Monday Morning Stepback: How women lawyers should dress, neuro lit crit, and plot vs. argument

The weekly (ahem) links, opinion, and misc post

1. Links of Interest

Did you know that, re: hoop earrings, “the bigger the hoop the bigger the ho?” I sure didn’t, and maybe that’s why, despite not being a lawyer, I was fascinated by this piece at Feministe on So What Exactly Should Female Attorneys Wear? Apparently there was a panel on this topic at the recent ABA meeting and

While it sounds like the panel attempted to be gender egalitarian, the advice for men boils down to “make sure your suit fits and is clean,” whereas the advice for women is 40-parts long, all detailing ways to not be trampy.

Roxanne St. Claire and other Space Coast authors are featured in a video and story for

Prompted by the kerfuffle to which I shall not link, Shiloh Walker is pondering Responsibility as a writer, responsibilities as a woman, responsibilities as a person:

I’m not shouldering the responsibility of perpetuating violence against women if/when I decide to write a book with forced seduction or a book with a rape fantasy. Because I have no responsibility in the violence committed against women unless I’m one of the ones who either turn a blind eye when I see (or am aware) of a woman being assaulted, or I’m the one doing the assaulting.

Over at History Hoydens, author Pam Rosenthal is talking about The Heroine’s Journey. Or not:

I don’t have any statistics here (and of course there are all sorts of variations and exceptions). But still, it seems to me central to the romance genre that its heroines very often embark upon journeys before they (literally and figuratively) find their ways home. In a genre that tells the story of its heroine’s quest for her self and simultaneously for her ultimate home in the world, very often that heroine has to leave home, abandon the familiar and the familial in order to see herself (and others, and of course most particularly the hero) outside the accustomed map of understandings she’s grown up with.

Emily Colette Wilkinson has a long essay on Ethical Vampires (Part 1) at The Millions.

The vampire of our cultural moment has become a “vegetarian” of sorts, a Whole Foods shopper–an individual who prefers humanely raised, sustainably farmed food. From the shimmering pâleur of the vampire radiates something new and hardly otherworldly: an aura of white liberal guilt. But maybe it’s only skin deep?

Author Rose Lerner offers up a list of her favorite Ten Angry Heroines.

Janet Mullany is asking How Literate Are You? over at Risky Regencies. More specifically:

How can someone who reads or writes romance have not read Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice?

I don’t think I have ever actually finished Jane Eyre, yet folks were arguing at PCA that it’s the Brontës, rather than Austen, from whom the romance genre descended in the US. Anybody want to read it with me?

Have you taken the Book Blogger Survey for Improving Blogger-Publisher Relations? If not, you have until 4/20 to do so:

This information will be useful in helping facilitate more effective communication between bloggers and publishers by giving all involved a more concrete idea of what to expect and how to measure and determine successful placement of books on book blogs. We also hope it will encourage book bloggers to be more transparent about their blogs’ statistics and to provide relevant data when communicating with publishers to request or arrange reviews.

Additionally, we have included questions intended to provide feedback to publishers about how they can better meet the needs of the book bloggers they work with.

Buried By Books is unhappy with author activism — at least within the pages of books:

I’m talking about when those beliefs make their way into their stories in book after book with all of the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Where readers are subjected to mini-lectures over and over every time they pick up a book by a particular author.

… Want another example? Nora Roberts and her fitness/healthy food crusade. It started way back in the 1990s with mentions of healthy living, running etc. The ‘lifestyle change’ crusade overwhelmed the narrative in parts of the Sign of Seven trilogy. To the point that I never finished the series.

2. Neuroscience Gets its Own Section Today

Notice how genre distinctions are assumed by the researchers, and, indeed, provide grounds for various hypotheses:

An Interview with neuroscientist Merlin Donald on digital books at Teleread (actually an excerpt from a longer interview here.)

The ebook may be best suited for fiction, or biography. But for anything that requires a lot of reflective thought, a printed book is so portable, handy, easy to notate, and flexible in its format, when compared with current electronic readers, that I would not see the latter as serious competitors yet.

The New York Times is wondering if neuroscience is the new lit crit:

Humans can comfortably keep track of three different mental states at a time, Ms. Zunshine said. For example, the proposition “Peter said that Paul believed that Mary liked chocolate” is not too hard to follow. Add a fourth level, though, and it’s suddenly more difficult. And experiments have shown that at the fifth level understanding drops off by 60 percent, Ms. Zunshine said. Modernist authors like Virginia Woolf are especially challenging because she asks readers to keep up with six different mental states, or what the scholars call levels of intentionality.

