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30 August 2017

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Oh CR, you can't expect us to help you save you from yourself! We both know this stuff it catnip to you! : )

Re: the sex quote from the book, how does he know she wasn't faking it?

Ruthiella,
Yeah, I know. I really and truly think I might be over it now, though.
Until next time, anyway. Ha!

Oh, the quote. Well, Rich had a good time, so of course she did too, right? Always reminds me of the classic Jerry/Elaine moment on Seinfeld:
"You faked it? What about the the breathing, the panting, the moaning, the screaming?"
"Fake, fake, fake, fake."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgHThXuheOM

And of course maybe they did climax at the same moment. Big whoop. The rest of the time he mostly spends disdaining her for her money and her political and philanthropic choices. Yup, a love affair for the ages, kablammo.

Well done! You roasted this POS until it was well done. Never, and I mean NEVER, trust a man to write about female sexuality.

I spent my 20s reading John Updike because, Great American Novelist, and it wasn't until I was in my 30s that I finally understood that he was a DICK and wrote the worst female characters EVER. Blessedly this guy has sunk like an anvil out of the watery consciousness of the Shit Storm that is current American culture. Jesus, I hate myself for all the time I spent reading Updike 1973 - 1982.

I still don't get why women defend Philip Roth, who is another totally creepy guy who wrote horrible female characters.

Truly, I don't know why we have to write about women's sex lives at all seeing as how it's only men who think sex is the be-all and end-all. Am I crazy, or are women about so much more than how/when/where they achieve orgasm? Sex is a footnote to all the growing and reaching and changing and overcoming and liberating and re-imagining and re-defining that women have to deal with in becoming their true selves. Do men not understand that?

Oh, Vivian,
What's sadder is that I'm learning not to trust men to write about female anything. I'm going to have to sit down and think, now, what novels I've read by men and what the female characters were like.

Kent Haruf, maybe? I seem to remember a strong woman being at the center of his "The Tie that Binds," but god, was that a sad book.

Ugh, John Updike, are they still making high schoolers read him? Rabbit Angstrom, talk about another bastard. Hilarious to think that I once read Updike too, only not for school, I wonder why I bothered. It's so long ago now I can't even remember!

I'm not really bothered by the sex or a man writing about a woman's sex life (although, as you point out, maybe the sex life could be part of the larger life, and not the only role they fulfill in the story?). I just so would like to see it done WELL. Just once. Anyone got any suggestions for me where I could find that? Maybe Martin Amis?

ha ha ha that's a joke, of course. I tend to think of Updike-Roth-Martin Amis as the holy triumvirate of Twentieth Century Boring Male Writers.

Hey CR,

I think the problem is that you're reading the wrong genre. Literary fiction, to me, has always meant a supercilious male narrator with no connections to reality, boring on about irrelevancies.

You may want to try reading some "women's fiction" (which is often just a euphemism for women-centered stories that incorporate sex & romance but don't make it their be-all/end-all, and frequently have characters in their 30s, 40s or 50s). It does have the angst, the exploration of social issues, etc., and is written at least as well as the "literary" stuff. But there's closure! And often, a satisfying ending as well.

If you'd like some authors/titles to start with, just let me know ~ they run the gamut from sweet and frothy to more hard-edged & suspenseful so there should be something for you in the mix!

Lynne!
Well, fair enough. But I do like some literary fiction. I don't really need the happy, or even just the satisfying ending, but I do like some indication that something has happened, somewhere.

It's all very interesting, what a person reads and why. I am sitting here trying to think how to explain why I don't really read much women's fiction. Mostly I just don't like it, although the common themes of parenting, work, life, etc., seem like they would appeal. For that I tend to go to nonfiction. Often when I read fiction I like guys to be involved or to be the main character, because the truth of the matter is that I really like guys! And have always gotten along well with them. But I just don't see much in fiction lately that relates the kind of man/woman dynamic I enjoy--you know, the one where they can just treat each other like people.

But perhaps I should widen my horizons. If you were going to suggest three women's fiction authors to me to start with, who would you name?

One of my favorite woman literary fiction writers is Julia Glass, but she doesn't do sex scenes. She will be at the Book Festival this year. Have you seen the lineup? Anyone you are going to see?

Katharine,
Yeah, that's okay, I don't actually need sex scenes. (I don't mind them either, unless of course they include the word "kablammo.") What title of Julia Glass's should I start with?

OMG the book festival. I almost completely forgot about it! I'll have to look up the lineup. Anyone you're interested in going to be there?

What book festival? Is it near Long Island?

Alice in Alice in Wonderland is awesome. She gives as good as she gets, and she's quick to call bullshit when she sees it. Trying hard to remember anything I've read recently that has a female character with the same gumption.

Nope. Can't think of any.

Vivian!
The Wisconsin Book Festival: http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.org/
Can your publisher pay for you to come speak and show off your book? Please? Oh wait, publishers don't pay for random book tours? Well, that's ridiculous. They should be taking their profits from all the political memoirs and putting them into actually readable authors like yourself.

I saw this today and thought of you. John Updike on Fresh Air (as an example of "the best of Fresh Air"):

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/30/547036145/celebrating-30-years-of-fresh-air-pulitzer-prize-winning-novelist-john-updike

You're welcome.

Hahahaha, well, I admit that I nearly fell for this too! I read the NYT review and thought some of the excerpts were kind of funny, and I was like "maybe this will be the one version of this type of book I don't loathe." But see, you've saved me from that. Thanks, friend! Sorry you had to suffer through it first!

Well, first a couple of disclaimers:

(1) I read a lot of WF a while back; I'm more into mystery/SFF now, especially Urban Fantasy. But these are authors I still enjoy, in no particular order.

And (2) I came to these authors and the genre from romance, which is what I was reading intensively for a while to learn about the genre, and these all have strong romance backgrounds and a substantial romance backlist.

But I've got enough angst in my own life; I prefer not to read stories that don't end on an upbeat note.

Kristin Hannah is one who consistently scores well with people I've introduced to her.

Beth Kendrick is a favorite of mine. She is humorous without being silly; incisive but not mean, and her people seem real to me.

And finally I'd suggest Rachael Herron. With your knitting allergy ;-) you'll probably want to stay away from her Cypress Hollow series but she has several she labels "mainstream fiction" you may find interesting.

Jenny,
The funny thing is, I write these reviews, and I may be mad I read the book, but...I still kind of what everyone else to read it and tell me what they thought. A lot of times I'll specifically get books I've read bad reviews of, just to see what the kerfuffle was...I would LOVE to chew this one over in a book group, for instance, although I'm not sure how it would go in a co-ed book group. Maybe I just didn't get it. Maybe the guy was supposed to be such an enlightened male doofus that I was supposed to find him funny.

Anyway. Then again, if I have saved you some time, that makes me happy too!

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