Books and Bitches

I didn’t intend to start something, honest!

But I’m glad to return the favor.  My WWW Wednesdays are owed to Should Be Reading.

(Missed this week but I hope to catch up next week, because I’ve read several books since I last posted.)

I commented on her post that I purged my books and now reserve my bookcases for books I need (research, reference) and books I love (for emotional or sentimental reasons, or because I really and truly love them).  And she decided she liked that idea and purged her own shelves.

For someone who is a reader, books are life’s blood.  To have the luxury of owning the ones I love most–that is sheer joy.

I haven’t bought any new ones lately, but I uncovered a few old ones that have long been amongst my treasured possessions.  Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda (Oxford World’s Classics), and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, 75th Anniversary Edition. These are all books I bought from a book club many years ago in special (cheap) binding that looks much nicer than it is. I have several others, as well, but these are the ones I was looking for.

Gone With the Wind is problematical for me. How did I read it twice before I figured out it was racist? And yet, it’s a magnificent character study of one of the very few female characters in popular culture who is loved even though she’s a bitch. The other one? Aurora Greenaway in Terms of Endearment: A Novel.

And by bitches, I mean characters who have truly done despicable things. Scarlett sure does. And Aurora is a mother from hell.  These aren’t cute girls who do naughty things. These are real bitches.

We love our bad boys (just about any character James Dean, Danny DeVito or Jack Nicholson played, for starters) but damn, we don’t let our women get away with much without deciding they are bitches and we don’t like them.

Am I missing any bitches that are accepted by popular culture?

Have you ever gone and hunted down a book to buy after you read it–because even though you’ve already read it, you want to own it?

Do tell.

 

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12 Comments

Filed under Books, Building My Library, Reading

12 responses to “Books and Bitches

  1. Melissa

    Estella of Great Expectations, as well as her adopted Mother. Although, I wonder if Charles Dickens would be considered too old for Popular Culture. And I don’t know if Estella was loved by readers. I felt sorry for her for what she was created into. But endeared? I’m not sure. 🙂

    • It has been so long since I read Great Expectations. And looking back, I’m not certain if I read the whole thing or an abridged version. It was in 9th grade and I think it was actually in our text book, which makes me think it must have been abridged. Hmm. I’ll see if any of my friends remember. But I’ve been thinking about rereading it and this gives me a reason!

  2. Ilene

    I saw an interesting ep of “American Masters” the other night on PBS. Margaret Mitchell, author of GWTW, was featured. Did you know she was a philanthropist who put many black men through college, and also medical school? This had to be kept strictly below the radar as it was the 1930s. In spite of her reputation as the author of a racist book, her dedication to black education was steadfast until she died.

    You are missing bitch Emma Bovary. Are we doing only book bitches?

    • I believe that. She was a product of her rearin’ in that she was in school taking a history lesson before she found out that the South lost the war. Her family spoke about the war as if it had been just a few years back, since many of them were alive during it. But try to read the book today and you may be surprised at what you read. And then there’s no getting around the glorification of the KKK.

      • Ilene

        True dat, re: the KKK. Like Shakespeare, who is occasionally dissed in modern times over “Merchant of Venice” antisemitism, she was a woman of her times.

        If action is character, I believe her heart was in the right place. Ultimately.

      • I agree. My comments aren’t about her, but about reading the book in our time. Very uncomfortable.

  3. denise

    GWTW is historically accurate. I have a number of first printings, just not the signed first edition I long for. I have a special print copy of the manuscript from the movie. I had a huge GWTW collection and sold it before the economy tanked. I don’t think because I owned it and loved the novel and movie it made me a racist. I didn’t glorify it.

    Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain.

    Corrine and Olivia in Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

    Jezebel , Herodias and Delilah in the Bible

    The Bitch is Back: Wicked Women in Literature by
    Assistant Professor Sarah Appleton Aguiar PhD

    • Ooooh, I have to find that book or paper. Appleton.

      I don’t think loving GWTW makes you racist at all. I read Margaret Mitchell’s biography and it was fascinating. She was a woman of a specific time and place, and what she created was magic.

      • denise

        MM was an incredible woman. There was a recent book that told of what she did for her husband. I also read/own her novella Lost Laysen that was published in 1996–she had written it in 1916. Not about the South.

        They did a TV movie about her and Shannen Doherty played her. It was in 1994. double-checked the year on that.

      • I had no idea she’d written a novella. I’m going to have to track that down.

      • denise

        I have it in hardback–cost a little bit to mail back and forth. 😉

      • denise

        can you tell I’m a bit of a “windie”? that’s what they call serious fans of GWTW.

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