Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Well, Read Women

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  • oga,

    I wouldn't characterize The Sparrow as hard SF. The hardest science it deals with would be linguistics. Now, Ann Leckie...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls,

    ^^ the recommendations for Mary Russell and Margaret Atwood

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Mary Doria Russell....three times through and still rocks the core.

    Joanna "How to Suppress Women's Writing" Russ, Named my daughter after one of her heroines.

    And for hardcore scare your pants off detective/horror....anything by Mo Hayder.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Stephen R,

    Cordelia is one of my heroes.

    Did you know there's a new Cordelia book coming out next year? Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It’s really about how you react when you’re asked to read books by women. It’s a very small thing. Try reading only female authors for a month, just a month.

    You can easily fill a month with titles from Persephone Books, which not only has a damn impressive list but is one of the most successful small indie publishers in recent memory.

    Persephone Books began in a room above a pub in the spring of 1998. Founder Nicola Beauman’s original concept was to publish a handful of ‘lost’ or out-of-print books every year, most of them interwar novels by women. The name Persephone was chosen as a symbol of female creativity, as well as of new beginnings (the daughter of Zeus is associated with spring).

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I have read the odd book by woman authors(sic) but they have failed to inspire the loyalty I feel towards writers like Saul Bellow, Henry Millar and David Foster Wallace, some of whom have no doubt been criticised for being chauvanists of the highest order.

    Hum... I'd criticize Bellow, Miller and Foster Wallace for being over-rated fucking bores, but YMMV on that. Anyway, if it wasn't a vile misuse of my favourite novelist such nonsense would be responded to by throwing my second-best set of Jane Austen at the heads of such numpties. I'd respectfully suggest she has to have done a lot of something right to keep her six novels (two of which were published posthumously) continuously in print for two centuries. Let's see if Henry Miller pretentious wank-fodder is still around in the 22nd century.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    I don’t get much time for recreational reading any more. But when I have the time, I want something where the writer’s sense of humour is to the fore. Here’s two I’d recommend on that basis:
    Pat Cadigan Synners
    Kathy Lette How To Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    consume art by women

    does this count.....?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Flannery O'Conner
    Muriel Spark
    Patricia Grace
    Tove Jansson (everything, the morph from moomins to the later autobiography and adult lit is like nothing else).

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Early childhood trash I couldn't put down - Enid Blyton. Just in case you thought women couldn't write sexist racist homophobic stuff (most of which I can't say I noticed). No better or worse than similar period children's fiction.

    But as tastes developed I've tapped many more, especially in speculative fiction. Many already mentioned, so I'll just fill a few gaps, covering several genre and age levels.
    Tessa Duder
    Keri Hulme
    Judy Blume
    Susan Cooper
    Leigh Eddings (equally to blame for the invention of Polgara. I read all 13 of them)
    Agatha Christie
    Mary Shelly

    Can't say that my reading of female authors ever scored me anything by way of sex. But that wasn't my reason to read them anyway. I read if I like the story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    A few more rising in memory as I sink into sleep.
    Hilda Lewis
    Rosemary Sutcliff
    Jackie Collins (softcore porn by women seems very different to male versions)
    Fanny Hill and Xaviera Hollander (hardcore porn, however, is all the same. I'm guessing they write to their mostly male audience)
    Simone de Beauvoir (but women write hell and gone the best actual analysis of porn, and sexuality generally. IMHO)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    trash I couldn't put down

    I was embarrassingly fond of the Dragonlance books when I was a lad.

    Also Rosemary Sutcliffe is an interesting one as nearly all her protagonists were young-teen boys who ended up as exiles from their tribe, or outsiders only just within it, if memory serves.

    ETA - just discovered that Tracy Hickman is actually male......

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    Can't say that my reading of female authors ever scored me anything by way of sex

    Although reading Jackie Collins, or Shirley Conran, or any of those similar airport bonkbusters at a young age certainly broadens one's horizons, espcially if you're looking for a creative use for a goldfish....

