Thursday, 29 January 2009

Why don't men read the Pern books?

I haven't done a joint post with anyone before so this is a first for me. Pat (deslily) is posting this on her blog too, to see if we can get some clue as to the answer.

But before I go onto that part of the post I'm going to 'blame' Pat for the fact that I was too creeped out to get to sleep last night. She recommended In the Woods by Tana French to me, a crime book, which I've been reading. Well, I'm not usually the nervous type but when the main character came to spend a night in the woods and eventually fled in terror I was too frightened to turn the light out and when I did, lay there listening to noises! Your fault, Pat. This is clearly a book to be read only in the daylight hours! LOL.

Anyway, onwards.

(This part of my post is written by both myself and Pat.)

Ok... don’t get me wrong, some men have read Anne McCaffrey’s books. But, Pat and I were talking on IM the other day and the topic of dragon books came up and that, naturally, led to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books. (..and Master Harper Robinton, which both of us are going to fight over hahaha) While talking the fact came up that it seemed to us that we didn’t know any men who have read any of the Pern books.

They are filled with great and interesting characters, we both agreed. Very strong men who were dragonriders and leaders of the Weyrs. Strong women. Nearly inhuman problems to be solved, and all around fantastic writing.

Some of the reasons we came up with about why men don’t seem to read Pern are:

…some men don’t like to read about strong women.

…some men don’t read books written by women.

…some men don’t like fantasy’s that sound too real.

…some men aren’t “into” dragons.

…some men might see the books as too ‘girly’. Ie. there is romance, not just between people but the dragons are included as well!

Of course none of these excuses have been asked of the men that we know who read fantasy books.

Apart from my own husband that is (Cath's). When I asked him why he’d never read them he replied that actually he had read several. His opinion was that they’re ‘okay’ but nothing special. His reason seemed to be that there wasn’t enough action in them - not enough of the stuff men like such as fighting and war. Plus, there was too much of the kind of thing women like such as emotional and life solving problems. It seems men are not so keen on this kind of introspection.

… one more thought was that these are old books and so are not promoted or out there for some to discover anymore.

…And I also wondered if the fact that a woman, Lessa, is the most important character in the first books made a difference. Do men like the most important character in a book to be a man? Personally, I feel that McCaffrey treats men and women as equals in all the books and for me that’s a plus point not a minus.

The Pern books are among some of my absolute favorite books. I’ve read them a number of times. When I do I am totally lost into the world of Pern and the dragonriders with their dragons, the masterharper hall, and other lord holders and the people that live and work in them.

The planet is also very ‘real’. The map and descriptions are so precise that it feels like this place really exists. Especially the southern continent which they rediscover in The White Dragon and it’s like going on your very own voyage of exploration.

I feel drawn to the dragons in Anne’s books because they are friendly. Because you can bond with them the way you do with your own pet dog or cat. Of course you can’t communicate with your dog or cat.. but that isn’t because you don’t want to!

The more I thought about Pern the more I tried to think about, “what don’t I like about Pern and life there?” Well.. besides the obvious of the “killer threads”, life there isn’t easy. There aren’t a lot of “modern conveniences”. But even with that, life there seems more intense.. I want to say they work harder and enjoy life harder. And it’s not even a ‘too perfect’ world. There are unpleasant people as well as nice ones. People don’t get along, are selfish, petty, fall out, just as they do in real life.

Her characters are well developed, as is Pern itself, and you can feel the authors compassion when you are reading her books. (maybe that’s a reason men don’t read Pern?)

So.. we are writing this because we want to know why men don’t read Pern!!

If you know.. let US know!


DesLily said...

wow, the covers on your Harper Trilogy are nice!!! I wonder why they change the cover art ?? you would think the art would remain the same for any author where ever it came from..(I know there's some covers to books i've read in Australia I'd love to have!) oh well..
we might not get a single response on this but I hope some female bloggers have husbands or boyfriends that have a thought about this!!

oh ..heh.. couldn't sleep eh? heh.. sorry 'bout that! lol

Anonymous said...

Well, first of all, I am planning to read IN THE WOODS as soon as I can. Maybe next if I can get SUITE FRANCAISE over with soon (and I'm enjoying it, just anxious to get on the IN THE WOODS).

Second, my husband has read the Pern books I'm almost sure. I'll ask him this evening. I haven't read them, but I have read THE ROWAN, DAMIA, DAMIA'S CHILDREN, etc. Hubby pointed me to them years ago and I really enjoyed them. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, but it seems to me that when I told him how much I liked the Rowan books, he said the others were about dragons and I should read them. He reads other fantasy books as well as some mysteries.

I'll get back with you later, but wanted to post a short comment to let you know that I am thinking about this.

Sarah said...

I've got In the woods in my TBR pile, and when I get to it will keep your warning in mind!

I'm not a reader of fantasy/sci-fi in general, but even I have read one of the Pern books and enjoyed it.

Cath said...

Hi Pat. Those covers are nice aren't they? I forget who the artist is but they're quite old versions.

Oh 'tis worth a little lost sleep for such a brilliant book. Hoping to finish it later. Did you say something about Tana French having a new book out?

I hope you enjoy In the Woods, Kay. I'm not a massive crime reader but am developing a taste for these psychological type tales where things are kept secret.

I hope you will try the Pern books. They have a magic all of their own and nothing really compares, imo, especially to the early books. I haven't read the Rowan books but think I've read the first Damia one. My daughter has all the McCaffrey books so I could get them from her.

Sarah: yes, bear in mind that In the Woods is actually quite a creepy read... but very very good.

DesLily said...

The Likeness: A Novel by Tana French

Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She’s transferred out of the murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O’Neill, but she’s too badly shaken to make a commitment to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin. The dead girl’s ID says her name is Lexie Madison—the identity Cassie used years ago as an undercover detective—and she looks exactly like Cassie. (creepy music inserted here!) hehehehe

Cath said...

So, the second one is going to be about Cassie. That's interesting. I wonder if we'll hear more about Rob as well. I liked Sam but felt very sorry for Rob, regardless of the fact that he'd been a bit of an idiot. Must check to see when that's coming out.

Darla D said...

Nice post! I don't know about men and Pern, but I'll keep my eyes open at the library - I've never thought about that before! I love those books, and Pern is one of my favorite otherworldly settings - I feel like if I were transported there I'd know my way around immediately. Excellent characters, world-building, and excellent writing. Maybe more men will give the series a try after they read your post!

Cath said...

Darla: I know exactly what you mean when you say that if you were transported to Pern you'd know your way around. That's exactly the way I feel about it. And wouldn't it wonderful to actually go there!

curt said...

I'm a man and I have every Pern book writen most in hard cover. I read them many time and love every one. I feel that if I were to be there ( PERN ) I would be a Harper and so would my son. I have turned many of my male friends on to thease great works.

When Anne write she puts you in the shoes of the people. There are times when I read the book I feel I'm thare and not in my home or at my desk at work. It is one of the best way to feel lost in a world that makes you feel worm and good inside.

Maybe that is why most but not all men will not read thease books.