Monday, September 08, 2008

Feme Meme

Have you seen that meme that surfaces from time to time about the books?

The one where they list like the top 100 books of all times? I think Modern Library came out with it.

I hate that list. It's full of stuffy old penis fiction.

For some reason, and I don't know why, as I get older, the less desire I have to read anything penned by a dude.

The first time I saw that meme it was on Wendy's blog. I made some offhand comment about how I felt it was full of stuffy old penis penners, and she later posted the list below.

So instead of boring you with that boring old meme, I give you the Feme Meme of Books. (ETA: This list was originally developed by Feminista! and is their version of the top 100 20th Century female authors. Thus why you see no Austen, Alcott, etc.)

I've highlighted all the books I've read, and starred the authors I've read, but not specifically the book listed. If they're highlighted and starred, then I've read more of that author's catalogue in addition to the book listed.

Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina, 1992
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969
Atwood, Margaret. Cat's Eye, 1988 ***
Bainbridge, Beryl. The Bottle Factory Outing, 1974
Bambara, Toni Cade. Gorilla, My Love, 1992
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood, 1937
Barker, Pat. Regeneration, 1992
Brookner, Anita. Hotel du Lac, 1984
Brown, Rita Mae. Rubyfruit Jungle, 1973
Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth, 1931***
Byatt, A.S. Possession: A Romance, 1990
Carter, Angela. Nights at the Circus, 1984
Castillo, Ana. So Far From God, 1993***
Cather, Willa. My Antonia, 1918
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening, 1900
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street, 1984 ***
Compton-Burnett, Ivy. Elders and Betters, 1944
Desai, Anita. Clear Light of Day, 1980 (I started this but it was a yawner!)
Dinesen, Isak. Out of Africa, 1938
Doerr, Harriet. Stones for Ibarra, 1984
Drabble, Margaret. The Radiant Way, 1987
DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca, 1938
Emecheta, Buchi. Second Class Citizen, 1974
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks: A Novel, 1988
Fitzgerald, Penelope. At Freddie's, 1985
Flagg, Fannie. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, 1987
Frame, Janet. Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room, 1969
French, Marilyn. The Women's Room, 1977
Goldstein, Rebecca. The Mind-Body Problem: A Novel, 1983
Gordimer, Nadine. July's People, 1981 (another yawner)
Gordon, Mary. The Rest of Life, 1993
Hall, Radclyffe. The Well of Loneliness, 1928
Head, Bessie. When Rain Clouds Gather, 1968
Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1955
Hobhouse, Janet. The Furies, 1993
Hulme, Keri. The Bone People, 1983
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937
Jackson, Shirley. The Haunting of Hill House, 1959
Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer. Heat and Dust, 1975
Jong, Erica. Fear of Flying, 1973
Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy, 1990
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees, 1988 ***
Kingston, Maxine Hong. Tripmaster Monkey, 1989 ***
Kogawa, Joy. Obasan, 1981
Laurence, Margaret. The Fire-Dwellers, 1969
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook, 1962
Lively, Penelope. Moon Tiger, 1987
Loos, Anita. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1925
McCarthy, Mary. The Group, 1963
McCullers, Carson. Ballad of the Sad Cafe, 1951
McMillan, Terry. Mama, 1987
Manning, Olivia. The Balkan Trilogy, 1981
Miller, Isabel. Patience and Sarah, 1969
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind, 1936
Moore, Lorrie. Anagrams: A Novel, 1986
Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel, 1987 ***
Mukherjee, Bharati. Wife, 1975***
Munro, Alice. Lives of Girls and Women, 1971
Murdoch, Iris. A Severed Head, 1961
Oates, Joyce Carol. You Must Remember This, 1987
O'Brien, Edna. House of Splendid Isolation, 1994
O'Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find, 1955
Olsen, Tillie. Tell Me a Riddle, 1979
Paley, Grace. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, 1974
Parker, Dorothy. The Collected Dorothy Parker, 1973
Phillips, Jayne Anne. Black Tickets, 1979
Piercy, Marge. Braided Lives, 1982
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar, 1963
Porter, Katharine Anne. Ship of Fools, 1962
Powell, Dawn. The Golden Spur, 1962
Proulx, E. Annie. The Shipping News, 1993
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead, 1943
Renault, Mary. The King Must Die, 1958
Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966
Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping, 1980
Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things, 1997
Sarton, May. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, 1965
Shields, Carol. The Stone Diaries, 1994
Shreve, Anita. The Weight of Water, 1997
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Almanac of the Dead, 1991
Simpson, Mona. Anywhere But Here, 1986
Smart, Elizabeth. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, 1966
Smiley, Jane. The Age of Grief, 1987
Sontag, Susan. The Volcano Lover, 1992
Spark, Muriel. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1961
Stead, Christina. The Man Who Loved Children, 1965
Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives, 1909
Taylor, Elizabeth. Angel, 1957
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, 1989 ***
Tyler, Anne. If Morning Ever Comes, 1964
Urquhart, Jane. Away, 1993
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple, 1982 ***
Weldon, Fay. The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, 1983
Welty, Eudora. Selected Stories, 1943
West, Rebecca. The Return of the Soldier, 1918
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome, 1911
White, Antonia. Frost in May, 1933
Winterson, Jeannette. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, 1985
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway, 1925

I'll fess up.

