Don’t Read Like A Man, Please

Tara Gelsomino on Read Like a Man:

For my money, I think the reason why I’m often drawn to “men’s” books these days is because of the intelligence factor.

Ah…WTF? I mean, really, WTF?

I’m…I’m stunned speechless!

She goes on to say:

Sadly, I just don’t see the same amount of brainpower in the female-penned novels available today, especially in the softer subgenres like romance and chick lit, where characters are often too busy being neurotic and meet-cute-ish and marveling at the size of their partner’s appendages (“Well, lordy, I jus’ never seen one soooo big!”) to actually seem realistic and intelligent.


That sound you hear is me screaming all the way from Singapore. I’m sorry, but I spent an hour editing what I originally typed to comment into the namby pamby shit that I finally posted, and the stress has to be let out somehow.

She’s generalizing! It’s exactly the kind of thing people who think romance is formulaic would say. I cannot believe that she’s an ex-managing editor for the Romantic Times.

Like Jack Reacher? Read Zoe Sharp‘s Charlie Fox, who’s been called the “female Jack Reacher.” Now there’s one smart and tough female character, written by a female author.

But if you’re looking for books like those written by Lee Child or Jeffrey Deaver, then frankly a lot of romance and women’s fiction isn’t it. That doesn’t make books by Child or Deaver relatively more intelligent, it just means that they are more suited to your taste.

Moreover, there are going to be ‘dumb’ books in every genre.

You simply can’t draw generalizations across the board like this! It’s apples and oranges.


7 Responses to “Don’t Read Like A Man, Please”

  1. March 6, 2007 at 1:15 am

    You tell ’em May! Sheesh. I’ve had a bad few weeks so I’m not even going to get in to this but all I can say is this is why I waited so long to tell my MIL I wrote stuff!

  2. March 6, 2007 at 2:13 am

    Before i got the end of your entry i was growling to myself “it’s comparing apples and oranges!” and low and behold. All this kind of snobby shit does is contribute to the insecurities that many women writers already wrestle with.

    The “intelligence factor” – what a crock. Excuse me while i go yell at my husband. @!#$!#$!$%!#$!!!

  3. March 6, 2007 at 4:59 am

    Phoo on the silly bitch. I shall submit Jane Haddam as an example of women writing much smarter than some of the men in their category.

  4. March 6, 2007 at 11:31 am

    What the–?! Good grief, what an embarrassing viewpoint to have!

  5. March 6, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Uh, when I read this post yesterday I had to go away for awhile to calm down and avoid saying something I would regret. It’s balls. Complete and utter balls.

  6. March 6, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Michelle, hugs!

    Rhian, I’ve two brothers. And many boy cousins. I originally added that “I’ve two brothers, and I’ve yet to see proof that they are more intelligent than me.”

    Kat, I’ll add Jane Haddam to my wishlist. Thanks!

    Maria, I know! That’s what I did too!

  7. March 7, 2007 at 3:23 am

    The post didn’t cause a blip with me. I read way more male authors than female. I totally get Tara’s post. No one is saying there are not intelligent female characters written by women, or that there are not dumbass characters written by men. Of course there are. I know that. You guys know that. Tara acknowledges that. And yes, she’s generalizing. She’s stating her opinion. If that’s what she’s finding in the books she picks up, then I’d say she’s entitled. I’ve found it a lot, too, but I’ve learned to find new to me authors who don’t write dishrags and doormats. Tara’s also asked for recommendations for books with strong heroines – even while raving about Crusie’s and Ivory’s and Quinn’s heroines.

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