(At this point, if I'd been drinking a beverage, I'd have spit it out.)

Dude: And vampires, man, quit with the stupid vampires. We need more books like this.

(He picks up the latest video game tie-in.)
Wow. Just.... wow.

Oddly enough, only a few commentors remarked on the misogyny underlying the conversation. The rest of the commentors discussed the legitimacy of being frustrated with the vampire fad.

Frankly, I don't give a shit if they have reason to bash vampire fiction or not. That wasn't the main point of their conversation. The fact that they're assholes who don't respect women? Yeah, I care about that quite a bit. 

The question of whether or not there are too many heroines and not enough heroes in current fiction was also raised. I've personally considered if I should be writing about more heroes. The conclusion I eventually came to is that the fantasy/scifi genre has historically been dominated by male leads and male writers. This is not exclusive to the genre; it mirrors real life. As much as I dislike how far too many authors portray the new kick-ass heroine in UF, I will admit that it's something that did not exist on bookshelves about 10-20 years ago. And it's such a pervasive concept for exactly that reason.

So, no. I don't think there are too many heroines and not enough heroes. Perhaps one day when women aren't paid seventy-five cents to the men's dollar and one in four women aren't raped and we don't need domestic violence shelters because there isn't domestic violence and other people cease attempting to control, shame, or distort our perception of our bodies and...

Maybe then I'll reconsider.

foreverlasting: (Butterflies)



Coming 12/22/09 from Bloomsbury...
 
Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement in a group of corrupt sorcerers for whom the rules of the living and dead are meant to be broken for greater power. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world.

Want to win an ARC with original sketches from the author inside? See http://fabulousfrock.livejournal.com for details!
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

The other day Lynn Viehl posted at Genreality about her interactions with aspiring writers. 

No one seems to have any idea how much money the average professional writer in the U.S. makes. They never believe me when I tell them it’s about six thousand dollars. What about that girl who wrote Twilight? they demand. She made fifty million last year! And my idea for my book is far superior to hers.
Marjorie M. Liu followed up with an entry of her own:
Technically, nothing wrong with that. But those first essays would come back, marked blood-red, practically apocalyptic in appearance (none of us were spared), and those same girls and boys who thought they could write like Annie Dillard would scream the loudest—and then become so preoccupied with this injustice inflicted upon them (because how dare a professor not find them geniuses) that they would forget that they had come there to learn.
A while back,Tess Gerritsen at Muderati also had some things to say about taking advice. The reason I went looking through her entries is because she actually wrote an even better post on a similar vein a couple years back, but I haven't been able to locate it. I think I may have a hardcopy at my family's home. I'll look for it when I move out of my apartment on Wednesday.
foreverlasting: (Default)

We've seen time and again that covers often don't reflect the characters in a book. Going back to the example of Anne Bishop's books, her covers featuring Cassie (The Shadow Queen and Shalador's Lady) are extremely inaccurate. In the books, she's described as having curly, frizzy hair, a full figure, and in her early 30s. The model on the books is thin to the point of potentially being unhealthy, her hair ramrod straight, and she's young. Very young. In Shalador's Lady she looks closer to 21 than 30. In The Shadow Queen, closer to 16.

Obviously, publishers are pandering to the notion that youth and beauty are what sells. What a shame to finally see a non-traditional heroine (and the only one of Bishop's lead characters who doesn't posess a dark jewel) reduced to 'what sells.'

On the bright side, Justine Larbalestier recently saw a victory. Her latest book, Liar, features a non-white protagonist with decidely non-white hair. The cover features a white girl. With, yet again, long, straight hair. After laying out the details on her blog, fans flooded her with support. Eventually, her publisher, Bloomsbury, caved.


Before and After

Major props to Larbalestier for handling such a delicate situation with strength and grace. It could have easily turned into a Bloomsbury-bashing party. Not that they don't deserve it. Check this out: 

"[Bloomsbury's] original creative direction for Liar – which was intended to symbolically reflect the narrator's complex psychological makeup – has been interpreted by some as a calculated decision to mask the character's ethnicity."
And by 'complex psychological makeup,' do you happen to mean one that is WHITE?

I call bullshit.

Either the publisher was a) too damn disinterested in a middle-list YA author to give two shits about the accuracy of the cover art, b) they're utterly oblivious to the mechanisms of race in our society, or c) this was, indeed, a calculated attempt to draw on what is perceived to be the greater audience, i.e. white buyers.