“We begin by assuming that there is a difference between the kind of reading that people do when they read Marcel Proust or Henry James and a newspaper, that there is a value added cognitively when we read complex literary texts,” said Michael Holquist, professor emeritus of comparative literature at Yale, who is leading the project.

And the Guardian gets in on the neuro lit crit act:

Later this year a group of 12 students in New England will be given a series of specially designed texts to read. Then they will be loaded into a hospital MRI machine and their brains scanned to map their neurological responses. The scans produced will measure blood flow to the firing synapses of their brain cells, allowing a united team of scientists and literature professors to study how and why human beings respond to complex fiction such as the works of Marcel Proust, Henry James or Virginia Woolf. …

[Researchers] have spent months designing their texts, or “vignettes”, and they have been specifically created to different levels of complexity based on the assumption that the brain reacts differently to great literature than to a newspaper or a Harry Potter book. The aim, Holquist says, is to provide a scientific basis for schemes to improve the reading skills of college-age students.

And another one from the Times: Can Neuro Lit Crit Save the Humanities? which asks authors and scholars to reflect on the above article. I liked this comment from author Elif Batuman , author of The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them.

A literary theory should account for what’s special about literature — for the things literature does better than anything else. It doesn’t make sense to me that novels evolved in order to train us to have thoughts like “they don’t know that we know they know we know,” because such training is afforded by many other leisure activities (sports, newspapers, video games, the stock market).

…What does literature do better than anything else? It provides a detailed representation of the inner experience of being alive in a given time and place.

3. Is Plot to Literature as Argument is to Philosophy?

In a recent post at A Commonplace Blog, D.G. Myers writes:

Although an ingenious plot is not a logical structure, it serves the same purpose in fiction that argument serves in philosophy—and may even rival philosophical argument in brilliance. The trouble, or the glory, is that literary critics have never devised a notational system for reducing the plot to its necessary causal sequence. Indeed, critics have an allergy to reducing a novel to its plot. So much else about it seem so much more important!

But the plot is what gives the “so much else” its importance. And when it is airtight, the plot succeeds in establishing, I would hold, the validity of the novel’s central theme.

He proceeds to do just this for Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence (1920), claiming that “The novel is written to verify a ‘tragic view of marital duty.'”

In the comments, he adds:

The philosopher seeks to validate his central claim through argument; the novelist, through plot. In The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton does not build an intellectual case for the tragedy of marriage. She lays it out—by plots and errors moved. And in so doing, she puts on abundant and satisfying display how the greatest novelists think.

Dan Green’s reply to Myers:

If plot is not a logical structure, how can it serve the same purpose as argument? An argument depends on its logical structure. If plot has no logical structure, how can it be an argument at all, much less a brilliant one?

Myers’ reply to Green

Because argument is the organizing principle in philosophy. Logic is the method by which philosophical argument is conducted: it is peculiar to philosophy. Plot is (almost always) the method by which a novel’s “argument” is conducted. It is fiction’s answer to philosophy.

I confess, as a moral philosopher who has turned to literature to get away from abstract argument and a highly cognitive, conscious and non-naturalized take on moral judgment and experience, I found Myers’ assertions a little dismaying.  It’s not just that there are experimental novels that don’t fit the plot mold, as Green has pointed out. It’s that, unless “plot” is being defined include everything valuable about literature, in which case there’s nothing really new here, I don’t see that looking at literature as a sustained argument is really helpful in reading it as literature. Philosophers are very used to reading literature as fancified argument,  as “philosophy with bells and whistles”, of course, as textbooks like Nina Rosenstand’s and Peter and Renata Singer’s , which encourage students to extract moral premises and conclusions from various canonical works, attest, but I always thought that was a pretty reductive way to read even very plot driven fiction, such as genre fiction. I guess I am just not sure what the payoff is, while I can see dangers, for example, in artifiicially forcing the text into a defense of a thesis, creating the possibility of missing what’s secondary or what doesn’t fit. I realize that the claim isn’t that plot is argument, but I am not sure how else to read the premise by premise reduction of Wharton which ends with what looks to me like a garden variety conclusion, that no one had to slog though Age of Innocence to figure out.

