Tag Archives: Literature

Am I Sexist?

Toni Morrison… Because I don’t like female authors?

Ok, this isn’t easy for me to admit. I am not even sure if it’s true. I don’t even know if it’s sexism or something else, but there are so many male authors on my favourites list- and only a few females.

You might say it’s not surprising. After all, there were- historically- more male writers. Women of the past didn’t enjoy the freedom to write and to get their voices heard. It is, more or less changed today. Still, number of male writers is still higher.

Not to mention most of the so called “classics” are written by men. It’s not surprising for anyone to have more males on the list of favourite authors.

But there’s more. I seem to dislike most of the books written by females. It’s not like it’s impossible to find many books written by female authors these days. But it seems I don’t get them. And I’m not even talking about the so-called “chick lit” garbage that we all know it’s a poor excuse for literature. I’m talking about serious books. Why don’t I like them? Or to say it better: why don’t I like them as much as I like those written by men?

Why isn’t it easier for me, as a woman, to identify with stories written by females? Am I so brainwashed with testosterone-filled world to see anything different as a good thing? But hey people, I do not believe in male vs female writing. I do not believe men write differently than women- I swear, I don’t. I do not think it’s possible to say whether a writer is a man or a woman. I don’t think testosterone or estrogen guides anyone’s heart, mind or muse. I think the whole “men and women are soooo different” issue is rubbish.

In short, I don’t think females write differently than males- but I still seem to prefer literature written by men. (On the other hand, I enjoy academic books and essays written by female scholars. But that’s not the same).

There seem to be only a few female authors I enjoy reading. One of them is one of my favourite authors (and, along with Ian McEwan, my favourite living author). I’m talking about Toni Morrison, of course. Her novels are one of the best I’ve ever read, and “Jazz” is easily in my top 10 books. The way this woman writes is unbelievable and beyond amazing. (The funny thing is, I had no idea author was a woman (or black for that matter) when I first read “Jazz”).

Except for Toni Morrison, I like work of Pearl Buck (ironic, isn’t it? I mean, for these two ladies to be my fav female authors?) I also like, in a very nostalgic way, Charlotte Bronte (but I guess that’s because Jane Eyre was perhaps my favorite book when I was a kid). And… And I can’t think of more authors at the moment. And it’s not like I don’t read.

This trend, I’m afraid, goes beyond literature. My favourite musicians are men. Maybe it could be explained with the fact I prefer deep voices and to give it as a reason for preferring male singers. Maybe. But literature?

So, am I sexist?

PS-As a little gift, here’s one female musician I like. In fact, I’m really into this song these days, it is amazing on so many levels and it inspires me. And only really unique songs can truly inspire an author. A female one, in this case.

The power of writing: Atonement

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a really good book. I mean, I read a lot, but finding a quality book is not an easy task. Finding a quality book written in THIS millennium is almost impossible.

You could see why McEwan’s “Atonement” was a refreshing, a wonderful surprise. I read it a few days ago and I’m still under its spell… And impressing me- that’s not an easy task.
By the way, I haven’t seen the film yet (perhaps I will); some people say it stays true to the novel, but I don’t think you could really adapt such a story to movie screen, now can you?

McEwan’s “Atonement” is boring at times, which is one of the best things about it. I have a theory, you see. Some of the greatest works (novels, films) are painfully boring at the beginning. Just think of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. “Atonement” has the same problem, but slow parts are, in fact, the best ones.

I love McEwan’s writing style, it’s really special. It’s… soft and nostalgic, but sharp and precise at the same time. And Briony T. character is well written, realistic and unique. It really touched me, this novel, because I was one of those weird child writers that are sometimes unable to perceive the world outside of their stories. No, wait, this sounds too weird. What I’m saying is, I know what is like to be 12 or 13 years old and lonely, writing your fifth novel, and every exciting moment in the real world around you inspires you to write. I was into mystery novels, and things such as small robbery at school (done by one of the kids, I guess) became inspiration to write a larger story, with detectives and conspiracies. Don’t get me wrong, I could always tell the difference between fiction and reality, yet, I enjoyed writing stories, because in stories, life was more exciting, people were honest and I was not just one of those uncool kids but protagonist of an important story.

What I’m saying is, I could understand the great power that writing could have to a teenager, and I love the way McEwan deal with questions about writing itself, its honesty and dishonesty, its power to affect the author and its strength to, well, messes up with someone’s life.

A great book, brilliant ending, I wish there were more novels like this one.