Although Labarlestier is an Austrailian author, Bloomsbury is her American publisher. If someone in America is oblivious to the affects of race in our society, they're either in denial or they've been living under a rock for a good long time. I vote either a) or c).

EDIT: Okay, I'm willing to grant that it's possible that Bloomsbury--the artists, the editors, everyone--looked at the cover and didn't even think about the implications of race. Maybe. I'd like to see a breakdown of just how many of the Bloomsbury staff involved in this decision are white versus non-white. Further, if they did simply look at the whitewashed cover and think, "Awesome! Off to the printers we go!" it could imply yet another scenario where white privilege remains unexamined and unchecked.

Being white and thus in a position of power often times means not having to  think about other people who view things from a different vantage point. Bloomsbury may not be utterly oblivious, but I'm betting they were thinking from a privileged perspective.

Maybe it was b) after all.
foreverlasting: (Jasmine Sultry)
My roommate moved out today, taking her microwave, toaster, plates, and more with her. Our sink it also clogged, for some unfathomable reason. The plumber is coming tomorrow. In the mean time, it is currently a toxic swamp, due to all the chemicals used in an attempt to clear it. I'm afraid to go into the kitchen. I love this little Parisian-esque oasis, but the 1920s plumbing (with perhaps a few modern adjustments) is wearing on me.

A friend is going to be crashing with me until I have to move out.The people he was going to be subletting from bailed on him, leaving him homeless. Snarl.


Some links I found interesting:

Dear [not just urban fantasy] author, Part I by [personal profile] kaigou. A wake up call for authors, in 3 parts, with change. Long read, but important.

A User's Guide to PTSD, Part I by[info - personal] rachelmanija. One person's experiences of PTSD and how NOT to write characters with PTSD. 3 parts. 
 
foreverlasting: (Jasmine Sultry)
I know I'm behind on this, but:



Release Date: March 2010.

With the exception of Dreams Made Flesh, I'm not a huge fan of the newer Anne Bishop covers. (I've warned anyone who borrows my Black Jewels books not to damage them-- or else --because the original covers aren't being printed anymore.) The colors of this one are particularly acid trippy. I've decided that I like the red of the dress, but not when combined with the bleached-looking blonde of her hair. The fountain's cool, though.
foreverlasting: (Jasmine Sultry)

Saturday night I went blues dancing for the last time until I'm guessing October, and Sunday I went with friends down to Deception Pass, where we had a picnic by the bay. We curled up in blankets and read in the sun. Perfect.

I've been leaving all the windows in the apartment open because of the heat wave recently. This morning when I woke up and padded across the creaky floor in shorts and a tank top, I was greeted by several blasts of cold air. I took a hot shower for once and even put on a sweater. At Haggens today I was contemplating how I could justify buying hot chocolate. Despite how much I love summer, I'm looking forward to the fall.

I'm mere pages away from finishing Nora Roberts' Blood Brothers, the first in her Sign of Seven trilogy. Tomorrow I'm going to amble down to the used bookstore and buy the next two. I bought this one because I was craving a romance whose characters didn't actively piss me off, and the typical NR romance usually leaves me fluffy and happy. Granted, damn near every romance uses gender roles to a certain extent, and Roberts' books aren't the exception, but her female characters aren't whiny and pathetic, and her male characters aren't complete assholes. It's a start.

Also: her male characters in Blood Brothers are not only against rape, but also seem to understand what that entails. I can appreciate that.

I used an ex-boyfriend's mother's recipe the other day and made peanut butter spaghetti. Not as good as I remember it, but still wonderful.
 

foreverlasting: (Rory/Logan)
I'm currently waiting around for the mail carrier to re-deliver what I'm guessing are birthday presents from my parents. To my joy, I got a card from them earlier today. It has a picture of a cupcake on it and in it describes me as "sweet." Yup. That's me. Sweet as raspberry lemonade.

Currently rereading The Dragon Token by Melanie Rawn. It's part of one of those series that I can just pick up where I last left off and keep reading.

