Yesterday I announced a new mini-series that will investigate if and how men read today. First to the plate is Mr. Eric Rountree. Enjoy.
B: Who are you?
Well, I'm Eric Rountree (aka Faltarego), and I work in a bookstore here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I'm 49 years old and I love writing. Current obsession is my NaNoWriMo novel from November, which I am currently editing. I blog, I tweet, I play guitar and I love good nachos.
B: What literary genre do you usually prefer?
I'm a big science fiction and fantasy fan, but I haven't read as much of those genres as I think I have. I'm currently spreading my wings and investigating "mainstream" fiction.
B: Why did you decide to give The Time Traveler's Wife a whirl? I'm told that you enjoyed the experience - given that this novel has been largely marketed towards a female audience, why did it appeal to you?
I was working at Chapters here in Halifax when the book came out, and when I first noticed it, I was intrigued by the title, as I'm a big fan of time-travel stories. I was mildly surprised that the book wasn't in the science fiction section, and I had no idea at the time that the book was considered "women's fiction." It quickly became a favorite, and still stands to this day as one my three favorite books of all time.
B: Can you name any other books that you've enjoyed that were likely not marketed to yourself?
I recently read The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (also in my top three favorites now), and I suspect that, despite having been written by a man, it's likely considered "women's fiction." No matter. I loved it. I was also absolutely enchanted by the Harry Potter series and though I'm not much of a mystery buff, I very much enjoyed Déja Dead by Kathy Reichs and Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. I'm unlikely to read anything by Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steel or Sophie Kinsella, however.
B: Do you feel any affiliation with so-called "guy lit" ex. Nick Hornby, Douglas Coupland, Jonathan Tropper, Thomas Pynchon etc.
I found Microserfs by Coupland a thoroughly entertaining read, and I'd like to read more of his stuff. As for Hornby, I've only seen a couple of the movies adapted from his books, but I may read something of his at some point. But as a rule I don't seek out books written "by guys for guys."
B: The argument has been made that fiction is now a largely female domain. Do you agree with this and if so, is it natural or do you think it's exclusionary?
There are indeed a lot of female writers out there, but I don't think that "female writer"necessarily means "female reader." To generalize grossly, I think more women than men read novels (based on my own observations from behind the counter), but I don't think that's a new phenomenon, and I don't believe the numbers are that far out of whack.
We do get a lot of men coming through our cash. Ignoring for a moment the romance genre, which by its very nature skews the statistics heavily, I think that "chick lit" (Kinsella, Ahern, Steel, Kelly, O'Flanagan, etc.) is nicely balanced by "guy lit" (Clancy, Griffin, Grisham, Flynn, Child, etc.)
It's interesting to note that two of my favorite writers, Stephen King and Jasper Fforde, seem to appeal to both sexes. I've certainly met a lot of female King fans, and Jasper Fforde, while not everyone's cup of tea, writes from a female perspective in his Tuesday Next series. Dan Brown seems to have transcended the gender barrier as well, even though many might lump him in with Clive Cussler and James Rollins.
No, I certainly don't think that fiction is a female domain.
Thanks Eric! I've been meaning to read The Gargoyle. Next up is Mike Astbury - videographer, Torontonian and plaid enthusiast. Look for his Q and A next Monday.