Hope. Escape. Fun. Happiness Something just for me. Taught me about respect. Joy. Taught me that I deserve a happily ever after, too.
I spent the spring and summer of 2016 listening to women about why they read romance novels. I ran a research project that was specifically interested in how women who see themselves as ‘religious’ interacted with the sex in romance novels, but my participants gave me so many gifts beyond that. Many I heard from weren’t even women of faith, they just wanted to tell me how important these books are to them, how vital they are to their lives. (1)
Because for so many women, they are just that: vital.
I talked to women whose entire sexual health education came from Harlequin, because their schools and families and religious spaces never talked about sex and the issues surrounding it. From the books, these women told me, they learned about consent and respect and orgasms. (2)
Are indie erotic romances and erotica no longer welcome in the Barnes & Noble Nook store? Are some of them okay? Apparently, it depends on what day of the week it is.
Last week, several erotic romance authors reported that that Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press had suspended their accounts. Initially, it was reported that the books being removed were those that broke the content policy – that is, erotica about incest, rape, bestiality, necrophilia, or pedophilia. As with any of these breaking news stories, the truth always takes time to bubble to the surface. In other words… That was far from the truth. Author David Gaughran reported that authors of “regular erotica” were being targeted – not just writers of the more … niche … stories.
Hearing from lots of authors who got this email from Nook Press. “Regular” erotica too, apparently, rather than some of the… […]
The cold shower is the romance novel male equivalent of the internal hymen: you see it in books so frequently that you probably don’t notice it anymore, but when you stop to think about it, something’s off. In fact, everything is off. The cold shower, it seems, is just as grounded in reality as the mythical internal hymen.
What is the cold shower? Here are just a few of the many, many examples:
After ogling the heroine Jennifer, the hero Cletus reflects:
A cold shower was in order. And yoga. And then another cold shower. – Beard Science by Penny Reid
After ogling the heroine Lucy, the hero Zack reflects:
He needed a shower. A cold one. – Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie
After ogling the heroine Emma, the hero Connor reflects that if he couldn’t
take a cold shower, he’d have to settle for cold drinks. And maybe he should just pour […]
Earlier this month I was chided on Twitter for saying this:
I’m 70% through A Bollywood Bride by @. I now feel bereft that I’ve never been to an Indian wedding. Or worn a sari.
The chider is a woman and author whose opinion I respect. She asked me why I would ever have had an occasion to wear a sari. This then generated a lengthy and interesting Twitter conversation about cultural appropriation. I’ve thought about the points she raised as well as those raised by those in my Twitter stream who felt strongly that anyone who wants to wear a sari or a kimono or lederhosen should do so if she wants to.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an article entitled “To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation.” In it, the author Cathy Young asserts that those who criticize artists […]
I was at an absurdly hip underground pop-up dinner (eleven tiny courses based around the 1968 Volkswagen bus) and seated across from a couple both of whom were cancer researchers. In the midst of a discussion about Americans’ (mis)perception of what modern medicine can cure, the man stopped to ask me what I did. I said, among other things, I was a publisher at a website that reviewed and discussed romance novels. It was as if I’d said I made hats for leprechauns, he stared at me with such disbelief. I continued to smile. He asked why I’d do such a thing. The conversation became strained –I tried to remain well-mannered as he talked about 50 Shades and the vapidity of the genre–and he finally started an argument with his wife over his choice not […]
I’ve spent enough time in Romlandia to see that there are kerfuffles that seem huge and all-consuming but then, after all the ink is spilled and spleen is vented, they’re quickly forgotten. And then there are things like the Big Reveal Jane Litte dropped last week. The effects of that little revelation keep spreading, and I suspect we haven’t heard the last of it yet.
As someone who has observed, participated in, and written about books and this community for years, my first instinct was to dive right in, and start reporting with a timeline. But my gut kept telling me to stop and weigh my words a bit. A mentor I’ve long trusted always told me to listen to the gut and I’m glad I did this time.
My first reaction on hearing Jane’s news was, “Okay, good for her,” but then more facts started coming out. And as I tried to put together all the facts, I started […]
I heard George RR Martin on the radio the other day. Asked about the Game of Thrones body count he said something like (this is a paraphrase): “I used to read stories that had happy endings, where people did good things and nobody got raped…then I grew up.” Meanwhile, in an article on children’s fiction, author Robert Muchamore observes, “While a childish thirst for happy endings satisfies and entertains us, the real world is so complex that unambiguously happy endings hardly exist.” […]
Ever had one of those frustrating weeks where you just don’t get to curl up with a book as much as you’d like to? Yeah, me too. My day job pretty well ate my life last week and had me sitting in traffic all over northern Virginia as I went from appointment to appointment. On the plus side, I did get to catch up on blog reading in between all of the mad dashes and I found some interesting stuff over the past few days.
I like to read Jezebel every now and again because some of their writers do offer useful perspectives on women’s lives and they can be very supportive of women’s choices, history, literature and so on — except when they’re not. My general reaction to reading this article which somehow takes the idea of Jane Austen having both highbrow and lowbrow appeal […]
Everything I’ve ever written or posted at AAR has been under my own name. My real one. Since I’ve been doing this for well over a decade and have an unusual name, I figure I am about the easiest person to find on the internet. You google me, you get me. I made the choice early on, and I’ve always been comfortable with it. But we have several staff members who use a pseudonym. Reasons vary; for some it’s a professional issue, for others a privacy one. Honestly, when a reviewer wants to use an assumed name I don’t feel the need to ask them why. I don’t really care what you call yourself as long as you are professional.
It’s impossibly hot here in D.C. today and writing a cogent opinion is beyond me, I’m sorry to say. The best I can do is come up with a few things that I’ve been thinking about lately.
But first I better explain what I mean by my title. Here in the online romance world, some things become accepted as the general prevailing opinion fairly quickly. After all, we are all smart women who also love romance, and, as in all parts of life, the loudest and most persistent dominate. That is what it is. But little old me (and, I hope, others) don’t always feel as if I’m on the majority opinion team. So, here are a few ways I don’t feel part of the prevailing romance voice.
- I like Dukes marrying seamstresses. Okay, so I know it didn’t happen and I don’t give a rat’s ass. I read romance for fantasy […]