I went ballroom dancing last night for the first time in several weeks, and tonight I'm going blues dancing. As a street-ballroom fusion salsa dancer, it's very odd dancing with strictly ballroom salsa dancers. They have a certain formula about them that, unless they dabble in street style, prohibits a lot of independency and cool moves. Still fun all the same, but I can't wait to go to Century in Seattle next week and salsa for real.

Other than that, I've no real plans. I think I'm going to browse a few used book stores for new reads and hit the rec center later today. Or I might just sit around and watch October Road. Who knows.

Mmm summer. So glorious.

foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

I finally finished reading The Prize by Brenda Joyce the other day. For a romance, it's pretty long. Nearly 600 pages. The irony is that they printed it on thinner paper, and so it's not even as thick as your average 300-pager.

The immaturity of both the main characters was irritating, particularly Virginia. I did like the setting, and how they went through a multitude of ups and downs before they got their HEA (not that I'm a huge fan of HEAs, but I digress).

However, one scene truly bothered me, to the point where I nearly stopped reading for good.

"Panic came. He was too big. She was only eighteen. He was her captor. She was afraid and she wasn't ready. What if he didn't love her!
[...]
"Devlin, don't," she began.
But it was simply too late. Crying out, he thrust into her..."

I think the only reason I continued reading from there was the ambiguity of whether or not there it actually was too late. But my first reaction was, "RAPE!" And according to the Yes Means Yes model, it certainly was. In retrospect, there was no enthusiastic yes. There was no communication. Nothing that would indicate actual consent. I really shouldn't have continued reading it. However, since I did, I would like to question two things:
 

1. According to the Smart Bitches, the trend for rape in romance novels has decreased since the 80s to the point of almost non-existence. Apparently, when books do include rape them them, huge shitstorms ravage the web from angry readers and other authors. A prelim search (Google, Amazon, popular romance review blogs) indicate that no one seems to identify the rape in this book AS rape. Some reviewers are quick to point out the characters' relationship as dysfunctional and cliche; as someone currently taking a romantic relationships psych course, I have to agree. There were too many drawbacks to the relationships from the get-go. That they were able to overcome them makes it an interesting story, but it also is highly unrealistic. (I must be one of those heretic younger readers who find outdated ideals offensive.)

The fact that no one is commenting on the rape in this book is disturbing, and I believe that it may point to even greater problems. If the ambiguity of whether there was consent threw even me, then what would the average romance reader think? Probably nothing. This leads me to wonder whether or not rape in romances is actually decreasing, or whether our definition of rape in romance novels isn't changing as quickly as our actual, real-world definition has. She didn't say yes? That's rape. In romances, however, we like our sex scenes as hot and suave as possible--and that may not include securing authentic consent. I have a bad feeling that many romance novels have their heroes forgo asking for a yes and are still banking on the absence of a no in order to create a sex scene that is sexy and not complicated with modern matters such as ensuring all parties are happy and willing.

2. Why was this scene written? It's hazy enough that I could believe that the author didn't intend it as a rape scene. Then where did it come from? The heroine had doubts. She explicitly said no. Do not collect $200, do not pass go. But the hero both ignored her request (y'know, being so caught up in his uncontrollable passion and all) and didn't even pause to check in on how she was doing after the pentration.

I don't understand WHY. What does it do for the story, but to create an atmosphere of conflict? To indicate who is dominate and who is submissive? 

Forgoing the acquisition of consent is not sexy. It is not romantic. It is violence, and no matter how many layers of sugar you coat it, it will always be violence.
foreverlasting: (Psych Major)

My current read is The Prize by Brenda Joyce. Considering the epic failure of the last Joyce novel I read (I began an internal, mocking dialogue at about a fourth way through Dark Embrace--"Lookit me! I'm a female and simpering and you are male and thus so hotly tragic and I WILL HEAL YOU WITH MY FEMININE POWER IN THE NAME OF LUUUURVE!") I was hesitant to read another. This one's historical, which hacks off even more points, because by necessity historicals are lathered in gender roles. I really don't understand how any modern woman could even remotely consider historicals to be romantic. Or sexy. Perhaps it requires a suspension of disbelief that I simply don't posess. Whether this is a good or bad thing has yet to be decided.

That said, despite the multitude of improbabilities (young girl travels from America alone and is captured by a lusty pirate yet is not raped or even assaulted, even though his sole reason for capturing her is to stick it to her uncle) and tired/unrealistic plot devices (hello, stockholm syndrome), I'm amused enough by the heroine's antics to continue reading. I like her. Mostly. And I like the 1800s. 