And I’m not even sure the role of argument in philosophy is well captured by this, either. Of course, argument is a hallmark of philosophy, a crucial tool of the trade. But philosophers also use literary techniques, rhetoric, autobiography, etc., and there are lots of other things that are just as important to read philosophy for, such as a providing compelling sketches of a worldview which can’t — especially in the case of philosophers in the continental tradition like Nietzsche and Heidegger — be reduced to a series of premises and conclusions alone without losing a lot of its philosophical power. Never mind deconstructive readings like those to which Derrida subjects Plato and Irigaray subjects Spinoza and Levinas.

4. Personal

Author Crystal Jordan has pictures up from the PCA Conference and I am only linking to them because the one of me is actually pretty good. — that’s a joke. It’s a fun post. Check it out!

Speaking of which, my ego would like to whinge for a moment. I have 500 subscribers and that number again of regular daily visitors to this blog. And yet not ONE of you asked me to talk about my PCA paper presentation. The people who were actually present are excused. But what about the other 980 of you? Sheesh!

My first post-tenure review document is due Friday. Guess I’d better get started on that, eh?

Actually, April (and early May) are sheer hell in terms of workload. Not only is the semester winding up, which means loads of exams and paper to grade, as well as end of year awards and celebrations, but I am going to Texas in 2 weeks to give a 2 talks, one on neuroethics and one on feminist bioethics, for which I have to make final preparations.

My reading is down — way down — as the dearth of reviews might suggest. But I have also not been enjoying a lot of what I have been reading, and thus haven’t felt like blogging about it.

Happy Week!

32 responses

  1. Jessica, tell me about your PCA paper presentation, please? :)

    All my writing is a work of activism. Anyone who doesn’t like that, is free not to read my stuff. Considering the relentless heteronormativism/anti-feminist rhetoric I see coming out of Romancelandia, and I assume from some of the books as well, I’m not going to apologise for having a liberal, atheist, rationalist agenda.


  2. I sort of noticed the healthy food/exercise trend in Nora Roberts’ books. And sort of shrugged and laughed, because if you check her older categories, the characters often smoked. Even in more recent books, the heroes enjoy an occasional cigar. (And I believe Ms. Roberts herself smokes.) Eat well, exercise regularly, but keep smoking? It didn’t feel particularly preachy, though, so I let it go.

    OTOH, there are a couple of authors whose political preaching via characters have made me tune their work out.


  3. I was disappointed that you didn’t blog about your PCA paper presentation, but I figured if you were tried of talking about that conference, I couldn’t blame you after all your earlier (stellar) posts.

    Re: activist writers – as long as you’re not beating me over the head with the “moral of the story” I’m always happy to have some sort of moral or ethical center in a narritive because it tends to keep the plot honest and consistant. I just went to see the new “Clash of the Titans” last night, and felt like that’s where whe plot dropped the ball. The whole movie made the point that “gods are douchebags” and then at the end, that premise was turned on it’s head with no real rhyme or reason, to no point. La Nora’s references to “food as fuel” and jogging did get a little heavy-handed for a while there, but I don’t think they were ever central to the plot of any of her books.

    Definately read Jane Eyre, but I think it’s way more interesting (from a classist, collonial, and feminist perspective) if you read Wide Sargasso Sea first. Jane Eyre is a great book, but so much more interesting when you keep the perspective of the mad woman while reading.

    Finally re: what female attorneys should wear – when I was in law school, I had a fellow student who was criticised in a mock court entirely for what she wore. No one mentioned her arguments once. She’d worn a red suit and showed clevage, so I guess no one could hear what she said. The pitiful thing is that one of the judges was female. Oh, patrarchy, indeed.


  4. I somehow had the impression you intended to talk about your paper, so I didn’t ask. I’d like to hear about it, too.

    Regarding what lawyers wear, I think it depends somewhat on the case they’re trying and the judge in front of whom they’re trying it.

    My husband is the type of man who stuffs his suit into his briefcase and remembers to pull it out again the next time he’s in trial. He likes colorful, unique ties, like the Jerry Garcia ties. Some judges tolerate it, some like it. One elderly judge ordered him to never wear the ties in his courtroom again. I’ve seen my husband go into court wearing a rumpled suit, white socks, and black sneakers that only vaguely resembled dress shoes. He’s gone up alone against whole teams of lawyers in expensive suits. Doesn’t matter. He eats them up and spits them out, expensive suits and all.

