Thursday, 26 June 2008

A hastily scribbled note . . .

Eeeek! Too busy with work to post anything today, but have miraculously managed to find a few idle nanoseconds over coffee to visit a couple of other blogs and can heartily recommend the following:

A welcome retrospective of Quentin Blake's 'other' covers - ie not the children's books for which he is most famous - on the excellent Caustic Cover Critic (which is nothing like as angry-sounding as its name suggests!)

I've been following with interest the debate about female protagonists written by male authors on Petrona. The post and its fascinating comments relate mainly to crime fiction, but this is a terrific subject for wider discussion, I think. Are women better at writing convincing male characters than men are at creating female protagonists? If we cast the net wider and go back to Dickens, the Brontes, George Eliot, Hardy . . . what then? Is Tess of the d'Urbervilles a less convincing woman than Jane Eyre? Does it matter? Do we care?

I confess I've often considered that many contemporary women writers do get under the skin of their male characters in a way that most male writers don't quite manage with their 'leading ladies' (and I use that expression deliberately). But I'm aware that this view may be skewed by my own reading habits, gender-political leanings, academic studies . . . all kind of things, and not just by gut feeling. And of course there are some notable exceptions, some of whom are mentioned in the comments following Maxine's 'challenge'. I guess only a 'blind tasting' would really do the trick. An interesting excercise for a book group, perhaps.

Wish I had more time to think about this properly, but unfortunately my time is wholly consumed right now by a densely written typescript on the subject of the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Oh joy.

I can't sign off, however, without mentioning that I received a delightful email from a hitherto 'silent reader' of Musings - all the way from Prague, attaching a jpeg of a beautiful little watercolour of some sea glass. You can see some of Debara's paintings of sea glass and other 'finds' on her new blog here .

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