Also: It could be a coincidence, but what's with the trend of Joyce portraying her heroines as previously chaste woman who suddenly cravecravecrave sex from the hero, who wants it just as bad, but continually refuses for unknown reasons and repeatedly turns her own desire against her as an insult? ("You want to have sex with me? You whore! You're not supposed to actually WANT it!")

foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

I got into an interesting discussion with my Romantic Relationships prof during break today, but first, a flashback to a Washington Post article from 2008. It was published shortly after the final Twilight book hit the shelves. 

"Yet on some level, it seems that children may know human nature better than grown-ups do. Consider: The fascination that romance holds for many girls is not a mere social construct..."

Yes. Yes it is. 

"...it derives from something deeper. In my research on youth and gender issues, I have found that despite all the indoctrination they've received to the contrary, most of the hundreds of teenage girls I have interviewed in the United States, Australia and New Zealand nevertheless believe that human nature is gendered to the core..."

No. No it isn't. I don't care if thousands of uneducated, hormone-driven teenage girls tell you it is; it's still not gonna be.

And for the record, would someone like to point me in the direction of the big flashing sign that says, "GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, YOU ARE WHO YOU WANT TO BE"? No? What do you mean it doesn't exist, and so this mythological indoctrination of anti-gendered ideals couldn't possibly exist either?

More to the point: If teenage girls haven't been subjected to social norms depicting more than two possibilities for gender, or told that gender doesn't actually exist, how could they ever believe otherwise?

"...They are hungry for books that reflect that sensibility. Three decades of adults pretending that gender doesn't matter haven't created a generation of feminists who don't need men; they have instead created a horde of girls who adore the traditional male and female roles and relationships in the "Twilight" saga."

They seek out books that reflect gender roles because we teach them from birth that women and men are opposites and can only function when divided into separate boxes. They adore these roles because our media tells them exactly what they need to look like, be like, and act like. People like to laugh when I tell them that our media is teaching young girls that they should grow up to be saved by men, and then I point out shit like Twilight. Throughout the entire series, Bella doesn't do a damn thing for herself. Meanwhile, Edward controls her, operantly conditions her be with him, renders her utterly dependent on him, and Meyer portrays this as love. Teenage girls think this is love.

Let me state this simply.

ABUSE IS NOT LOVE.

Taking advantage of someone due to an inbalance of power IS NOT LOVE.

Now to get to what my professor was saying: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is the perfect reflection of the average teenage girl's romantic fantasy.

It's natural to obsess over a partner in a new relationship and part of the process. It's self-serving, because we constantly think about them, constantly want to be with them, which protects and promotes the relationship. This is fine, in and of itself. Where it becomes dangerous is when we combine this obsession with gender roles and effectively give the male-identified individual in the relationship more power than the female-identified individual.

We teach girls to obsess, to focus all their energy on being in a relationship. We. Teach. Them. We do this to them, we tell them that this is who they should be. And we tell them over and over and over again. Obsession might not be inherently negative, but when a girl/woman trades in her identity and free choice for a boy/man's and does so because society has been telling her she should since she could walk, we have a gender-based problem. Brushing it off the table by saying "Look here! Proof that this is what they want!" does nothing to address the issue.
foreverlasting: (Psych Major)
Jacqueline Carey is quirky and funny. Apparently she was a psych major (!!!) and found that useful for writing. No joke. Among many, many other things, I'm a fan of Holly Lisle's use of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to brainstorm conflict. She read an excerpt from Naamah's Curse, as of yet unpublished sequel to her newly-released Naamah's Kiss, which unfortunately I still don't posess. However, I did recently finish Santa Olivia and she signed that. Written by any other author, I would have found the first couple chapters boring, but her writing style sold it for me. She said during the Q&A that there would be a sequel, though I don't know how I feel about that. I feels more like a one-shot to me.

