Monday Morning Stepback: Spring Break Edition

1. Links of Interest

Post of the week: The Book Smugglers’s first Cover Matters column takes on whitewashing.  It’s long and detailed and comprehensive and persuasive. I believe this important topic deserves nothing less. Go read it.

Georgette Heyer is on tour!

Beginning Monday March 1, 2010, Georgette Heyer will be going on a virtual tour of the blogosphere. Check out these participating blogs where you’ll find reviews of a number her works, as well as general information posts about this classic author.

An excellent post by Richard Herley, a author who has just concluded a 2 year experiment: he offered his books as free downloads, asking for payment if readers enjoyed them. The post connects up a wide range of issues, including how readers buy, why writers write, and how the digital age is changing reading habits. (from Books, Inq.). At one point, he worries:

People brought up on hyperlinks will not be receptive to the linear experience of a novel or short story.

Author Janet Mullany at History Hoydens explores the difference between good friends and improper relations in Georgian England. Of Jane Austen, she writes:

For Austen, true intimacy and love is between sisters, not friends.

(From BookNinja) Michael Schaub, managing editor of BookSlut, is interviewed by Willamette Week Online. Very funny. Among the interesting bits:

OK, yeah. I’ve gotten some nasty emails from writers whom I’ve reviewed negatively. There was this guy… Toby Young. He wrote a terrible book called How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which was then made into a terrible movie. Basically, this guy is just a dick, writing about his experiences being a complete dick. I thought it was charmless and poorly written, and I said as much. It’s a real job hazard, having to read crap like that all the way through.

Keira at LoveRomancePassion is really doing yeoman’s work trying to keep up with and organize all the blogs in Romland. Check out 50 New Romance Novel Blogs. And did you know she has created a Google bundle with hundreds of romance blogs?

In big philosophy news this week, a letter by the founder of modern moral philosophy (and geometry and a lot of other things), René Descartes, was found at Haverford College in PA . In it, he talks about writing Meditations on First Philosophy, a text that I and every other philosophy professor in the western world will make you slog through if you take one of our classes.

The Tools of Change publishing conference happened in New York last week. Luckily I don’t have to spend any time telling you what I think, because Don Linn’s summation of the conference does it for me.

2. Great Taglines in Romanceland

I’ve been shopping for a new tagline for this blog, and just like when you are shopping for a new car, and you suddenly take a keen interest in all the other makes and models on the road, I have a new appreciation for great tag lines in romance blogging.

Here are a few I’ve admired recently:

Bodice Ripper Reviews: Honest Insightful and Funny, Dammit

Save Black Romance: It Tastes Better When its Chocolate…

Leontine’s Book Realm: Home of the Beefcake Preview Club and the Smutty Society

Moriah Jovan: All the things your mama told you not to talk about in public

Lurv á la Mode: A feast for the reading romanticist

Smart Bitches Trashy Books: all of the romance, none of the bullshit

Right now I’ve got “because litblogs aren’t just for literature”. I am self-consciously trying to create a space for folks like me (and most of you) who read romance and literary fiction, both. We’ll see if it sticks. [changed, temporarily, to “Rethinking Romance fiction”]

The theme creators call the banner design “flames”, and that’s what it looks like to me, but people are seeing … other … things. This is kind of a Rorschach test. Tell me what YOU see in my new header and I will predict what kinds of books you enjoy. (kidding!) [Changed to dirty brown.]

3. Random

I nuked my old blog, and did not do any forwarding due to various complications, not least my innate laziness and selfishness. You can find any old Racy Romance Reviews post, with comments, here at Read React Review, by using the search function (top right), but your old Racy Romance Reviews links won’t redirect here. I am very sorry about this inconvenience.

To subscribe to this blog, just click here, or scroll to the bottom and click the RSS icon.

I’m on spring break for the next two weeks, and for the first time in 8 years am not going some place warm. Expect a lot of posts as I don my slanket, brew a pot of tea, and park myself in front of my kitchen woodstove for a fortnight.

Happy week!

31 responses

  1. My mondays are not complete without your MMS posts now. I luurves them

    Thanks for the kind words about our Cover Matters issue.

    ALSO, the Don Lin link is the same link at the Descartes one!

    I like the tagline!


  2. There are the famous Christmas aliens in your banner. They were popular with WarOfCraft* users during the early 1990s. Like I said, so retro of you.

    I have to admit I’m not sure if I like the ‘because litblogs aren’t just for literature‘ tagline. It has implications I think it doesn’t mean to have.

    *Or whatever it’s called. I can’t remember. I don’t think I even want to know.


  3. @Maili:

    I have to admit I’m not sure if I like the ‘because litblogs aren’t just for literature‘ tagline. It has implications I think it doesn’t mean to have.

    such as….???

