So here are two things that have been weighing on my mind.
I read about the Bechdel Rule recently. Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home, says that for a movie to be worth her time, it has to meet three conditions. 1) There have to be two female characters that are 2) having a conversation about 3) something other than a guy. So I went and counted my movies, and checked to see how many of them would qualify under this rule. I own 107 movies right now, of which nine met these criteria. That’s ridiculous. (I’m counting Breakfast on Pluto, by the way, though I don’t know whether Bechdel would or not.) I did it the other way round, two male characters having a conversation about something other than a girl, and I came up with sixteen on the first shelf (which holds slightly less than a third of my films).
That’s just ridiculous. And I guess it’s not really a question for y’all so much as just me wanting to share that, because it made me sad and angry. Also here is a link to people in Hollywood talking about racism and sexism. It is alarming and will alarm you.
Second thing, and this is what I want opinions on. What do y’all think about reading books that you are giving people before you give them to them? Birthday and Christmas gifts, and like that. I used to never do this, and then eventually I started doing it for certain people – if it was a gift for my Indie Sister, or my friend tim, or my mother, I would read it first. Because I know they are all people who read books before giving them as gifts. And now I’ve lost all self-control. If there’s a book the library hasn’t got, and I buy it as a gift for someone, I always read it first. (Unless it’s a mass market paperback, because I don’t want to bend the spine.)
I know this isn’t a good habit! But I just can’t help myself! I justify it to myself by remembering that I don’t at all mind getting books as presents that the giver read before giving to me. Actually it is nice in a way, because then I know I can talk about it with them when I get through reading it. One year my mother read Tamsin, which she had bought for my sister Anna, and she liked it so much she got copies for all of us. See? A book I wouldn’t own if my mother hadn’t read it before giving it away!
I am hungry for justification. Do you do this? Would you mind if someone read your gift book before giving it to you?