A friend and I discussed Carey's Kushiel series on the way home. She's written 6 books, 2 trilogies, and has started a third trilogy, all within the same world. Continuing in the universe and sometimes with the same characters is tough. All too often it feels like--and I say this tentatively--authors write more than one book because that's what sells. Particularly within the SF/F realm. If they're smart, they'll leave a couple doors (or windows, as Jacqueline Carey says) open and when it comes down to a three-book deal, they can write more than one book, and the series will be fluidly connected. It's easy to pick out when authors, especially first-time authors, don't think they're going to be writing more than one book in that world or with those characters. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is one example (more on Twilight in another post). I have a strong hunch that Melanie Rawn did not intend for Dragon Prince to evolve into 2 trilogies. Not because the series itself was bad (it's amazing), but because the first book was so self-contained. I could be mistaken, but as it was her first published book I'm guessing she wrote it as a stand-alone, was at some point offered a multi-book deal, and went from there. The smooth transition from stand-alone to series is testimony to her skill as a writer above all.

Trilogies or series are what sell. When readers get hooked in a particular world, that's all they want to read (hence some of the outrage over Jacqueline Carey's switch to writing Santa Olivia, a completely different kind of book from her Kushiel series). Somehow, can Carey write an evocative series without it becoming trite or redundant (see: anything by Laurell K. Hamilton these days). Color me impressed.

Unfortunately, as much as I worship Anne Bishop's writing, I don't think the Black Jewels series needed to be continued past the trilogy timeline-wise.  I appreciated Dreams Made Flesh because it gave some closure and answered some questions, but Tangled Webs (albeit funny) seemed like a... complete tangent. The Shadow Queen seems like more of a return to her style in The Invisible Ring, but because it's after spoiler ), it's not the same world. The desperation that drove the characters in the trilogy and The Invisible Ring isn't there anymore. The characters may still have needs and conflict, but it isn't anywhere near the same scale. I'm still going to buy her books for as long as I can, especially if she switches to writing another, new world (don't touch Tir Alainn. Don't touch it. It's done, it's perfect, leave it alone). I still love her writing style. She's still my favorite author. But I think it's obvious that she didn't plan for these books past the trilogy, and her newer Black Jewels books don't resonate with me in the same way as the originals.

That said, meeting her was a buzz. She signed the copy of Daughter of the Blood I've been carrying around with me everywhere for the past 6 years, and a new copy of The Invisible Ring for a friend who introduced me to the books.

It's been a crazy week.
foreverlasting: (Butterflies)

Quick drive-by update for the curious:

-I met Anne Bishop on Thursday and must have babbled at her about how awesome she is for a solid 60 seconds. She read from The Shadow Queen and her voice sounded exactly like I could imagine Cassie's being.
-After getting back to Bellingham the next night at 7PM, I turned around and went back down to Seattle an hour later for salsa dancing at HaLo.
-Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I am going back down to Seattle again, tomorrow, this time for Jacqueline Carey's signing. Oh my.

Back to analyzing Romeo & Juliet  through a reactance theory lens.
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

I understand that a genre can start out as one thing and evolve into another, but when even the origins of said genre are misrepresented, it becomes a little too much.

1. If a book is referred to as 'urban fantasy,' then it damn well better feature a setting that could even remotely be considered urban. Set in the present real world outside a city? Contemporary. Contemporary. Urban fantasy is a subset of contemporary fantasy, not the overarching umbrella of all modern-era, real-world fantasies. A novel can be both urban fantasy and contemporary, but not all contemporaries can be urban.

2. Urban fantasy existed before Nail Gaiman AND Laurell K. Hamilton. They didn't appear on the UF scene until the mid-to-late 90s. Charlaine Harris didn't publish her first Sookie Stackhouse novel until 2001. Who were the harbringers of the genre, then? Charles de Lint. Terri Windling. Emma Bull.

UF originated in the 70s and 80s, not the 90s like too many people tend to believe. My guess this occurs because UF in the 70s and 80s didn't necessarily (if at all) feature what we consider to be the earmarks of UF today: kick-ass heroines and their string of boy-toys. Instead, they focused more on regular people who were connected in some way to magic while living in an urban setting. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Urban fantasy is NOT about the kick-ass heroines. In fact, let me go a little farther and say: ENOUGH. I don't want to read about some half-vamp, half-wolf wanna-be slayer who takes names while wearing stilettos* and fucking every goddamn male being that trots along. Stop it. Just stop it. I'm all for consensual sex regardless of the number or type of partners, but the "ambiguity" of the heroine's relationship HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH URBAN FANTASY. If you want a book that deals in HEA-less sexual affairs, go petition the RWA into changing their requirements for a romance, or write literary love stories and give Nicholas Sparks a run for his money. (Or, hell, just convert all the way and write erotic romance or straight-up erotica.) UF is not the ghetto to write whatever won't fit into other genres.

