Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Gender Divide On The Book Shelf

The errant boyfriend finally returns from his two-and-a-half week sojourn to the heights of Peru and the sunny climes of the Carribean tonight. So last night I found myself frantically tidying up in anticipation of his return... and stumbled across his stack of bedside reading, which I'd previously paid little heed to.

On the top of the pile was a tatty paperback of "Do Not Pass Go" by Tim Moore (an attempt to solve all the mysteries of the Monopoly board via well-crafted sentences). What surprised me most about this (as I remember P reading this avidly a few weeks ago) is that there was a page marker in it... only three pages away from the last one. Could he really not be bothered to read the last three pages before going away and forgetting all about it? The fickleness of the male mind.

Also taking up space was a coffee-table sized book of Man Ray photographs, with a really tatty slip cover - so tatty it had, gasp, rips in it. What is it with boys and treating their posessions like rubbish? Now this book is no surprise, as anyone who knows P knows that he's a photographer by trade (and not just any old photographer either, mind).

"The Diaries Of Samuel Pepys" have been loitering around the bedroom for over a year now. P has a huge obsession with the city of London (as well as with furthering his mind)... but even he has to admit that Pepys' diaries can't be read in one go. That said, there have been numerous occassions when I've been interrupted to be enlightened on some fascinating old Londonioan fact or other.

Looking pristine were "The Collected Short Stories Of Roald Dahl" - a gift from an editor friend. Clearly not hugely appreciated, although a bookmark a third of the way in begs to differ.

To compare and contrast, these are the books on my side of the bed...

"Nightwood" by Djuna Barnes (Faber & Faber) - this is next on my reading list, now that "Flush" has been finished. To be honest, I'm not looking forward to it. But an eager beaver on my course has picked it for our reading group next Thursday, so I'd better get a wriggle on with it.

"The Haunted House and Other Stories" by Virginia Woolf (Hogarth Press) - I picked this up from the ULU library on Saturday hoping it might provide a diversion from my essay on Woolf and alternative realities. I've dipped in a little and what I like most is that the stories are rarely more than three pages long. Which appeals to my current addled state of mind.

"Little Boy Lost" by Marghanita Lanski (Persephone) - I loved "The Victorian Chaise Longue" so I wonder what's not to love about this one? Sadly the lovely Persephone books are having to creep down my priority list as the MA reading list takes over my life. But I still like to know I have a few in reserve.

"The Runaway" by Elizabeth Anna Hart (Persephone) - when I get a free few days between MA books, I shall lap this one up. The etchings look most appealing.

"Wild Highway" by Bill Drummond and Mark Manning (Creation Books) - I bought this over a year ago as I am fascinated by Drummond and his antics (and it also has an astonishing photo on the cover), but I've yet to summon up the strength to read it.

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