Saturday, September 09, 2006

Books Men Like

Surfing around trying to find a definition of alienation that I could live with, I happened upon a list of books that men felt had changed and influenced their lives. The women's list was very different, with Jane Austen leading it off and Marilyn French and Margaret Atwood as well as other more to the female liking like the Brontes. None of the so-called women's books had any influence on me, but many of the men's did. What does this mean? I don't know.

Years ago, I had, for a while, a cyber-friend, a fellow writer with whom I corresponded. Finally we exchanged manuscripts via email. I spent a lot of time on his (perfectly dreadful) opus, trying to give useful criticism. He simply said, "Boy, I sure could tell yours was written by a woman!" Excuse me. The cyber-friendship petered out quickly after that. I met him face to face once at a writer's meeting and he barely said hello. Never showed up at that group again either. Cyber-friendships are as loaded as others, maybe more so.

For what it's worth, here's the list of books that Really Really spoke to the male of the species, at least the anglo-male.

The Outsider by Albert Camus
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Ulysses by James Joyce
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
1984 by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

We woman have certainly been influenced by many of these wonderful books, not just Jane Austen. Women can be alienated, too, damn it. And not a kinder, gentler alienation.

The bushes in the slough are turning red, as is a maple down by the water's edge. Some of the birds are gone already, including my hummingbird friend. "As is the generation of leaves, so is that of men." Every autumn I have to think about that.

If you want to read more about the sexes feeling strongly about books, here is the link:,,1747821,00.html#article_continue


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