Vanity Fair was a magazine of no opinion, but I had opinions. So I was fired.”
— the inimitable Dorothy Parker
(Source: The Atlantic)
The end of my childhood is in sight.
Jim loved your card so much he ate it." That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received.”
— R.I.P. Maurice Sendak, a truly remarkable man.
How astounded and indignant was I, when innocent, to find reviewers blabbing, and with the sublime inaccuracy of drunken lords reporting on a peasants’ revolt, all the turns of my suspenseful and surpriseful narrative! Most ironically, the only readers who approach a book as the author intends, unpolluted by pre-knowledge of the plot, are the detested reviewers themselves. And then, years later, the blessed fool who picks the volume at random from a library shelf.”
— John Updike’s Six Rules for Constructive Criticism
Langella reveals something certain commentators have obscured: sluts are the best — hungry for experience and generous with themselves in its pursuit.”
— My top choice of celebrity reading material for this year has to be Frank Langella’s new memoir,
I Don’t Give a Fuck Dropped Names.
(Source: The New York Times)
Apparently Women Like to Read Sexy Stuff
Is this where I clutch my pearls and say, “Well, I never!”?
I don’t know what kind of dainty ladyfolk the rest of the world has been living with, but the women I know are really into sex. When I was 13 my mother’s elder sister personally escorted me to the local library and got me my very first Mills & Boon. She considered it a ritual of sorts, to mark my entry into teenage. (On a sidenote: my auntie is awesome!)
I can’t remember the name of it but it was about a world famous musician and the journalist he knocks up and then abandons thanks to misunderstandings created by his ex. They meet again, he doesn’t know he left her pregnant, she doesn’t know that he doesn’t know; both of them express their hurt feelings in an extremely juvenile fashion which immediately appealed to my teen self, and hey! presto! I switched from reading about real life axe murderers to Ekta Kapoor’s inspirational material. And you bet it came with a side helping of explicit sex.
You know all those “women’s fiction” novels? They’re full of people getting it on and in ever more creative ways. In fact, things have gotten so creative over the past few decades that now fantasy isn’t just a genre restricted to martial elves and other deeply literary creatures once popularized by nerdy professors of Old English. Erotic fantasy is a huge segment of the market and women are all over it, baby!
All the Twilight nonsense gives the vast non-reading public (mostly men) the false impression that women must be really drawn to chaste romances. After all, we read Jane Austen! Well, don’t forget True Blood is also written by a woman and those novels are just as sexy as the TV series. In fact, Twilight is really an aberration and its success, I think, is due to the fact that it’s evolved into a mother-daughter activity by this point.
The real stars of erotic fantasy are female and it’s a dark, dark place where you can only look at Twilight-inspired BDSM like Fifty Shades of Grey with a sort of indulgent fondness. Laurell K. Hamilton, for the most famous example, writes two separate series - one featuring zombies and vampires, the other faeries. And the two have explored pretty much everything the human body can handle (including rape) and then moved on to the benefits of otherworldly sex, such as the pleasurable use of tentacles and interspecies sex.
Remember the big news last year about self-published web-based authors who were making tons of money and seeing lots of success despite only ever selling their books on Amazon.com? Guess what the poster girl for that story wrote? That’s right, erotic fantasy.
And the thing about erotic fantasy is that applying the tag “fantasy” immediately detaches a certain kind of reader from real world values. While a great number of these books feature strong willed heroines who perform as full participants in the sexual acts, there are plenty of women who enjoy the more submissive bits and feel more comfortable about it in a fantasy setting. After all, you can’t help the fact that you enjoyed sex as a sex slave if you’re magicked out of your mind by powerful faeries who use sex to control you.
So I guess the real news here is that most people have no fucking clue what women read.