Currently reading and circling back to

Right now I’m reading Scandalous Women, a short volume with very brief biographies of women through history that were scandalous or infamous for their behavior.  I like the concept and the organization of the book but feel pretty ambivalent about the tone and style of writing, which is extremely casual and informal.  On one hand, it makes sense to use a contemporary approach to language, metaphor, and comparisons in order to introduce readers to historical figures they may never have heard of.  On the other hand, it seems a little too pop culture referential to me, since I don’t need names like Lady Gaga to be dropped in order to be engaged by the material.  But perhaps I’m not really the target audience for the book?

Last week Dear Author linked to an allegation of plagiarism of film content in a m/m book.  It just so happens that I reviewed the book in August and gave a negative opinion based on the editing, noting the similarity in plot to the movie although possible plagiarism didn’t occur to me at the time.  I’m contemplating doing a re-read of the book and a re-watch of the movie in order to examine (yes, I know others are doing the same and don’t necessarily think I have anything original to contribute to the discussion), yet am reluctant to read the book again — a lot of readers loved it, but I thought it read like a first draft and needed a lot of editing and polishing.  Worth it?  I don’t know, especially since the TBR is bumping up again.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Currently reading and circling back to

  1. I hesitate to ask you to give up hours of your time on rereading/rewatching, but I would love to hear your take on this. BTW, your review seems to be the one TJK is referring to in his GR post on that matter (he finally posted something yesterday). He’s mixed up DA, you, and VacuousMinx, if I have it right. But apparently the fact that you were squicked out about the age difference hit a nerve.

    This whole brouhaha has made me read more fan fiction writers’ journals. I wonder if part of the problem is that writers believe they are producing transformative work even when it they don’t really pull it off.

    • I’ll try to get to it this weekend. I have a GR account (I must have signed up at some point, since I receive emails) but don’t use it or check for reviews or author posts there. It wasn’t the age difference that disturbed me per se but the underage attraction that was implied. It was a mild discomfort and actually very similar to how I felt about one particular scene in Shelter. Perhaps I phrased it poorly, but the point I was trying to make was that anti-gay people seem to connect gay with pedophilia; why give those slurs any fodder in a gay romance? FWIW, I feel the same about straight roms in which there is an underage heroine and adult hero, even though that situation is less subject to mainstream criticism.

      • Only if you have time AND feel like it! FWIW, I totally got what you were talking about, and your comment was in a thread about the difference between romantic pairings and real-life (remember TeddyPig was talking about Isherwood’s relationship). Maybe if you’re a debut author you are extremely sensitive to any criticism and don’t necessarily grasp the context.

      • Oh, I’d forgotten about that thread at Teddypig’s. Thanks for the reminder.

        You’d mentioned reading ff writers’ journals. I can’t speak to what others say or think about their writing and am a mere dabbler at best, but I *never* forget whose playground I’m visiting. And frankly can’t imagine even the AUs I’ve sketches out (but failed to write) as being truly transformative in anyway. All of my fic is derivative, but that may b a function of why/how I write: with no professional aspirations, only a desire to see more of those characters.

  2. Judging by some responses, the internal monologue seems heavy and I’m not sure if I’m that willing to encourage you to wade through it again, so I agree with Sunita: Only when you have the time. And the stamina. 😀

    • I remember the internal monologues as being very frequent and one of the things that needed trimming. If I don’t get to it this weekend, it’ll be at least a couple of weeks before I have time so better to try now.

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