Saturday, April 21, 2007

Something for the Weekend, Sir?

Books and the weekend. It is surprising how differently men and women interpret weekend readings to be.

For a woman, it means being snuggly seated on the sofa with legs off the floor (cosying up in a blanket is an option), holding a chick-lit book gently in hand (or the book could be an adaptation of the latest movie OR a novel that has/is being adapted into a major Hollywood movie), soft music in the background, curtains drawn, and the phone placed off the hook. Oh, and there will be that strong, hot cup of coffee (or soothing tea) waiting quietly on the side like a, err, lover, or something like that.

No such theatrics or dramatics for men, thank you. The male version of a “quiet weekend read” can range from the serious to the silly, with no awkward adjustment period in-between the sudden drop. And the books can be flung aside (without bothering with bookmarks!) at a moment’s notice when friends are excitedly honking outside the door for an excursion or outing anywhere.
Deeply insightful comments from Francis Dass is the NST today about gender differences in reading habits.

Dass makes an eclectic choice of five favourite reads for the weekend. The fifth one, Tuesdays with Morrie he admits he doesn't really like ("a tad too feminine") but says he needed to make up numbers.

It's great to see the paper giving us an article on books, but ...

20 comments:

fizah said...

haha this reminds me of a male classmate who told me jane austen's books are too whiny. and that's why men don't get them.

Kak Teh said...

something for the weekend,sir? aaah, when i saw that I thought it was going to be a different kind of read.
yes, how true. I need that hot cup of nescafe, everything must have been done in the kitchen and everywhere else before i can sit down, all curled up on the sofa - with a book.

Chet said...

Starting on Yiyun Li's A Thousand Years of Good Prayers this weekend.

bibliobibuli said...

fizah - men don't get a lot of things (sorry, too tempting!)

kak teh - i know, i really must do something about my tabloid headlines. this is literature i'm talking about.

chet - shouldn't you be reading some chick lit???

Argus Lou said...

I hate stereo-typing as much as the next ex-bra burner. Chick-lit requires a lot of patience, I find.

My weekend reading continues from weekday reading - Tan T.E.'s 'Gift of Rain', Chuck Palahniuk's chuckle-inducing economy writing (like economy rice but much more satisfying!), Amy Hempel's insightful and chockful sentences, Alice Munro's eminently surprising reads and A. Hollinghurst's gay writing.

A woman friend has convinced me to read 'Gone With the Wind' because of the terrible exchanges between Scarlett (one T?) and Rhett; it's NOT a romance, she says.

bibliobibuli said...

yes argus lou, stereotyping gets right up my nose too. now excuse me while i go and get back to my chick-lit!)

sympozium said...

Jane Austen IS whiny! :-)))

irene said...

Argus: Your comment on 'Gone With The Wind' now has me curious. I've had that book for yonks and it's still in my TBR pile!

sympozium said...

Gone With The Wind is unputdownable, whether the reader is a man, woman or anything in-between!

Anonymous said...

the first line of Gone With The Wind:

"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful."


The Viz

Chet said...

Chick lit? Oh ok, for you, I put aside YiYun Li and take up Willyce Kim's Dancer Dawkins. Check my blog later for an excerpt just for you.

enar arshad said...

do read gone with the wind.....its not what it seems!

another 'love story' high on my list for both gender..an equal music by vikram seth.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, y'all! Went and ordered 'GWTW' (together with 3 other books, ouch)from the German Amazon - free delivery, yay!

Enar, what an apt title - 'An Equal Music' - for both genders. Yes, it's on my shelf. Now I'm motivated to get into it soon, thanks.

Sympozium, I suppose a dog is "anything in between"? The dog I had for a week chewed up a corner of Siri Hustvedt's hardback 'What I Loved' and I had to pay up big-time for it to the community library. They wouldn't hear of a few book donations in lieu. *sob*

Arg

animah said...

Dear Francis Dass, Most women do not have the luxury of lounging about on the sofa on the weekend with a hot something. Most women are likely to be saving a Barney or Dora book (the unbanned version) from a naughty red crayon, and maybe just trying to get on with Mr Norell and Jonathan Strange at the optimum rate of two pages a day.
MacCavity is my favourite Old Possum's poem as well. And don't get me started on The Wasteland.

bibliobibuli said...

nicely said, animah

BawangMerah said...

"And the books can be flung aside (without bothering with bookmarks!)"

What! I get a panic attack everytime I realize I've misplaced the bookmark. It's even worse when I end up reading something really crucial before I'm suppose to, while I'm searching for the page I stopped at. And bookmarks keep me reading. Once I finish a book, I find another book to keep my bookmark in, because I tend to lose them. :P

But can't imagine reading chick-lits though. I don't think I can handle the idea of standing in the train while reading a book with pink covers and caricature of a woman's leg with a couple of shopping bags.

On a side note, since I had only a vague idea of chick-lit, I googled chick-lit and ended up at a wikipedia page about it. I didn't know there were guy version of chick-lits called 'lad-lit' or 'dick-lit'. Hmm. But if chick-lits are like Bridget Jone's Diary I don't think I'll have trouble enjoying it. Though I'd probably have to do something about the cover. Or maybe I should just do the macho thing, and say to hell with the covers.

Argus Lou said...

Someone, please publish a chick-lit book with a brown or black cover with pictures of spanners and the internal combustion engine.

sympozium said...

Brown chick-lit covers? "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian"

Argus Lou said...

Ya, I got that, Symp. :-)
Love the recycled-brown-cardboard-type cover, but have a bit of problem with the tone, so have put it down for the meantime.

enar arshad said...

so many books so little time....

happy world books day people.

am going to start reading the constant gardener this week.