Our recipe for an ideal summer weekend is pretty simple. In fact, it only requires two ingredients: a beach and a book. But what exactly are the components of a truly great beach read? Let’s break it down…
Jennifer Egan is one of my favorite authors of all time. I devour her books, care about her characters, and recommend her novels to anyone looking for a good, meaty read. I was thrilled that her latest, A Visit from the Goon Squad, a novel about the ravages of time on characters working in the music industry (to distill it way, way down) got so much attention from publications like The New York Times Book Review this past year. And when a buddy of mine sent me a link via IM to a Wall Street Journal story yesterday about Egan winning the Pulitzer Prize for the book, I was so happy for her — and for women writers everywhere. But then I scrolled down to the end of the story. Keep reading »
A few months ago the author Jonathan Franzen published his novel, Freedom, and among bookworms, it was like a new “Star Wars” movie being released or Angelina Jolie popping out another baby. Not only did President Obama make headlines for snagging an advanced copy to read on vacation, but Franzen made the prestigious New York Times book review not once, but twice, in a single week. That was all too much for author Jodi Picoult. “Is anyone shocked?” she tweeted, no doubt rolling her eyes. “Would love to see the Times write about authors who aren’t white male literary darlings.” Everyone weighed in with their opinion — sexism? sour grapes? — including here on The Frisky. The matter was settled, at least for moi, when the blog Slate.com did an old-fashioned author byline count of The New York Times Book Review. That publication does, in fact, review more books written by men than women.
For us lady writers at The Frisky, it was all pretty disheartening. (Kate may be the only one who has published a book thus far, but there are several of us on staff who go home and peck on our laptops some more.) Now there’s more “ugh”-ness to “ugh!” deep in our bellies: Author Tawni O’Dell penned an essay for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about her experiences navigating the publishing industry and book-reviewing culture as a female writer and they’re utterly fascinating.
I just have four words for you: “wood nymph” and “biker chick.” Keep reading »
In the new Atlantic, a male author lampoons Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, “Two writers whose work is often referred to as chick lit,” for tweeting and commenting that white male literary darlings (like Jonathan Franzen) get all the good ink. Yet the only thing less fun than not being taken seriously by the big boys is not being taken anywhere at all. I know since I tried to sell out for decades when nobody was buying. Keep reading »
I have a favorite independent bookstore near my office. There are tables full of new fiction and non-fiction, shelves filled with New York Times bestsellers, and one particular bookshelf full of pastel pink and purple books. These pink and purple books, of course, are in the “chick lit” section. Even without searching for titles like Confessions of a Shopaholic, you can tell from the rose- and lavender-colored hues that this bookshelf is where you will find the fluffier books which are primarily written for women, by women.
But one book critic has had enough of this “flouncy frivolity.” Imogen Russell Williams from the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper finds it “almost impossible” to pick up a pink, “candy coated” book. Particularly when the book in question is being marketed to teen girls, Williams writes, “This kind of packaging often does a disservice to thought-provoking content, because knee-jerk anti-pinkers like me assume whatever’s inside must match the cover for ersatz, grinning emptiness.” Keep reading »
Chick lit just got a whole lot less expensive. No, the price of the sometimes throwaway-quality books hasn’t gone down, but many recently published and upcoming books in this genre take the recession into account. Storylines in recession chick-lit books include dealing with a husband being investigated for embezzlement, scrimping on extravagant expenses after going through a divorce, and wearing less expensive clothes. Dang! Is nothing sacred? Keep reading »
Earlier this week, two 19-year-old college freshmen received a book deal for an idea you could have thought of: Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less.
(Forget for a moment that we aren’t sure how we feel about the phrase “chick lit.”) Keep reading »
Melissa Plaut, author of Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What To Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab talks about passengersâ€™ pick-up lines, fare beaters, and sex in the backseat.
Howâ€™d you start driving a cab, anyway?
I was about to turn 29 and had been laid off from my corporate office job, which was never fulfilling. I was collecting my unemployment benefits and thinking about what I was going to do for the rest of my life, and it was sending me into a panic. Finally I realized that I didnâ€™t know whether I was ever going to be able to do any one thing with the rest of my life. Instead, I decided that I would live my life as a series of adventures, and my first would be getting behind the wheel of a yellow cab.
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