The Weekly Links, Opinion, and Personal Updates Post
Links of Interest:
I don’t have too much this week. Either I was very picky, or the content wasn’t there.
If you are interested in soap operas at all, check out the fascinating four part series (part 1 here) at Henry Jenkins’ blog, in which he interviews the editors of a new book on soaps (h/t @jafurtado):
The Survival of Soap Opera: Transformations For a New Media Era, brings together key thinkers about this embattled genre from the worlds of industry, fandom, journalism, and academia to share their reflections on the current state of the American daytime serial and to offer their suggestions on what tactics and strategies might allow it to thrive in a new media era.
I don’t watch soaps, but in reading through the discussions, I saw a lot of overlaps between concerns of the romance community and the soap opera community. Unlike romance, though, soaps are in decline. What do you think of this possible two pronged explanation:
I truly believe two main elements work against soap operas and help their decline at the present moment: their cultural standing in the public opinion and the way they are sold to the audience. In the mainstream, the regard for the professionalism and skill of soap operas is quite low. In a culture that relishes being media-savvy and hip, choosing soap operas is not desirable, quite the contrary. This is an obstacle insofar as, to go against the current, you must truly love the genre. Otherwise, it is simply not worth it, because you do not get “rewarded” for it; you get “punished.” Fans are bullied into thinking they are not cool and, for the most part, they are afraid to come out as defenders of a genre they love. Hence the decline.
A Guardian article by a writer named Edward Docx, Are Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown a match for Literary Fiction? generated a lot of heat over the weekend. You can tell how DocX answers the question by how he asks it. It’s not new, well written, well argued, or even interesting, except for the fact that, inexplicably, it got published. Scathing responses in the comments, as well as by Ed Champion, and The Left Room.
Carolyn Crane’s guest blog over at The Book Smugglers for their month long Smugglivus celebration was hilarious.
Angela at Save Black Romance has popped up with a post on The State of African American Romance. Short and to the point summation of her current thinking on the topic, including this bit:
I stopped blogging because I was preaching to the choir. Plus, the fire lit beneath the so-called movement of authors and readers has largely died due to apathy. Who wants to fight for inclusion when the majority of those segregated don’t care to rock the boat? Also, my reading tastes have veered in the paranormal and mystery arenas, of which AA authors make up a very tiny percentage. But mostly, because I didn’t feel honest waving my pom-poms for a “genre” which honestly, has yet to give me what I need.
Jane at Dear Author changed gears on Sunday to do a non-tech post, All About the Excerpt. I don’t even read excerpts, but I was very interested in the post, and the many comments.
If you have been sitting around wishing more people would write manifestos, you are in luck. Check out this very uplifting, short, free read on What Does It Mean That Your Life Is Perfect? by cancer survivor and author Michale Ellsberg. I especially appreciated his focus on the importance of love.
On the Importance of Place in the HEA
I have been thinking about writing a blog post on those HEAs in which the hero and heroine end up back at the physical spot where they first met, or fell in love, or consummated their relationship, or which has some significance to the relationship. The major example I came up with the Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Match Me If You Can, when Heath finds a missing Annabelle at the lake house where they consummated their relationship.
Any other examples?
Grading, grading, grading.
But my friend Elizabeth and I are working on a joint presentation for campus in the spring on a comparison/contrast between public perceptions of what women read late in the late 18th (Minerva Press) and 21st centuries (romance). I am really looking forward to it!
In sad news, our tuxedo kitty Goalie (with double paws) followed my husband and I as we walked to a neighborhood party Saturday night and has not been seen since. He often follows us when we walk the dogs, or go anywhere in the ‘hood, waits, and then walks home with us. Weird, I know. But he’s never been away this long. Keep your fingers crossed!
Look for an insightful and moving Behind the Lines post tomorrow by Shannon Stacey. And those m/m reviews I owe you!