Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Summer Reading

I was doing a little book shopping (it was more like browsing, I didn't buy anything) today and came across an interesting dilemma. For almost a year now it seems that the big thing in contemporary literature is what is commonly referred to as Chick Lit. Being the type of person who is willing to read just about anything, and the type of person who wants to know what the big fuss is about when something becomes popular, I generally check out the new releases, read the blurbs on the dust jacket and consider posing as a woman in order to get published because most of the books just don't look all that great or very hard to write, and I'd love to get published. As far as literature is concerned, the genre seems to be comprised of the kind of pop-trash that is at best entertaining and at worst pretty boring and meaningless.

Typically I look through the new books of this genre when I'm perusing the new fiction section and I pass on reading any of them because there is a long list of books that I feel I would like to read before I consider reading that kind of stuff. For instance, I've only read one Ernest Hemingway novel. I should probably concern myself with tackling the rest of his works (or at least a few) before moving on to "Chick Lit." I haven't finished all of the novels of Haruki Murakami. I'd like to reread the novels of J.D. Salinger, and on and on. At any given time there are probably 100 books in line that I'm thinking I'd love to read soon, and adding a few from a genre that might earn a label I'm not crazy about isn't a top priority**. One of my favorite authors is considered to be a contributor to the opposite of the Chick Lit genre, often called "Dick Lit," but as a guy I suppose it's much easier to justify the choice of this genre over the other.

The sheer number of novels that are being released and the popularity of the genre have really tempted me though, and so I have broken down...once. I suppose it's no secret that I'm kind of a nut for movies, and so one day I came across this book in Barnes & Noble and decided that I could give it a shot since it was about working in Hollywood and seemed enjoyable. And it was enjoyable. I liked it. It certainly didn't blow me away, but not too many books really do, you know? Those are few and far between.

And now that I've enjoyed one, I'm tempted to try another, but the same reservations I mentioned above have held me back. The one good thing is that most of them are available in hardcover relatively cheap on Half.com and I can remove the dust jacket while I read and no one will see me reading such a girly book and get the wrong impression** (though as Seinfeld said, "not that there's anything wrong with that.") Hell, there have even been Chick Lit books that were published as a result of popular blogs, a topic I am very interested in, so I'm tempted to read those too.

Today I ran across another book from this genre that struck my interest: The Twins of Tribeca. Once again we have a Chick Lit book written about the movie industry. This time around the setting is Manhattan rather than Hollywood, and the company is a thinly veiled fictional version of Miramax, a company I have always admired. I didn't pick it up, but I get the feeling that when the price comes down on Half.com I'll be digging in.

**I suppose the correct assumption here is that I'm worried about people assuming I'm gay when they see me reading these books, but the truth is that I couldn't care less if people jump to such a riduculous conclusion based on my taste in books. If they do, then that's their problem, not mine. Idiots. The real problem is that I'm worried that I will run into someone who also loves books, and that they will see me reading a fluff genre and think poorly of me. Still a ridiculous concern I admit, but what can you do about your own personal insecurities and idiosyncrasies..