Additionally, from a feminist standpoint, I can see why ass-kicking heroines are often portrayed as magically and/or physically strong AND as women uncommitted to any particular relationship. It's a short-cut. Why attempt to go through all the effort of writing a character that is strong because of who she is and the choices she makes, when all she needs to do is have sex with multiple God-like men? Newsflash: having sex with 2+ partners is no more feminist than having sex with one partner. It does not make her stronger, and in some cases, it simply makes her indecisive; the victim of yet another stereotype of femininity.

Urban fantasy is about people living in urban settings that interact with magic or magical beings in some way. I can appreciate the lean toward equality by making the majority of lead characters women, but it's not about the ass-kicking heroines. It's really not. And if you're going to portray a heroine as kick-ass, regardless of the genre, make her genuinely kick-ass, emotionally and mentally. Don't take short-cuts.


*Speaking as a ballroom dancer, if slaying demons were possible while wearing heels, I'd drop out of college and start hunting.

Found via Smart Bitches.
foreverlasting: (Default)
I GET TO MEET ANNE BISHOP IN LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS!

That is all.
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)

To my dismay, today has involved quite a bit of me running around for what turned out to be a fruitless effort. Both the people I'm subletting from as well as my property manager neglected to tell me that I needed two additional keys--one for the mailbox, and one for the building's front door. Many hours later, 2 trips to the property manager out in the middle of a residential zone bordering on rural, 1 key wrongly copied, and lots of coffee consumed, I ended up back at my apartment without anything to show for it. A couple hours after that and additional phone calls made, they property manager had the right front door key copied and hand-delivered it to me. I think they felt bad. They didn't say anything to the effect of feeling bad--they're too arrogant for that--but I think they felt bad. Maybe. I still don't have a mailbox key.


A couple weeks ago, I lent a male-identified friend The Venus Fix by M.J. Rose. Romances aren't really his thing, particularly not psychological thrillers, and I knew this, but we had been discussing pornography at the time and The Venus Fix has a solid perspective on how it impacts people. He later came back and told me he could definitely tell the book was written by a woman. I asked him why. He said that when the heroine woke up and opened her eyes, the hero described them as an ocean (or a storm, or something nature related... whatever). He laughed and commented on how cheesy-slash-creepy that would be if a guy did that in real life. I have to agree with him. I'd probably fall off the couch laughing if a guy looked into my eyes and declared them to be wonderously similar to soil. Or something.

Outrageous nature comparisons aside, I think it's worthy to note that women-identified folk writing men don't necessarily write men's thoughts and behaviors as they typically might be. Which isn't to say that no man would ever compare someone's eyes to a raging venus fly trap (okay, I'm done now), but I have to wonder whether it's the author's--and, subsequently, women in general's--wistfullness to be considered special manifesting in print. Women are taught from the cradle that their worth is determined solely by their attachment to a male. Of course we would want to believe, and thus put down on paper, that men think our eyes are remarkable.

foreverlasting: (Rory/Logan)
I ended up with three more books before leaving for the 'Ham yesterday;

-Hawkspar by Holly Lisle
-My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel
-Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan

The last was even a signed stock-copy. According to one of the booksellers, she had been in town recently and was wickedly funny. I stayed up late reading it last night. I've been following Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for a couple years, but I still wasn't expecting the level of critical analysis and feminist scrutiny Sarah and Candy have packed into their book. My former roommate Kiki took an English course on romance novels last quarter and groaned the entire time. The list of books they read leaned heavily on the literary side rather than romances published AS romances. This is also ignoring the fact that they included Twilight as an assigned read.

Thus spawned this Facebook message. Consider it my review.

"So I'm currently reading a book that I swear should have been the ONLY book necessary to teach in your romance novel class. It's a snarky, sarcastic critical analysis of romance novels across the decades through a feminist lens that passes even my BS-detector (as in, the authors didn’t skip corners or sugarcoat the bad shit, which is what tends to happen when you’re trying to prove something isn’t awful and instead is totally feminist, which it is, and yet it isn’t, but I digress). They call the genre on its many (I typed ‘huge’ and then realized what a pun that would be) flaws but explain why not all romances are as stupid as their stereotype portrays them to be. AND THEY COMBINE SWEAR WORDS WITH FOOD ITEMS. NO, REALLY.

