05 September 2014

Books don't have gender

I've just been made aware that "women's fiction" is a thing. Like, it's an actual, recognized literary genre? I'm ... confused.

Is "women's fiction" supposed to refer to the gender of the author? Of the protagonist(s)? Of the intended audience?

Oh no. It's the last one, isn't it? "Women's fiction" is a catch-all for "stuff (marketers think) The Womenfolks like to read", isn't it?

Oh, I should really not look up the definition of "women's fiction", should I? It'll just annoy me, won't it?



*resis ...* oh, fuck it. *Googling*

Gawd-dammit, I was right. I'm annoyed:
"Women’s fiction is just that: fiction about women’s issues for a female readership. However, it is not the same as chick lit or romance. While utilizing literary prose, women’s fiction is very commercial in its appeal. Its characters are often women attempting to overcome both personal and external adversity. Although women’s fiction often incorporates grave situations such as abuse, poverty, divorce, familial breakdown, and other social struggles, it can also explore positive aspects within women’s lives. Romantic love stories are also part of women’s fiction, and although love stories are found in chick lit and romance, the mature depth and tone of their development within women’s fiction set them apart from other genre classifications." (agentquery.com)
Why?! Why why why do we even have terms like "women's fiction" and "chick lit" - unnecessary, inaccurate, and condescending labels that downplay women as authors and readers.

As if I'm going to browse bookstore signage like, "Oh good, there's a 'women's fiction' shelf ... thank goodness they have a section for the penis-impaired! No need for me to wander into Man-Land where they keep the mysteries and scifi and thrillers and male protagonists. And certainly no reason for the penis-endowed to come anywhere near MY aisle."

Can you even imagine if there were corresponding genres of "men's fiction" and "dick lit"?

Ridiculous, right?


Why would it be ridiculous to corral specific books into a made-up, marginalizing genre of 'men's fiction', but NOT ridiculous to draw that line around what women should want to read - and, by extension, what men should NOT want to read?

There's just no good reason for this divisive label to even exist. Even the definition above makes it clear that the "genre" is a made-up mashup:
"... fiction about women's issues"?
Really?! REALLY?!?!

And what, pray tell, is a "women's issue"?

"Family, romance, and social struggles", say the marketers?

Oh yes, those are obviously the only subjects women want to read about - and, by extension, that only women want to read about - and so they should be clearly labeled as such.
"... for a female readership"?
Well, we wouldn't want anyone getting confused and accidentally reading a book intended for a different gender.

I love books. I love lists. I have soooo many book lists: Literally thousands of titles sorted just about every way you can imagine: By genre, by author, by subject, by series, by date, by cover type, by year read, by year re-read, by to-be-read, by recommendation, by rating, by personal review... Everything marked, everything 'membered.

But it would never have occurred to me to assign any of them a gender.


Nope. Not even that one.

So can we please just liberate the "women's fiction" and let them re-join their long-lost brothers and sisters in the genderless fiction aisles?

Then we can have a talk about those SFF covers.


09 May 2014

01 May 2014

More books for the to-read mountain. I might have an addiction.

More books for the to-read mountain. I might have an addiction.

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28 April 2014

It’s possible my “To Read” pile might be...

It’s possible my “To Read” pile might be getting a tad out of control. #ReadAllTheBooks!

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03 March 2014

Book Review: The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastards #3) by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3) The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this series. I cannot say enough good things about the characters and world building, the tone and pacing, the plot and prose. That said, this may be my least favorite book so far in the series - and yet it had some of my favorite moments in the series, as well. Oh, I know, that sounds contradictory. And maybe it is. Lemme ‘splain.

First, if you’ve read the first two Gentleman Bastards books (and if you haven’t, for gods’s sake, don’t try to start the series with book 3! That’s just uncivilized in general and in this specific case would be a tragic disservice to yourself as a reader.) Ahem, as I was saying, if you’ve read the first two books, you know that the storytelling pattern here is two timelines unfolding at once: The “Now” timeline, juxtaposed with interludes from the “Past”: Locke’s (and Jean’s and Sabetha’s) childhood years.

In the “Now” timeline of this installment, we have The Heist Plot and The Relationship Plot - it’s up for debate as to whether the heist is the “Plot” and the Relationship is the “SubPlot”. I, personally, think of them the other way ‘round.

In the “Past” timeline, the interludes unveiled a “Past Heist” and “Past Relationship” plots as well. Through all three of his books, Mr. Lynch does a terrific job of pacing the reveals and twists and turns of each timeline and each plot with excellent timing so that the unfolding stories complement in a most satisfying manner.

