A fellow author clued me in that Gawker was having some fun with the editor and contributors of THIS IS NOT CHICK LIT, gently pointing out that you can't publish an anthology bashing books with too many handbags and boyfriends and then turn around and have a party -- er, an "evening of conversation and shopping" (with discounts, yet!) -- in celebration of said anthology at a handbag shop.
At first, I thought, "Hey, they bill themselves as America's best women writers, which is different than 'most morally consistent.' Or 'smartest.'"
But then I started feeling sorry for the THIS IS NOT girls. Think about it: if you've taken a hard-line stance against the silly consumerist frippery that's crowding legitimate literature to the margins of the marketplace, if you sneer at mere entertainment, scoff at high heels and handbags and profess horror at happy endings, it does kind of limit your options as far as gaiety and merriment are concerned. Where are they supposed to celebrate their golden moment in women's writing? The soup kitchen?
Moving on: I went to NYC last week to interview Sarah Dunant, who joins the roster of my all-time favorite writers, and who won Elle Magazine's Readers' Prize for fiction. She was warm and witty and very engaging, and we chatted about everything from genre versus literary fiction to how she created the characters from IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN. Melissa Faye Green won the nonfiction prize for THERE IS NO ME WITHOUT YOU, about the AIDS orphans in Africa, which was simply heartbreaking (although I wouldn't recommend it for the beach).
Then I spent the weekend in Florida, celebrating my grandmother's 91st birthday. A good time was had by all, except I'm pretty sure that my grandmother thinks the character Sacha Baron Cohen plays is named Borax. The twenty mule-team comic!