"I think you would appreciate its epicness, and I fully intend on bothering you, Harry Potter Puppet Pals-style, into reading it come fall. Just so you know."
 

Yes, Kiki and I have an affinity for combining random swear words with food items. Deal with it.

Books aside, I moved into my summer apartment yesterday, and it is glorious. I currently have Sara Bareilles blasting out of the speakers in the dining room, and I'm living off Ramen and bread. Class starts Tuesday. Woooo.
foreverlasting: (Strength)
A friend lent me Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell, and I'm trying to finish it before I head back to the 'Ham. Bell's writing reminds me quite a bit of Alma Alexander's in her The Hidden QueenChanger of Days duology.

My mother took me out this morning for coffee and a fresh stack of books at Barnes & Noble:

-Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
-The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis
-Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

Additionally, Jacqueline Carey's latest novel, Namaah's Kiss, technically isn't supposed to come out until next week, but has already hit the shelves. I pre-ordered a signed copy some months ago; unfortunately, it won't arrive until July.

I am now also on Goodreads. Feel free to friend me.
foreverlasting: (Dangerous)
As I type this I'm munching on a homemade blueberry muffin and drinking milk out of a coffee mug as a late breakfast. I think, once classes start up again and I'm settled into my summer apartment, I'm going to make a small batch and have one for breakfast alongside iced coffee straight from my french press. (I'm going to need both. My first class Mon-Thur is at 8AM. On the bright side, I'll get to talk about romantic relationships all morning. How cool is that?) 

Yesterday Marjorie M. Liu celebrated  the fifth anniversary of selling her first book. Happy anniversary, Marjorie!

Last night I went to hang with a friend I haven't seen in several months (she goes to university on the East Coast). We made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which were delicious and made the room smell of yumminess.

I recently finished reading Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce. Enjoyable, particularly since I've taken a rather thorough geology course in the past year, but no where near her best. I haven't kept up with her books since Trickster's Queen for some reason. I'm not sure if I'm feeling the age gap or if her writing is just going in a direction that simply isn't my cup of tea. 

Speaking of Tamora Pierce, I ran into this at the Tamora Pierce LOLcats Association:



Even after all these years, I instantly recognized the joke (see: Protector of the Small quartet). It made me giggle. 
foreverlasting: (Psych Major)
My first final was at the grudgingly early time of 8AM. Not a fan, but I think I passed. Afterwards I crashed in bed to the sound of Kiki packing and dreamed of faeries and curses. When I came to, we had the following conversation:

Kayla: "You're so weird."
Kiki: "Like you're not? You're a psych major."
Kayla: "I'm justified. You're not."
Kiki: "Who're you to judge me?!?!"
Kayla: "...a psych major."


On an unrelated note, I've been the victim of hiccups off and on all day. The record is currently at 5 separate sets.

I'd also like to note the significance of the 5 typed as a number, rather than spelled out. This, ladies, gentlemen, and gender-benders, is the direct result of becoming a slave to the psych department. I used to be well-versed in MLA. Now, I practically breathe APA. I know, I know; it's saddening.


I was browsing Carolyn Jewel's site this afternoon, and ran across this pretty:

"By and large, Romances are written for women by women and historically and presently, the efforts and contributions of woman are culturally denigrated across the entire social spectrum. Professions once traditionally male often see a decline in prestige and wages when women enter the profession. If men were to read and/or admit they read, romances, the reputation of the genre would soar. Romances exist in a ghetto and a lot of readers simply never take notice of them because they're not mainstream fiction. Romances need to leave the ghetto."
 
From a feminist standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. I more than agree that romance as a genre is a powerful, pro-woman industry. Unfortunately, every time I read a romance and I find myself mocking the characters for their trite and over-played gender roles, I have to wonder whether romance novels leaving the ghetto will honestly do any good. It's may be a female-run industry, but is it truly feminist?

More on that when I have my thoughts in order. Back to studying for Stats.

Profile

foreverlasting: (Default)
foreverlasting

June 2012

S M T W T F S
     1 2
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Page generated Aug. 19th, 2017 02:53 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags