Saturday, October 18, 2008


women reading

it has been said by many including famous authors - mario vargas llosa for example- that if it is not for women the 'novel' would be dead a long time ago. not many men read for pleasure it seems and thanks to women books in the fiction genre is still alive and well. for men, reading isn't fashionable and decidedly geeky. only boys who have problem getting girls or gays or dorks read. not exactly groups most men would like to be identified with.

but women are different. for a start a great number of them are woefully indiscriminating in their taste. they will buy and happily read and enjoy silly chick lits, romance and pulp fictions book after book . i suspect that the extraordinary and ridiculously fantastical sales of the children book in the harry potter series is solely due to women readers. i've never met a man who read harry potter.

but that is not to say that men are eclectic and have good taste. on the contrary these days most men prefer to surf porn and in malaysia read half-baked poorly written local political blogs. so we are no better then silly women.and that is not to say that women don't understand 'quality', or read serious and ah that word again ...'literary' fictions. in fact i also suspect that if it's not for women all these "booker" books would sink without a trace- most of them anyway. but the thing with women is they are indiscriminating. one day they may read say mikhail bulgakov and the week after they will happily pick up sophie fucking kinsella or yet another harry potter volume

women reading has fascinated many painters since hundred of years ago. I can't recall any good paintings of men reading but there are plenty of very good paintings of women reading. recently i bought quite a delectable art book Reading Women that has a selection of color plates of paintings of women reading by well known (and some less welknown) artists through the last several hundred years.

one particular painting is my favorite. it's a theodore roussel's painting of a young nude girl reading a magazine. it is mentioned that it's in the tate but i can not recall ever seeing this when i visited both tate london and tate modern several times in the past. I'll make a point to look for this when i go to london in future.

this painting captures everything i like about women.

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