In Republic of Thieves, though, I found something lacking in the The Heist of the “Now” timeline. This was somewhat disappointing considering how fantastic The Heist plots were in the previous two books. This one just fell flat in several areas, including a huge overall “huh?” factor when it came to the motivation of the “Clients”. There were a few fantastic signature “Gentlemen Bastard” moments, though, that mostly made up for the overall “meh” I felt about The Heist.

But if The Heist Plot left something wanting, The “Now” Relationship Plot and the plot/subplot of the “Past” Interludes more than made up for it. Maybe it has something two do with the two books’ worth of teasing, (You are slightly evil, Mr. Lynch. Anyone ever tell you that?) but I was so full of antici … pation about finally “meeting” Sabetha and seeing her and Locke together that I was actually afraid the reality could not live up to the hype. But it did. I love these characters together - past and present - and I cannot wait to see how The Relationship unfolds as The Heists continue in the next books.

Trying to stay spoiler-free and not give away a bit of a “twist” toward the end of the book, I will say that Lynch introduced a new and pretty much un-foreshadowed element in this third installment of Locke’s story (Yes, I ADORE Jean and Sabetha, but let’s be honest, this is Locke’s story.) that I’m not entirely sure I am going to like. But this author has more than earned the benefit of my doubt and I will be very interested to see where the next book takes my favorite Gentlemen Bastards.

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31 October 2013

The Writing Dead: Party like you have to climb back into the grave at sunrise


Okay, maybe not. It's probably still Mostly Dead. But Mostly Dead is Slightly Alive, right?

But, I did say that there was a possibility of reanimation, didn't I? And what better day than All Hallow's Eve  for a possibly-one-night-only rising from the dead? 

It's no secret Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And even a slow-moving zombie wouldn't be able to shamble far through this blog without stumbling over my love of vampires and zombies and all things slightly sick and twisted, oh my.  

So, I couldn't let the day go by without reanimating ye olde blog for a little Dead Man's Party. And so, for your spooktacular enjoyment, I present:

Zen's Top Ten Halloween Songs

This is your mandatory October playlist people, write it down.

10) Odds Are

Okay, technically, this is not a "Halloween" song. But it IS my favorite band of all time AND it DOES have zombies. So, shut up. It counts.

9) I Put a Spell on You
This is one of those movies I just HAVE to watch every October.
Amuck, amuck, amuck!

8) Beetlejuice: Day-O and Shake Senora

A twofer from Beetlejuice: Yes, technically, neither of these songs are specifically "Halloween-y". But I defy you to find someone in my generation who doesn't immediately think of this movie when they hear them. 

7) Ghostbusters
  Trigger Warning: 80s Flashbacks may ensue.

Most people don't even know BOC even HAD other songs, do they?
Oh well. These guys still rock it.
And the guitar solo around 2:50 is almost worth including this one all by itself.

5) Time Warp
Is it even possible to make a Halloween song list without including at least one song from Rocky Horror? Or maybe two ... 

4) Science Fiction Double Feature

This one's a twofer, 'cause, sure, the classic from Rocky Horror is, well, The Classic. But I love this cover by Black Math Experiment, too (skip ahead to 1:09 for the good stuff).

3) This is Halloween! 
Another classic with a twist: "This is Halloween" from Tim Burton's iconic "Nightmare Before Christmas" - but this time performed by my favorite Las Vegans: Panic! at the Disco. Speaking of Danny Elfman .... 

Yeah, it's gonna be in your head all day now. You're welcome.

Oh, come on, like you didn't know this was going to be here.

Kiss Kiss, Bite Bite,

08 May 2013


It was Miss Zen. In the Library. With the Candlestick.
Zee Blog, She iz dead.

Well, she's taking a really long dirt nap, anyway.

I thought about trying to reanimate her. I mean, it's not like I have anything else to do with this athame and chicken blood ... but, if you read/watch Sci Fi, you have to know those things almost never end well.

So, rather than risk unleashing a brain-craving, blood-sucking, soul-stealing creature from hell, I'm just gonna let her nap. You're welcome.

You can still rifle through her pockets for loose change, if you'd like.

And, no, I'm not going to explain or justify or wax philosophical about it. I'm just gonna let her sleep.

Pfft. Screw THAT. I'm not dead. I'm just available in less concentrated doses ...

OneZenMom on TwitterOneZenMom on TumblrOneZenMom on InstagramPinterestGoodReads
If you know my real name ... you can find me on Facebook and Google+, too. 

And don't worry, I'll keep that chicken blood in the freezer, just in case. If I'm suddenly inspired to start randomly rambling again, we can all set fire to celebrate the resurrection of my undead blog together.