Friday, September 24, 2010

My take on the Franzen Flap of 2010

Forgive the lapse of posts recently, but I just had my second child and life's been, um, busy.  Hardly enough time to read, let alone write!  But I have been meaning for weeks now to weigh in on the fuss about Jonathan Franzen and his new book.

To recap, Jonathan Franzen published a new book this summer and landed not only 2 NYT book reviews but the cover of Time as well.  Then Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult got lots of press for protesting.

My take?  I am firmly on their side.  My reaction to seeing the cover, even before the #franzenfreude started, was "WTF, why does this dude get the cover of  Time??". 

I'm pretty tired of literary fiction by men getting all the attention.  Case in point: nearly every book blog I read this summer gushed about One Day by David Nicholls.  I got very tired of the pandering, and eventually angry, because I read it and HATED it.  I thought the characters, particularly the male protagonist, were downright unlikeable.  And other than a few comic scenes, the novel was dull, dull, dull - with a total cop-out of an ending.  But everyone else was giving him the blog equivalent of a blow job.

Frankly, One Day is a pale imitation of a women's fiction novel, written by a man.  It's a quasi-romance.  It tries to get into the characters' heads.  And in my opinion failed miserably.  (I'll be honest - I'm not a big fan of Nick Hornby, either.)

And you know damn well that if One Day had been written by a woman... it would NEVER have gotten so much attention.  I think that's what makes me the maddest.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More writing...

Just signed the contract for my 3rd nonfiction book about Women's Fiction! Will be part of the Genreflecting Series.   Due out Fall/Winter 2011.  Also just submitted the Women's Lives and Relationships chapter to the forthcoming next edition of Genreflecting, and got my finished copy of Integrated Advisory Service: Breaking Through the Book Boundary to Better Serve Library Users ,where I contributed to the Women's Stories section.