    And thanks for the explanation of images!


  4. Right now I’ve got “because litblogs aren’t just for literature”. I am self-consciously trying to create a space for folks like me (and most of you) who read romance and literary fiction, both. We’ll see if it sticks.

    I’m with Maili on this: “I have to admit I’m not sure if I like the ‘because litblogs aren’t just for literature‘ tagline. It has implications I think it doesn’t mean to have.” When I first saw it, I thought the implication was along the lines of “Because litblogs aren’t just for literature … sometimes we read, react and review trashy stuff too.”

    And what do you mean when you say “folks like me (and most of you) who read romance and literary fiction, both”? Do you mean “modern literary fiction” or “literature”?


  5. OMG, Georgia OKeefe flames! Is that what people meant? Okay, the ‘litblogs aren’t just for literature’ doesn’t work for me either. But I LOVE the flames. I could see just the flames acting as your tag.

    Actually, I’m surprised at your premise for your blog as you state it: “folks like me (and most of you) who read romance and literary fiction, both”

    To me, that is not what you’re up to here, and though I know you are morphing now, I still don’t understand this to be your direction. This could be presumptuous of me, but I think you need to forget about the tagline and more accurately describe what you’re doing, in as klunky, verbose language as you want (not for use anywhere), and then when you have that right, it will be easier to get at a tag.


  6. @Laura Vivanco: ok, assuming you can speak for Maili, you are both right … that is not what I meant.

    I meant… you can do the things one does on a litblog — literary criticism, philosophy of fiction, leftist cultural analyses, such as feminist theory, etc. — while reading material one doesn’t normally think of as “literary”.

    @Carolyn Crane: Oh, that is good advice. I will see what I come up with.

    thank you!


  7. “assuming you can speak for Maili”

    I wasn’t trying to speak for Maili, nor was I stating that I knew which “implications” she was referring to. I was simply concurring with her that

    “I’m not sure if I like the ‘because litblogs aren’t just for literature‘ tagline. It has implications I think it doesn’t mean to have.”

    Maybe she identified some implication(s) that I haven’t.


  8. Another vote that “because litblogs aren’t just for literature” conveys something that I wouldn’t want to say about romance.


  9. Crazy flames … like early geek shirts! Bought at stores that purported to be surf shops too. Hmmm. And had no idea what the tag line meant … but didn’t fuss because I guessed it wouldn’t stay and who cares anyway when you have THIRTY ONE days of Heyer!! Thank you :)


  10. Read, React, Review: The Literature of Love!

    Maybe you should have a contest for a tagline.

    Btw, I liked the flames and saw nothing suspicious in them. I also liked the book design you had at the old blog. I wouldn’t suggest combining the two, though. *g*


  11. I was subscribed to the thread, but wasn’t getting notifications. Has anyone else had this problem? It might be due to my email, rather than a problem with the blog.


  12. Laura pretty much stated why I had a problem with the old tag.

    I basically felt it had an implication this blog was willing to slum by checking out genre fiction outside the respectable boundaries of literature. As in, “Hey, we’re going to do a two-minute drive through a ghetto! Whoo! So courageous of us, eh!” A bit dramatic, but it pretty much had that implication. Sorry I didn’t explain my comments earlier.


  13. Oh good – I found you! (Not that easy actually – I forgot to save a note of your new URL so googled your new name and didn’t get a quick link to here. However, I got a Twitter result and found you via that). You should ask fellow bloggers to do a linky. I will do one and my 12 readers will be able to find you without difficulty *g*.

    I won’t comment on taglines since I don’t have one myself…


  14. @Tumperkin: You found me! yay! i am working on a new project “How to sabotage your blog and alienate your readers in 24 hours or less.

    but yes, please link, you may only have 12 readers but they are QUALITY. ;)”


  15. I liked the flames. But the brown looks vaguely like leather, which is good too.

    I think if you just capitalized Romance in your tagline, you could drop “fiction” and it would be all Rs. But shouldn’t you be all academic-y and say “(Re)thinking”?
    Hey, why not “Ro(man)ce”? I’m pretty sure you could work parentheses into ALL the words if you put your spring-break mind to it. (Am I dating myself with my ’90s French-theory PhD use of parentheses?) Kidding–I actually like that tagline a lot.

    I’m just envious because my 2-week “no one will come to class during the Olympics and we can rent our parking” break is over.


  16. @Liz: LOL. I love gratuitous parentheses, and I am a modernist to the core!

    But if I get rid of “fiction” I am afraid people will think this is a relationship advice site — not that some romance blogs don’t aspire to be that. But I don’t.


  17. Hey, I just saw my feast was in your stepback! Thank you for the shout out. :) And congrats on getting this newer site up and going.


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