When you write about culture on a pretty constant basis, James Franco is sometimes like a good old friend who shows up exactly when you need him, always there to say or do something that you can write about. In terms of books, which I believe is Franco’s preferred side gig to his acting, Franco should be commended because there are few celebrities aside from maybe Oprah or now Stephen Colbert who do as much to help more casual readers discover new writers, and that’s a good thing. But…
The problem is that Franco doesn’t seem to ever talk about books by women. He’s basically given us reason to think this time and time again, and even his ideal bookshelf has just one book written by women among the titles by Faulkner, Nabokov, and Kerouac. It’s problematic, to say the least. Franco’s latest round of suggestions, part of his “Summer Book Club” at Vice, sees the actor once again suggesting a handful of books — most of them great ones — by Steve Erickson, Michael Chabon, Teddy Wayne, and others. But again, no women authors — not a single one.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to rag on Franco anymore. I have no beef with him; he cares about books, he was in Freaks and Geeks, and he’s a huge celebrity who probably doesn’t care all that much what I have to say one way or another. But in the event that he does read this, or he has one of his assistants read the internet, or whatever celebrities do, I’d like to suggest this handful of books written by women that maybe he’d consider checking out and hyping up at some point in the near future. There are many, many more, but let’s be fair: the guy has eighteen classes and two movies to shoot every day of the week. This seems like a decent enough start.
Tampa, Alissa Nutting
Since Franco knows what it’s like having people think you’re maybe some kind of predatory sex pervert, maybe he’d really like Nutting’s great novel on a fictional predatory sex pervert.