April 2015

Warm Up: Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept

The wind picked up, blowing depleted uranium shell casings across the cracked and pitted asphalt and into the gutter. Dust devils hung in the razor wire, alongside the rags and specters of Third Platoon. A bloody bunch of dog tags hanging from a wooden peg outside the Captain’s shredded canvas tent twisted in the wind. Captain John Mason swung his legs over the side of his cot, shoved his bare feet inside his cracked leather boots, picked up his carbine and strode out of the tent. Reveille was an hour away, if the bugler wasn’t already dead…

In my opinion, Chris from www.aarluuk.blogspot.com, gearing up for a Read-a-thon, squaring away your books, beverages and literary bayonets, is more like a black op than a status update. While Jack Reacher books, Fantasy and Sci-Fi epics are considered essential holiday reading material, most guys would have a hard time considering reading those same books for a whole 24 hours.

“You’re gonna do what?”

And it stops right there. There’s no need to say more. The mission is compromised. And yet, it’ll take a good 24 hours to make even a dent in the Game of Thrones books – even if you do skip all the chapters with Sansa. So what’s the big deal? Why are a lot of guys reading in the shadows instead of posting their progress and getting psyched about the amount of snacks and TBR stacks they are going to nail during Dewey’s read-a-thon?

We could be.

But we’re not.

But let’s play with the idea of what might happen in a more balanced read-a-thon where the guys were just as active as the girls.

There would be less vampire romance and more vampires. Period. Cozy mysteries would have to compete with classic coups, heists, bank jobs and hostile takeovers. The list of classics being read would include an equal weighting of characters like Fitzwilliam Darcy and George Smiley. Instead of purely tortured romantic heroes like Heathcliff, there would be, like it or not, more torture and John J. Rambo would take matters into his own hands… again. No opera per se, but space opera a-plenty. Heavy hitters in the Sci-Fi world like Peter F. Hamilton would blur the lines between the genres of horror and the classic space romp, but there would still be time to relax with a Frank Miller graphic novel, or even one by Neil Gaiman. We can all agree on Gaiman and here’s the key: we can all, guys and girls, agree on books. Period.

Dewey’s is about books. Books are cool. They take you places. Dewey’s is all about streaming books, for 24 hours. Tired of waiting for your favorite literary series to be dramatized?

Stream it.

For 24 hours.

Consider this a call to arms. It’s time to lock and load with your favorite action and adventure read. We can learn a lot from our literary sisters – it’s all in the details. Pace yourself – it’s a long mission, and a long way to the LZ.

On my last mission, I went on a bit of a Steampunk rampage with a mix of YA books, a graphic novel based on the television series Firefly, and good intentions to get stuck into The Difference Engine. Balance and variety is good – the dangers of being ambushed by the sofa or even the hardwood floor are high… I’m just going to rest here for a few minutes… you go on without me…

Consider Dewey’s a high risk mission with plenty of pitfalls requiring planning and commitment. The higher the risk – the greater the reward.

Load up on snacks, light reads, quick reads and maybe a single heavy-hitter, like the one you have been saving for “when you have time”. Guess what? You finally have time.

So, take a day out of your calendar, plan your mission, and dig in. You’re in it for the duration, but we’ve got your back. No one gets left behind.

Mason knelt beside the body of the soldier. He picked up the twisted bugle and studied it. Beyond the razor wire, the flicker of movement caught his eye. Tossing the bugle to one side, Mason slid a new round into the chamber and stared down the iron sights at the horde assembling in the rubble where the mall used to be. It was time.


12 thoughts on “Warm Up: Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept”

  1. Hi Martine

    Not at all. But I think there might be a tendency towards more action-based stories. That’s why I chose to focus this warm-up on more “stereotypical” stories that men might prefer. 😉 But George Smiley, created by John Le Carré, is much less violence and far more intrigue.


  2. While I do appreciate your feedback, this is one reader’s experience and his preferences. His choices do reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, but I like chick lit, so I suppose mine do, too. He’s not trying to sell anyone to adopt the same preferences, so we’re letting it ride.

  3. I’m sorry that my first comment was too harsh – it’s a sensitive issue for me, and it’s something that I spend a whole lot of time fighting in real life.

    I actually understand where Chris is coming from and fully support what he’d like to accomplish – attracting more male readers to the RAT. We would all benefit from that, as a community.

    It’s awesome if you enjoy chick lit and Chris enjoys space opera and thrillers. My qualm is not with individual reading choices, but with the premise that this is generally the way all readers function, which is what “But let’s play with the idea of what might happen in a more balanced read-a-thon where the guys were just as active as the girls” and the following paragraph seem to state.

    I understand this was just an unfortunate way of expressing a call to fellow men and not a conscious effort as bigotry, exactly as my former comment was awkward and lazy instead of a rational critique.

    Bottom line is: I wish this piece had been written in a way that unambiguously made clear that there aren’t so many differences between men and women regarding reading. I also see not everyone would understand the original text as I initially did, so yes, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  4. And just so you’re aware, Chris actually emailed and apologized, told me I could take the post down if I wanted, but I insisted that we press on. While I don’t agree with the very quote you provided, I also didn’t want to edit out Chris’s own words. So yes, I absolutely understand where you’re coming from, and I most definitely appreciate you taking the time to expand on your original comment. This is an important dialogue going on around the internet right now, especially. <3 You've been a valuable participant for a long time, so really, thank you again.

  5. Gah. I’m now feeling awful because I let myself publish that first comment. You guys are being extremely understanding and benevolent.

    I celebrate your decision not to take this post down. It was never what I intended.

    Hi, Chris, please don’t feel threatened. I promise I don’t usually run on this short temper. Hope this doesn’t deter you from writing another post in a future RAT and hope that the rest of the event goes better for you, with no rain clouds raining on your parade. At the end of the day we both want to celebrate reading – we even share a love of sci-fi!

  6. I have to just pop in and say that I found this post really fun, and I do wish more guys would join the RAT.
    I’m currently working on getting the Hubby to join in at least for a few hours by promising ample head-scratching 😉

    Hope you have a great read-a-thon, Chris!

  7. While I appreciate that this post was well-intentioned, I’d like to second Masanobu’s comment, in part because my reaction to this post was the same and in part because I don’t think a single person should have to stand alone in calling out a problematic post like this. I completely agree that it would be nice to have more diverse readers and that we seem to be particularly lacking in male readers. I even think the format of this post is fun, despite its reliance on gender stereotypes. However, I am offended by the suggestion that certain, stereotypically male-read genres will be underrepresented without more men doing the reading .

    Despite my disagreement with the contents of this post, I also agree with Masanobu that this post shouldn’t be taken down. No one’s opinions should be censored. However, had I seen this post before joining the read-a-thon, I’d have debated whether or not to participate and probably posted a disclaimer on my own blog to make it clear that I don’t endorse the opinions expressed in this post. Although I would be happy to read this post on a personal blog and to have a productive discussion about gendered reading and gender stereotypes there, I’m not thrilled that I’ll now feel like I’m endorsing these views when I participate in and promote the read-a-thon in the future. Perhaps in the future, contributor posts could come with a disclaimer indicating that they don’t reflect the views of all read-a-thon hosts and participants? Personally, that would make me a feel a lot more confident in my support of the event.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *