Pursuing the Times by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Mercury Lauren is frustrated with the injustice of genre classification. She will tell you that she writes satire...which is generally categorized as chick-lit. Voicing the opinion of many women authors, Mercury repeatedly points out the unfairness of "classifying any book by women or about women" as chick-lit.
While successful in her "genre," her nagging inner pessimist is in search of an objective read. Convinced of getting her work into the hands of Frank D’Arcangelo, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times Book Review, Mercury manages to make a fool of herself at the National Book Awards ceremony, a yoga retreat, and on a golf course.
Logsted provides a humorous main storyline filled with literary jargon and relatable mis-steps. Who hasn't had a breath-stopping editing mistake like the one Mercury makes?
"It was then that I noticed the page counter in the lower left-hand corner of my computer had changed from 349 to 1. I hit Word Count: instead of 82,073, that said 1 too. My 349-page book, that I’d been working on for months, was now reduced to – gasp! – a single em-dash."
With a cast of characters including literary agents and their secretaries, unethical book reviewers, unexpected houseguests, and...Donald Trump? the story is well-rounded with a realistic amount of romances, steamy sex scenes, and family dramas.
As a book lover and aspiring novelist, Mercury Lauren is the most relatable character I have read in ages. She's not perfect or glamorous, but she is defiant and determined that one label cannot be applied to all work written by or for women. I'll be thinking of Mercury the next time I encounter a sexist literature snob. I'm going to quote her when I roll my eyes and tell him:
"Ohhh...go read some Hemingway."