    There is still quite a bit more discrimination against women lawyers, especially in conservative counties and in big firms where the number of men far outweigh the women. Women lawyers in our county dress very conservatively because our county’s conservative. We do have a few who dress to manipulate some of the male judges in the county, and it works. At least one judge known for harrassing most of the women lawyers in his court also bends over backward (so to speak) to accommodate female lawyers who wear short skirts and put up with his flirting. Fortunately, it looks like he won’t be around much longer.

    On the plus side, more women lawyers are winning judicial races in our county. My husband likes it because women judges, on average, are harder-working and they will listen to attorneys without letting ego get in the way of their decision-making.


  5. I was going to ask about your paper, but then you seemed so relieved to have made your “last” PCA post that I didn’t want to annoy you by asking.

    Jane Eyre was my first romance novel, although Pride and Prejudice came right afterwards (same spring break, IIRC). I’m always up for reading it again though, if you want to host a read-along! And then there’s the BBC adaptation starring Ciaran Hinds (lusty sigh).


  6. The gothic romance genre as a whole is often cited as the precursor to both the romance AND horror genres. The Brontes were so much later than Austen, though, that I think it’s a mistake to attribute an entire genre of fiction to just one work (or one family for that matter).

    As a reader, I’ve always preferred the works of Anne to that of Emily or Charlotte. Less angst.


  7. I already read Jane Eyre. It’s my favorite novel, and it is very romantic–although I think P&P has more of a foothold on the modern romance.

    If a woman should be able to be slutty anywhere, it should be in a courtroom!


  8. Well, perhaps no one has reduced novels to their plot structures (although, you know, I bet someone somewhere has), but Vladimir Propp did create a whole morphology of the Russian Fairy Tale that a lot of people treat as a basis for understanding the structure of [certain types of] stories. What’s funny about Propp is that even though he describes how the stories are put together, he never really comes up with an explanation as to why they’re structured that way–and of course, the why of it is the really interesting part.

    Jane and Emily Bronte certainly have a corner on love-angst stories, whereas I think P&P does have a greater influence on modern romance–although it’s sort of been reduced to the most saccharine version of Beauty and the Beast (when of course in Austen’s original almost everything that happens outside of the romance is more intriguing than the romance itself!).


  9. When I was clerking for a woman judge, the attorney for the City of Philadelphia came in on the first day of a sexual discrimination trial filed by a female police captain . . . and his fly was undone. It took my judge so long to figure out how she could mention it to him without committing an impermissible ex parte conversation that he’d zipped up. That, literally, is the only “wardrobe malfunction” I can remember from that year. All the women attorneys who appeared in court or in chambers must have been unmemorably dressed. (My aunt, who used to argue cases before the highest appellate court in New York State, once told me she aimed to get her oral argument outfit as close to the modern equivalent of a Victorian women’s riding costume: fitted black jacket and white blouse with a stock.)

    – – – –

    Deborah Tannen, in one of her books on the differences in the way men and women communicate, tells the story of observing a family dinner conversation. There were several school-aged children present, one of whom was a girl about age 10. The conversation got onto bicycles, and each of the boys had a story to tell about his own bike, a friend’s bike, etc. Finally, in a lull in the conversation, the little girl said, “I fell off my bike once,” and stopped talking.

    Tannen presents this story as evidence that women learn (or have as an instinct) to wait for permission or encouragement to tell their story. I’ve seen this in action, and it’s always a bit creepy — a little bit of Stepford in women. (I’ve done it; I felt that urge to be asked — to wait for evidence that someone wants to hear what I have to say — working in concert with the disinclination to just blurt things out in some rude boyish fashion.)

    In that context, then, my response would be this: tell us about your PCA presentation, or don’t. Your choice.


  10. I have agendas when I write because when I tried to write without my biases, they came through anyway–only piss poor–and wrecked the whole story. I decided to be upfront with them and damn the torpedoes.

    That said, my strongest fan base is in a pool of people who hold opinions diametrically opposed from mine [my characters’] because *I did my job*, which is to say, I made readers like and care about my characters so much that they’ll deal with the agendas more or less happily.

    There are two authors I love whose work is agenda-laden, from whom I “took permission” to write my agenda. The one that most heavily convinced me was Sheri S. Tepper, the one I *don’t* agree with. I may not care for her agendas, but I love her work. Why wouldn’t I give readers the same benefit of the intellectual doubt that Ms. Tepper gave me?