When I saw this list on Wendy's post, I had hit a dry spell in my reading (my regular writers only publish so often!), so every three weeks I take this list with me to the library.

It's a nice change of pace from the regular stuff. But in all fairness to the stuffy penis writers--some of the books I've read on this list suck just as hard as their penis-lit counterparts.

A few of them have been like reading a novelized version of The Feminine Mystique. I mean that was a decent period piece of non-fiction, but when you novelize it, it's almost too much. As my sister T. would say--the writing is in the style of hitting you on the head with a 2x4.

Sometimes it's fun when the author doesn't spell shit out for the reader.

Ok, so there's my anti-bandwagon book meme. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to knit some more on my February Lady sweater!

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18 Comments:

Blogger Carol said...

Those books are way too meaningful for me. I'll stick to my science fiction and fantasy. I will admit that my favorite authors tend to have strong female characters, often in roles that would traditionally go to male characters. Does that make me pseudo feminist?

7:34 PM  
Blogger Rebel said...

thanks so much for posting this meme... several of my favorite books made this cut, and now I have more ideas for what to read next (well, whenever I have free time again - ha ha)

7:37 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

I like the other list better, as for this list I think I read one in high school, and have seen the movie of 2 others. That's it.

7:50 PM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Manovels, Bezzie. They're called "manovels," not "penis lit."

-T.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Mine is up! Bezzie, you need to read more Canadian writers - you hardly had marked off any of them ;)

8:08 PM  
Blogger Disco said...

Wot, no Bridget Jones?!!!!

My recommendations from that list are the books by Byatt, DuMaurier, Plath and Rand.

They are just about the only books I've read on that list, but I did love them all a lot. Although, the Rand took me quite a while to finish, it was worthwhile.

8:12 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

I have to agree with Disco on the no Bridget Jones??!! It started its own genre of fiction practically :)

I love this meme!! I may actually do this one :) I think an all-girls high school education certainly helped me on reading some of these (a few I read in high school). Goodness The Awakening was for both high school and college.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I found that I had read quite a few books by the listed authors, but often not the one listed ;). And I have, probabaly 1/4 of the books on the list, some of which I have yet to read. I have more money to buy books than time to read them at the moment ;).

My favorite list is the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. It's my goal to read them all. At least, that way, I can know what the book's about when someone wants it banned :). I have read 29 of the 100.

How do you feel about that list?

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to read more Jane Smiley and Lorrie Moore, both are just excellent! Oh, and you have to read Fear of Flying next. I figured everyone read that one in their early 20's....

10:53 PM  
Blogger Kay aka dkswife said...

Ethan Frome...a must read. It really is very good. Not a long read either.

Truthfully, if it is not political, science, or financial related, I probably will not read it. You talk about nerds. I am one with a capital N :)

3:30 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Those are some hefty books there. I read a lot of Toni Morrison in college (interestingly in a black, mostly feminist, literature class taught by a white man, LOL) and really enjoyed them. I don't have a particular preference for male or female authors though.

Nowadays I mostly read nonfiction. I can't remember the last time I picked up a novel. I know, I'm boring.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I've read quite a few of those. In the 70's when I was a self-avowed feminist, I read mostly books by women. And I learned that women authors can suck just as much as men. And they can rise to the sublime just as often. One of my all time favorite books written by a woman is "And Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmeyer. It's a book about women and families and relationships and change. It's one of those books that makes you want it to go on when you're done. But I also love Asimov and Heinlein and Tolkien and Ayn Rand. It's not about your sex (for me). It's about your command of the language and your ability to tell a good story.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well....I have not read any of those books on your list. Not that I don't read but most of what I read is nonfiction. If I want to read something light I read a book on a celebrity like Lucy. Right now I am reading Lincoln's America. There is one author that you did not mention and that is Sandra Dallas. Her books inter twine and you don't have to read them in any certain order. I also have read And Ladies of the Club that is a really good book. Ihave tried other books by that author but found them very hard to get through. Love,Mom

9:14 AM  
Blogger Magatha said...

I would disagree that the penis owners have no insight into the female human condition. Some of those books listed on this so-called Fem list are sexist in their attitudes about women and their choices (She Devil, Mrs. Dalloway) and very sexist in their "evil man" attitudes. (The Color Purple, Fried Green Tomatoes)
Prejudiced too, no Jane Austin I see. Persuasion being in the top ten of the greatest novels ever written.
But if it gets you to read. I'm all for it.

I always assumed Madame Bovary was a sexist text, but as I read it from my vantage point as a twenty-first century middle aged woman, I see the male characters are depicted as fools just as equally as the title character. Perhaps we humans are all equally fools in life.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

Great list!

10:54 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

As Wendy said, I've read books by several authors on that list, but only a handful of those books. Also, add to my list, Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, Collette, and Laura Esquival. I'm usually looking for fiction that alters the way I experience the world and I don't care who writes it.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

I think I need to copy and paste this list to my ever growing list of books I think I should read.

Like knitting I read too slow and it takes me forever to get through a book.

12:11 PM  
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