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Also Rosemary Sutcliffe is an interesting one as nearly all her protagonists were young-teen boys who ended up as exiles from their tribe, or outsiders only just within it, if memory serves.

    That fits with the two books of hers I remember from my childhood. In a more adult vein, Mary Renault's scrupulously detailed ancient world novels really work for me. I guess it was the historical distance of her subjects that allowed her to portray explicitly gay and bi characters in mainstream best-sellers, while working in plain sight from her haven in stodgy apartheid-era South Africa.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Flannery O'Conner
    Muriel Spark
    Patricia Grace
    Tove Jansson

    You've rounded up some of my favourites there Joe. A few more of mine:
    E.Annie Proulx
    Anne Tyler
    carol Shields
    Penelope Lively
    Arundhati Roy
    Pat Barker

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I was at least 20 before I realized Tove Jansson was a woman. I always imagined Tove was more like Moominpapa than Moominmama, that Moominpapa was self-parody. Maybe he still is.

    Although reading Jackie Collins, or Shirley Conran, or any of those similar airport bonkbusters at a young age certainly broadens one’s horizons

    I found them hard going. Much harder than more cerebral works - it goes to what you fantasize about. I don't fantasize in that way. But when broadening horizons, one must often work at tasks that are not to one's liking :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I was embarrassingly fond of the Dragonlance books when I was a lad.

    I tried them but actively hated the OTTness of Raistlin. My pulp of choice at age 15 was Forgotten Realms' Dark Elf series and David Eddings.

    While I was looking for something a bit better, I ran into Katharine Kerr's Deverry series, beginning with Daggerspell - the blurb billed its wizard lead Nevyn as something like Raistlin, but I quickly got to know him as a lot more real and human and likeable. And her female protagonist, Jill, is one of fantasy's best realised female characters - she hooks you in with a fairly standard kickass girl mercenary thing, but over several books and incarnations you get to see the way her social circumstances shape her personality. Kerr's a staunch lefty feminist, but her politics inform the story rather than overwhelm it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Attachment Attachment Attachment

    Comet allez vous…

    Tove Jansson

    Moomin mania is currently sweeping across Europe (again) – there was/is a big exhibition in Angouleme (France) at the excellent Museum of Bande Dessinee (la Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image) – which was closed the day I visited dammit (the exhibition that is, not the museum – that was fascinating)

    Moomin paraphernalia is everywhere, backpacks, pencil cases, postcards, books…
    amazing really…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson, in reply to B Jones,

    And now I have to dig out and re-read these all again...
    My daughter expressed an interest in reading the Dragonlance trilogy after we watched the old animated movie in the holidays. She's reading the Percy Jackson series now - any suggestions an advanced reader the twelve year old range?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Does no-one read Fay Weldon anymore?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

    I like the way the first page totally sidelines the topic and goes straight for the meaning of close but no cigar. Good to reconfirm that the audience are a bunch of smarty-pantses.

    And now for me to sideline the actual column topic. How about people not whining 'why won't she go out with me?', 'why won't he go out with me', and perhaps focus on how you can be someone that another person would want to go out with. Get a hobby, learn a useful skill, contribute to society, create something ..or yes, read a book. This is useful for whichever gender you identify with.

    And finally on topic, trick people - suggest George Eliott. A good dose of Middlemarch sounds like it would work on multiple levels.

    I've found it interesting that I have never judged book by the gender of the author, and that people actually do this?? Bill Bryson, is a great writer because he is good at writing things, as is Mary Roach.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to B Jones,

    and David Eddings

    Which turned out, in hindsight, to have a huge contribution from Leigh Eddings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Does no-one read Fay Weldon anymore?

    Just the Chchch Girls' High Old Girls...
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=1844568
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I still have a fondness for Zenna Henderson's 'The People' series...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • A C Young,

    Connie Wilis is fantastic in her lighter moments (To say nothing of the dog for example ).

    Tanya Huff writes good solid space opera (and even manages to write space elves in such a way as to not put me off the book).

    Margaret Mahy was a genius.

    Wellington • Since Feb 2011 • 35 posts Report Reply

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