Crabby Conversations: Make Time

I’ve come to the realization that I have a lot of pet peeves. And I rant quite often about these pet peeves.

I thought of another one the other day that goes along with my whole, you know, book blog. I kind of feel like I’ve already talked about this before, but I couldn’t find anything like it in my posts, so maybe I’ve just complained about it to my friends. So now I can complain about it to you guys!

I think an example best explains it:

Person: Wow, you read? That’s so cool! I love reading. I read all the time.

Me: Really? What’s your favorite book?

Person: Oh, you know, [insert middle-grade staple book here].

Me: Yeah I liked that a lot in elementary school too….

Person: I haven’t read a book in so long…. I can’t actually remember the last time I read a book not for school. I just don’t have time to read anymore.

Me: …but… you said you liked reading…

Please refrain from having any conversations similar to this with me. I will pull my hair out.

If you loved reading or wanted to read or even liked reading, you would make time for it. Do not tell me you don’t have time! I take 4 AP classes and journalism and creative writing and write a column for a magazine and have a part-time job and go out with friends and run a blog… But I still make time to read. Because I love reading.  So if you “love” reading, you can make time. 

But I get it if reading is not a priority. That’s fine. That’s your prerogative. But please do not tell me that you love reading when you don’t read. The fact that you enjoyed reading when you were a child and teachers forced you to is completely different from enjoying reading now. If you’re busy doing other things and would rather do something else like play sports or watch TV, then go ahead. But that means reading is not on your radar, so you must not love it as much as you supposedly do. You do not read all the time if you can’t remember the last book you read for leisure. And your favorite book still has pictures in it. disney animated GIF

If you liked reading so much, you would make it a priority. I understand that not everyone wants to do this, but do not tell me you love something that you never do.

Alright, my rant is over. I feel like this post has a lot of anger in it. Whoops?

Is this a pet peeve for any of you guys? Or is it just me being unnecessarily hostile?

 

Crabby Conversations: The Bookish Patriarchy

I think I have a niche, which is something that I would never want to admit. All my favorite books seem to have the same basic elements.

  • Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon catcher in the rye
  • I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • Winger by Andrew Smith

And if you haven’t noticed the trends yet, I’ll point them out to you.

  1. Written by guys andrew smith person
  2. Written about guys
  3. First person
  4. Contemporary
  5. Mundane settings but original perspectives
  6. Focus on thoughts rather than events

The thing that kills me about these trends are the first two. It’s agonizing. I’m feeding into the patriarchy! Where’s my feminist punch? I can’t help which books I like…. But I did come up with a theory of why this happens.

Alright, here comes a nice little rant.

So books had a long period of segregation that still has remnants in today’s society. Girl vs. guy books. Mostly, though, it was a one way street. Girls can read guy books, but guys could not read girl books. If the protagonist was female, they were not having any of that. Yet could you blame them? Female protagonists implied domestic family problems and romance while guy books could range from self realization to destroying alien planets. Nobody saw any girls developing themselves individually or saving worlds.

And thus the dystopian fad was born.

Female authors put on their big girl pants and decided their female protagonists were going to fight evil in fiction world and bring down the patriarchy in reality with girls who can pack a punch. She can do anything guys can do… but better. Now girls have overrun the action world in young adult literature and have successfully beaten out male dominance in this genre. Except for one crutch that remains. The boyfriend.

The boyfriend is the dreaded subplot that threatens to overthrow the actual issues in these books every single time. Sometimes it succeeds (ehm, Hunger Games), but sometimes it remains to be just a beautiful little subplot to keep readers blushing and hearts fluttering.

But here’s the thing. When a male author is writing for a male audience with a male protagonist in an action book, he doesn’t need a romance. When a female author is writing for a female audience with a female protagonist in an action book, she doesn’t need a romance. But there is the inevitable placement of a romance for the appeasement of the teen girls reading the book and the stereotype that goes along with what they like and don’t like. It’s the shreds of bookish segregation that persists into present day. Female protagonists have yet to shake the shackles of their ancestors in that respect. Because now teenage girls can appreciate a powerful heroine, but of course they still want the beautiful romance as well.

Then there’s me who resents this trend. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance as much as anybody and I am all for girl power, but these just aren’t my favorite things to read. I appreciate a good world and valiant fight scenes, but my favorite books are ones that I can quote. Books that have more than excitement and romance. All my top choices may not be the most action packed or creative, but they’re original. They have meaning and characters with realistic dimension.

But I hate it. I hate the fact that none of these characters are females! Or written by women! It kills me every time and I sit here and try to shove a book with a female protagonist into nabbing a spot on my list, but it never happens. And there’s my theory on why. Male authors have nothing to prove with their male characters, while female authors have to break stereotypes and make sure their girls are independent and self sufficient. Guys just seem to have more openings available and have no needs for the boy/girlfriend crutch.

Rant over. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for books in my niche written by and about females, and hopefully one that interests me pops up soon. And hopefully the boyfriend subplot is nonexistent or subtle at most.

 

Crabby Conversations: Spontaneous Road Trip!

I have a grand idea. Let’s jump into a snazzy little clunker and rev the engine into the distance. Let’s follow the sunset with a can of money and a drawstring bag of clothes. Pack light because things will work out on the way. Let’s not plan anything and focus on the objective. Let’s see paper townsthe Northern Lights, let’s visit our long-lost lover, let’s just seek adventure and because we’re on a road trip we’ll find it. See a hitchhiker? Pick him up. See a road sign for the biggest block of cheese in the Western Hemisphere? Pull off. This is a road trip and we have all summer and our phones are nowhere to be found because those sedentary people are just holding us back.

Sounds implausible, reckless, and a generally awful idea, right? Wrong. Because this is fiction and we can do whatever the heck we want and nothing too terrible will happen unless we want it to.

Road trip books absolutely baffle me because they’re considered contemporary fiction. Realistic. I think I would categorize them as fantasy, because how does everything work out perfectly? How does adventure just kick you in the face? How is the road trip not just sleepy hours in a car with disgruntled occupants?

And I have one question, just one– where are your parents? If they know about your trip, how are they okay with it? If they don’t, how did you possibly deceive them of something this big? (alright that was more than one question)

But, seriously. I wish my parents caved to my reckless whims and allowed for my craving for adventure be satisfied by a road trip.

The thing is, despite the absolute absurdity of these trips and the complete unrealisticness of this niche, I love this books. I love them so much.

I think it’s my wistfulness. I would adore going on a road trip. The more spontaneous, the more fun. I’ve always wanted to have interesting things and interesting people fall into my life, and I’ve dreamed of breaking out of suburbia and into something real. Yet this books aren’t real… But they are what I wish was real. If that makes any sense.

So, yes. Road trip books are unrealistic. Completely fantasy. But somehow the valiant road-trippers find love and fulfillment and excitement and sorrow and everything in between. It’s the classic Hero’s Journey, but in contemporary terms.

But here’s the thing. 

I hate the classic Hero’s Journey of trumping through woods and fighting evil with swords and magical powers and gaining alliances.

Yet I love the contemporary Hero’s Journey of driving down the highway of escaping sticky situations with wit and luck and meeting people from the forgotten folds of the world.