  11. Thanks for posting the What Should Female Attorneys Wear article. Very interesting. Also, it amazes me how much Legally Fabulous sounds like my school’s career placement office circa 2000-01. I got engaged as a 3L and still recall being told to hide that ring! I feel downright rebellious sitting here in my pantsuit wearing my long hair down while getting ready to go to court today. Perhaps I need to get some hoops…

    Also, love the Rose Lerner list! I loved her book, but haven’t read her blog. It makes me want to pull out some Dorothy Sayers now. Harriet Vane is one of my very favorite characters.


  12. Um, I didn’t actually realise you were delivering a paper to the conference – how did I miss that?

    Of course I want to hear about it!!

    You know, my only complaint about these MMS posts are that there is so much content to respond to, so I’ll just restrict myself to two comments:

    – in my view, it behoves female lawyers to dress carefully. The very fact that someone might (albeit unjustifably) pre-judge what you say based on how you look is something you must take into account in terms of delivering the proper service to your client. Of course female lawyers have the ‘right’ to dress how they want but if they have a reasonable apprehension that what they are saying on behalf of their clients might not be received as well if they dress in a particular way then those beliefs should take a back seat. There is a tension here between personal beliefs and what is best for the client but similar tensions arise for lawyers in all sorts of situations.

    – I read and enjoyed Jane Eyre as a teenager but she is not one of my favourite heroines. She is quite an interesting heroine though in her strength and firmness of belief. In many ways, she is very far from the Victorian ideal of womanhood. I see common threads with Flowers From the Storm – physically damaged heroes and pious heroines; a liking for demure grey dresses. The thing I find most difficult about her is her total lack of interest in and compassion for her student side-by-side with her absorption in Rochester. I’ll be interested to see what you think of it.


  13. Yay, a Jane Eyre group read in May! Looking forward to that.

    I think of the healthy lifestyle aspect of La Nora’s recent books as a character & world-building thing, not a personal agenda. Sometimes, as in the Bride Quarter, different characters’ feelings about things like exercise and diet help differentiate them one from another, and other times the details help ground the books in their time period.

    Mojo, I love Tepper! Although I have to admit that it’s not in spite of her social and political views.


  14. Hi, Jessica. Speaking as one of the historians at PCA who very much promotes the influence of Jane Eyre on American romance (and 19th century American women’s fiction as a whole), I’d say that you’ve lived a pretty happy life so far; you don’t want to muck it up now. It’s the gothic that’s important.

    Austen wasn’t popular because there simply was no parallel cultural structure until the turn of the 20th century. But Edith Wharton had no sense of humor.

    On an unrelated note (tongue in cheek here), is it professionally ethical to beg for attention to your outside presentation? the blog isn’t enough?

    Okay; so I’ll ask: what are the ethics of academic romance criticism?


  15. @SonomaLass: I’ll admit I’m a sucker for characters with strong opinions, no matter what they are. Clearly, in different authors’ hands it could come off badly but mostly I don’t see enough opinionating. Tepper’s heavy-handed, but I love her for it.


  16. @Maryan:

    On an unrelated note (tongue in cheek here), is it professionally ethical to beg for attention to your outside presentation? the blog isn’t enough?

    Didn’t you get the memo? This is my off duty blog. I get to whinge unprofessionally all I want to here.

    And you’ve convinced me to finally read Jane Eyre, like it or not.


    Yay, a Jane Eyre group read in May! Looking forward to that.

    You’re in (you too, Victoria)! Do we get to take a sip of Hendricks every time Jane suffers a privation?

    @tumperkin: Interesting to hear your take on Jane Eyre (and lawyering). Luckily I don’t plan to enjoy it, but rather to read it as part of my education in the history of the romance.


  17. Your link to the article on lawyers’ dress code made me smile: I’ve just graduated from medical school (in the Netherlands, I apologise for mistakes in my English), and on the first day of internships we received a typed list with house rules concerning appropriate clothing in the hospital. It contained many, many rules directed at females and almost nothing for men. Basically, what it boiled down to was: if you happen to be a young, reasonably attractive woman, please do not let us see ANYTHING of it.

    Of course I agree that enormous amounts of cleavage, bare midriffs (with or without belly button piercings or lower back tattoos), skirts to mid-thigh or above et cetera are not a good idea when working in a hospital, but the same goes for certain fashion faux pas men commit.
    In my 2-3 years of hospital experience, I have never seen women dressed in any of the above mentioned, but I have seen men in flipflops (truly, like they were on the beach, hairy toes and all), men in shorts, men apparently without shirts beneath their white coats (chest hair poaring out) and men in dirty, beer-stained, stinking shoes (directly from many late nights out). None of those things were ever included on the list with clothing rules.

