New Rule

Jul. 12th, 2012 08:09 am
lederhosen: (Default)
Before you criticise "50 Shades of Grey" for being a badly-written unrealistic book that presents an unhealthy relationship model, think about two questions:

(1) Did you criticise "Twilight" for the exact same failings?

(2) Bearing in mind that "Twilight" is aimed at a younger audience who have a higher risk of taking the relationship aspects as a how-to instead of escapist fantasy... if you answered "no" to #1 above, please explain the difference.

I don't plan to read 50SoG. I'm quite willing to take everybody's word for it that it's dull and unrealistic and not a good model for dating. But there are THOUSANDS of books released every year that fit those descriptors, many of them quite successful, and rarely do they cop a backlash like this one. ("Twilight" caught some, but nowhere near this level.)

So while I agree with the criticisms offered, I have to wonder if that's really what's driving the reaction. Would we be seeing this same level of hostility if EL James had written the exact same book, without the kinky sex, as a best-selling romance novel?
lederhosen: (Default)
I've been reading C.J. Chivers' "The Gun: The AK-47 and the Evolution of War". A good book but not a feel-good one.

While Chivers evidently knows the technical side of his subject, and discusses that in patches, this isn't a technical book. It's a very thoroughly researched book about how the AK-47 and its predecessors have shaped the world we live in (with one chapter on the M-16 fiasco in Vietnam).

He makes a good argument that we should be paying as much attention to small-arms proliferation* as we do about land mines, nuclear proliferation, and so forth. Historical and political forces have led to a situation where the world has a vast supply** of cheap assault rifles light and simple enough that children can use them. The consequences are unpleasant; Chivers doesn't shy away from describing groups like the Lord's Resistance Army or a Kurdish bodyguard shot twenty-three times.

It's not perfect (it jumps around a bit and could probably have done with more editing, and there are some gaps in the story) but well worth reading nevertheless.

*This is not a Second Amendment discussion; Chivers touches on US gun control only briefly, to the effect of "if you live in a country that's stable enough to be even having that debate, consider yourself fortunate".
**In Ukraine, he notes, a country with an army of around 70,000 soldiers has an armory of seven million small-arms thanks to Soviet stockpiling.
lederhosen: (Default)
Not going to do the whole book, but there are a few bits here that would do Ed Wood proud.

Sexual stereotypes: equally relevant to antediluvian shapeshifting worm monsters! )
lederhosen: (Default)
I have now finished reading Lair of the White Worm and am now trying to decide whether to go back and spork it.

Pro: This book really, really needs sporking.
Con: I'd have to re-read it. It really isn't a good book. If you've seen the Ken Russell film, that's much better.
lederhosen: (Default)
Rey picked this up during AussieCon and I read it during our holiday in NZ.

Well, it was better than Eragon... or maybe it wasn't. )

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