Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fauna, Flora, and Natural Specimen Sketchbook Pt. 3

Here are more sketches from my Nature Sketchbook.

I listen to quite a few Mystery Novels, often while drawing or working on other projects. Here are two thing's I've noticed recently about the genre:

1. There are quite a few mystery writers named Lisa. I've only read works by some of the Lisa's out there but I often find my next Mystery via Library Thing. In their 'Recommendation' section, I constantly see mystery titles by 'Lisa's.' Here are examples: Lisa Unger, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Scottoline, and Lisa Jackson. Once I read a book called Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Life by Richard Wiseman. I don't read nonfiction very often but this book was very interesting! One of the chapters was about how people's names affect who they become later in life, specifically regarding jobs. It's been a while since I've read this book but the gist of the claim is that there are an abundance of marine biologists named 'Mr. Fish' and dentists named 'Ms. Smiley.' (these examples are not necessarily accurate.) Basically, researchers have found a correlation between name and chosen profession. So this made me wonder if there was a famous detective/mystery solver named Lisa, thus inspiring some of the Lisa's of the world to become a part of the mystery profession. Upon conducting a Google search, I found no evidence supporting my theory.

2. There is a prevalence of women detectives/ mystery solvers in novels who share the characteristic of having a large appetites. These are not the type of appetites satiated by a salad or a bowl of soup. These women want greasy, fattening junk food. Sue Grafton's heroine Kinsey Millhone loves her Mcdonalds. I swear, I was fairly convinced after reading one of her passages that McDonald's must be paying Sue Grafton to advertise in her books. Kinsey went on a verbal tirade about how much she loved juicy and delicious McDonalds Hamburgers. The woman seemed positively obsessed with McDonalds. Lisa Gardner's detective D.D. Warren also shares a tendency toward the jubilant consumption of high caloric, greased infused food. The reader's are first introduced to her while she chows down on a midnight breakfast of gigantic proportions. In later books, a dounut is always near. In Laura Lippmans biography of her character P.I. Tess Monaghan, she says 'Tess has been called the hungriest PI in fiction.' And in the Tess Monaghan mysteries I have listened to, Tess does have a hardy enthusiasm for food. What is it about these women mystery solvers and their appetites? Partially, I think it is a way to show that these characters aren't too girlish. We are made to think that all three women are traditionally attractive (although at least two of these series are written in first person so their relative attractiveness is only implied rather than explicitly stated, because that would make them look egotistical. Their traditional female attractiveness serves as a way to display these characters natural femininity. Beautiful women are automatically thought of as feminine. But being a P.I. or Detective is traditionally a masculine job. So their large appetites serve to show that these women are not to dainty, as ravenous eating of greasy junk food is seen as more of a masculine trait. So having women characters with both traditional female traits juxtaposed against male traits makes the characters 'one of the guys' while still being relatable to the female readers. Or maybe I am reading far to much into this and the truth is that these characters have huge appetites because most people love food. I know I do!

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