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Old 04-10-2013, 04:02 PM   #1
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"21 Books Written by and about Women that Every Man Should Read"

This isn't my personal list, but it's a fairly interesting one. Some of the choices are obvious, a few are proprietary, and the rest seem worth considering.

"21 Books by and about Women that Every Man Should Read"
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:45 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting. The Handmaid's Tale is of course terrific. I already had The Flame Throwers on my wish list. Excellent Woman caught my eye (sadly there seems to be no Kindle edition available).

I was very surprised that Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon was not on the list. Kind of a glaring omission in fact. It is a retelling of the King Arthur legend from a female persepective. Very feminist. I can attest as a male that it is a terrific book. The thought processes - including fear and dread - that one of the characters felt at the thought of going through childbirth (with no pain relievers and little better than a coin's flip chance of survival in those days) made a lasting impression on me.

I had to chuckle where it said "everyone loves Tina Fey" - my wife hates her.

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Old 04-10-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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I should re-read Excellent Women I suppose, though I think I'll pass on doing so with The Bell Jar.

Drinking with Men is on my TBR pile, along with The House of Mirth, which keeps getting sidetracked despite having been there a fair while. I'm not keen on reading Tina Fey's book either.

I wonder whether my mom might like Lorrie Moore's book?
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:28 PM   #4
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I guess I might be expelled from the sisterhood. I've read a measly three of the books--de Beauvoir, Plath, and Pym. Most of them I've never even heard of. Oh well.
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:48 AM   #5
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I get to 4 (Handmaid's Tale, Left Hand of Darkness, The Bell Jar and House of Mirth). And I second 'Mists of Avalon'. Great book.
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:06 AM   #6
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if "left hand.." on list, will skip remainder
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:29 AM   #7
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I guess I might be expelled from the sisterhood. I've read a measly three of the books--de Beauvoir, Plath, and Pym. Most of them I've never even heard of. Oh well.
For me, the question isn't whether I've read a particular writer already, but whether they prove to be any good.

A few of the listed writers (Eileen Myles, for example) would be known chiefly by people who live in S.F., L.A. or NYC. If you dwell in any of those places and were ever active in the Poetry Project/Beyond Baroque communities, you can't help but know them. If not, you shouldn't be expected to unless you care.

Certain choices might be Emily Temple's publishing pets, while still others could be generational markers that I wouldn't know. Any of those categories might or might not yield good choices, Cat, as I'm sure you realize.

The only way to find out is to take a look, as I'll do with the unfamiliar titles.

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:45 AM   #8
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Oh dear, I haven't read a single one of those books on the list...

Does this mean that I have to face gender reassignment surgery?
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:48 AM   #9
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if "left hand.." on list, will skip remainder
Left Hand of Darkness is a terrible book by a terrible writer.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:19 AM   #10
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Left Hand of Darkness is a terrible book by a terrible writer.
Since I happen to admire Ursula K. LeGuin, I respectfully disagree. However, I'm always interested to hear why someone chooses to have a rather emphatic opinion which is antipodal to my own.

Which brings me to your emphatic opinion, my friend.

Four-word evaluations tend to be useless unless one has a mastery of the Zen Koan and is actually able to explain in very few words why one thinks a given writer is "terrible."

I've noticed your posts tend to be terse and pointed; often, you really can explain yourself completely in very few words.

Here's the question:

Can you elaborate (without being elaborate) as to exactly why you feel the way you do about U.K.L.?

Does that sound like a challenge, Jon? It might well be!

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Old 04-23-2013, 09:38 AM   #11
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I've only read one book on that list: The Handmaid's Tale. I enjoyed that book but it took some maturity to do so. I admit that when I was assigned to do so in high school, I only read a quarter way through before deciding I hated it. I decided to try again last year and felt very differently about it.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:08 AM   #12
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I've only read one book on that list: The Handmaid's Tale. I enjoyed that book but it took some maturity to do so. I admit that when I was assigned to do so in high school, I only read a quarter way through before deciding I hated it. I decided to try again last year and felt very differently about it.
The first thing that drew me into Atwood's novels was the cadence. Because I started as a pianist and poet even as a little boy, I could be carried along purely by rhythm from page to page. Atwood had that in Surfacing and Life before Man (the first books I read by her) and that continued with The Handmaid's Tale. The feminist allegory and SF dystopian aspect were second nature to me because we had a lot of feminist books and magazines in the house and every child reads 1984.

I doubt that most kids are likely to get swept up by Elizabethan/metaphysical poetic rhythm unless they have unusual experiences that connect them to those sounds. Children do tend to be sensitive to rhythm, but not necessarily that kind.

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Old 04-25-2013, 04:12 AM   #13
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Since I happen to admire Ursula K. LeGuin, I respectfully disagree. However, I'm always interested to hear why someone chooses to have a rather emphatic opinion which is antipodal to my own.

Which brings me to your emphatic opinion, my friend.

Four-word evaluations tend to be useless unless one has a mastery of the Zen Koan and is actually able to explain in very few words why one thinks a given writer is "terrible."

I've noticed your posts tend to be terse and pointed; often, you really can explain yourself completely in very few words.

Here's the question:

Can you elaborate (without being elaborate) as to exactly why you feel the way you do about U.K.L.?

Does that sound like a challenge, Jon? It might well be!
You not question me?

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Old 04-25-2013, 04:14 AM   #14
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Left Hand of Darkness is a terrible book by a terrible writer.
book: work hard put large square bolt into small round hole

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Old 04-29-2013, 04:58 PM   #15
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Ya-Ya's

Great list and thanks for sharing! As I've known a few men who really loved this book and I think it perfectly depicts women's lifelong friendships, I would add The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells to the mix. No other book on the list is like it and, IMHO, it's a truly great novel - not only about women's friendships, but also details the mother-daughter relationship as well as how alcoholism is experienced by a woman.
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