    It feels like a weird type of discrimination: if I look like I possess anything resembling a female figure, it is not OK, but men may do anything they want?


  18. OH, Jessica! I want to hear about your paper! My ego’s needs have been working overtime this month overshadowing ALL ELSE. Please lay it out for us.

    OMG, my whenever my mom goes to an art museum or reads a book, she always wants to reduce it to what the author is saying, what the painter is saying. “Carolyn, don’t you think the author is saying…” and I want to scream! I hate the idea of literature reduced to argument. Gah. The last time she was here I took her to a super contemporary museum, the Walker, and we’d look at, you know, whole canvases of orange paint and she still found a way to do it, even though the little cards, which I read to her with perverse glee, often stated the pieces were not supposed to be about hardly ANYTHING.

    Also, I would never think of that Wharton as being about a tragic view of marital duty. To me, it is the immersion of a reader in one possible experience with the powerful grip of societal and cultural conditioning, and the way people could act as cogs in that machine, but the whole book tells it.

    Please tell about your PCA paper. Also, I’m impressed you said that, that you felt that way.


  19. I’ve never read P&P and I don’t think I finished Jane. I liked the suffering orphan part (heh) but thought Rochester was a boor and a bore IIRC.

    Anyway, I’m up for either. Now that I’ve been SHAMED into it by my peers. :)

    FWIW, I’ve read the Princess of Cleves, the first actual *novel*, by some accounts. It’s an epistilary romance, sort of. Just wanted to throw that out there as a possible contender for genre origins! Not everyone agrees as to which books make up the canon.


  20. Do we get to take a sip of Hendricks every time Jane suffers a privation?

    Hm, I don’t think recall any cucumbers in Jane Eyre, but it’s been a few years since I read it. (I know this will disappoint Carolyn Crane too.) Drinking anything every time Jane suffers would lead to short and drunken reading sessions — yeah, I’m up for that.


  21. May would work. Early May? It will go nicely with my very-slowly-proceeding reread of THE MADWOMAN IN THE ATTIC, since I’m just up to the part about SHIRLEY, which of course means I’ve also been thinking about the Jane Eyre bit, in my backbrain.


  22. I can’t wait to hear what you think of my favorite odd moment of “Jane Eyre” (the delightful strangeness of which went totally unnoticed by me until I was in grad school, reading the novel for the third or fourth time, and I suddenly thought: This is an truly weird for gender, performance theory, and the romance genre.). Here’s all I’m saying: there may be a bit of a drag performance subplot involving getting under Jane’s layer of reserve and seeing into her future. Keep an eye out for it. For me it was as strange a revelation as that joke that the false heroine tells in “Mansfield Park” during a discussion of the Navy: “Certainly, my home at my uncle’s brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of Rears and Vices, I saw enough. Now, do not be suspecting me of a pun, I entreat.”


  23. That article on what female attnys should wear burned me up.

    I was in a position of watching a few county court cases in NY recently. The female attnys that went in front of the judge wore everything from platform peeptoes to pantsuits. With earrings and long hair. And they ruled.

    The men came in swaggering/bragging how drunk they got that weekend and what bars they went out to. What cars they wanted and …pfft. They might as well have whipped them out and measured.

    There were a few older men who were there because they were lawyers, but the others…meh.

    Have you read Steven Taylor’s THE FALL?


  24. Jane Eyre is one of those books that I remember as awful, and resist re-reading, but if I do pick it up it isn’t nearly as terrible as my recollections.

    Neuro-pick-a-field is everywhere lately! The NY Times keeps running reviews of popular-audience books on the neuroeconomics of decision-making.


  25. Coming to Texas? Where?

    Loved Jane Eyre every time I read it–except the Sharon Shinn re-write as a science fiction novel. It was TOO true to the original. Seems to me if one were translating it, or using it as inspiration for science fiction, it ought to be more science fiction-y. (For the same reason, I want my paranormal romances obviously paranormally)

    I don’t like preachy books, but I have to be really, really hit over the head with it to notice it. I loved Flowers From the Storm because Maddy’s faith was a part of her character. But she never stopped to preach about it. It just was. Susan Howatch’s Anglican books were really good like that, IMO.


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