Genre Trouble! Monday Links Post

I was away for the long weekend (and we’re still on break today at my uni), and busy last week, and so I missed lots of interesting posts. Here are some links:

Rohan Maitzen of Open Letters Monthly read two romance novels (Chase and Heyer) and … didn’t like ’em. Then she read another one (Anyone But You, by Jennifer Crusie) and … sort of liked it. She talks about her foray into romance reading here. (I commented over there.)

Liz, inspired in part by Rohan’s experience of reading romance, wrote The Uses and Abuses of Purple.

There’s yet another article trying to figure out why romance readers have embraced e-books, this time at The Guardian. I know, I know, it’s insulting that romance readers’ embrace of e-books is such a confounding mystery. But this one is not quite as bad as most others, as it focuses on the covers, which I frankly do think are embarrassing and often misleading, regardless of the creative and other skills required to produce them.

Over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell is talking about her company, Simple Progress, which offers “online administration, consulting and custom marketing strategies for online media, specializing in the book publishing industry.” Very long, very heated thread, required reading for anyone interested in the way blogging and the publishing industry is changing. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie responds at great length to Sarah Wendell’s critics.

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of the Books that Changed My Life. Adam Gopnik has a 50 year reflection at The New Yorker. (Thanks to Liz for the pointer)

I noticed a new bookish Twitter handle, Book Riot (introductory post here), and followed it, and they linked to a blog I had never heard of, called Dead White Guys: An Irreverent Guide to Classic Literature. Book Riot is a “new literary blog providing comprehensive, short-form and reader-friendly news and information about reading” and Dead White Guys is… well, the name makes it pretty obvious.

Speaking of new literary ventures. USA Today launched a new romance blog, Happy Ever After. I noticed on Twitter a lot of support for the idea that a major national newspaper is devoting part of its online activities exclusively to romance.

Is this the future of the bricks and mortar bookstore? Indigo books of Canada is now branding books as a lifestyle instead of a product.

We had a great long weekend, with my older son’s U12 soccer team taking the tournament title. We stayed in Old Orchard Beach at the kind of beach motel some of you may recall from your youth, with ancient but clean rooms, happy kids running up and down the walkways at all hours, and a passenger train rattling your windows at 3:00am every morning. But spending time with friends and family, and being able to get to the beach in 5 seconds makes it all worthwhile. Here’s a sunrise picture (and given that I am absolute shit with the camera, just think how lovely it actually must have been!):

Some Blogs You Might Enjoy

I thought I’d give a shout out to a few blogs I enjoy reading. This is not an exhaustive list!

Limecello is a romance reader whose blog is a newer one (2011, I think), although she is a long time member of Romanceland, and has been blogging at various spots for almost ten years. Right now (through August 21, so hurry) she is running a comment drive for charity. Just make a comment, and contributors will give money to Save the Children, to benefit those suffering from the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa. Visit Limecello’s blog for reviews, author interviews, and giveaways.

Sunita is another long time member of Romanceland, who reviews at Dear Author. She’s an academic — a social scientist by trade — who mixes up blogging on issues of interest to romance and other readers with her takes on current events, like the U.K. Riots. Her specialties include debunking science reporting of recent “research”, especially as it bears on readers and reading, and historical accuracy — what it is and why it matters (or doesn’t).

LizMc, a Canadian English professor, is a frequent blog commenter and Tweeter, but she is new to blogging. Like Sunita, she often blogs a unique take on current Romanceland discussions, but she brings her own scholarly and other interests to posts including one on Uncomfortable Reading, and this one on Slow Reading.

Vassiliki and Infogenium are the team behind Shallow Reader. They don’t post much, but it’s like a little fun surprise every time they do. Most recently, we had Alphabet versus Genre, in which Vassiliki, a librarian, is “struggling to decide upon whether I like the genrification of libraries or if I would like fiction, to once again, be a roll call of authors on shelves.”

Heroes & Heartbreakers is hardly a “small” blog: sponsored by Macmillan, with paid administrators and writers, subscribing to H&H in your feed commits you to no fewer than 40 posts a week by dozens of bloggers and authors. I actually don’t subscribe, but I do regularly check in, because the H&H team gathered some of my favorite bloggers to write on a range of topics not usually covered by romance blogs, including not just other genres, like YA and SFF, but film and TV. I think H&H’s treatment of the romance genre as another form of popular culture is very fresh, and I especially enjoy their fun thematic posts, like Sometimes I Want to Slap Her: Anita Blake, Merit, Rachel Morgan, Kitty Norville, and Sookie Stackhouse , and If He’s Hot, He’s an Anti-Hero; If He’s Not, He’s a Villain. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have written a couple of posts for H&H since they launched 6 months ago. It was a great experience, and I would do more if I had the time.)

Lux Lucas is a very new (and infrequent) blogger who takes a literary approach to romance, in posts on Judith Ivory and Epilogues: the Cost of Sentiment. Like Liz and Sunita, this blogger likes to riff on others’ posts, extending the discussion in unusual ways.


From the About page:

Open Letters is dedicated to the proposition that no writing which reviews the arts should be boring, back-patting, soft-pedaling, or personally compromised. We’ve all had the experience of reading a review that sparkled—one that combined an informed, accessible examination of its quarry with gamesome, intelligent, and even funny commentary. These are the pieces we tell our friends about and then vigorously debate.

I really like Open Letters. It’s a monthly ‘zine, and also great for linkage and commentary. The writers succeed in avoiding the kind of pedantry that makes me run from most lit blogs, and they also review pretty widely across the spectrum. Recent posts like ‘What a Brain must Mine be!’: The Strange Historical Romances of William Harrison Ainsworth and On the Scent: Materialism, about perfumes, showcases the kind of quirky and diverse topics OLM covers.

What about you? Read any newer/smaller/off the beaten path blogs lately that deserve a mention?

Literature and Medicine

Reading Literature for Life

Prof's Progress

... on making sense, one word at a time

Bkwurm: /book*worm/ n. a person devoted to reading and study

Nyssa Harkness

Media and Cultural Studies with a focus on Genre Fiction, Gaming and Creative Society

Shelf Love

live mines and duds: the reading life

Love is the Best Medicine

Harlequin/Mills and Boon Medical Romance Authors

Blue Moon

Audiobook reviews and book reviews. Occasional opining.


reviews by a speculative fiction romantic

Centre for Medical Humanities

News, updates and insights from the Centre for Medical Humanities, Durham University

Miss Bates Reads Romance

Miss Bates is the loquacious spinster from Austen's Emma. No doubt she read romances ... here's what she would have thought of them.

Badass Romance

heroes, heroines, and books that demand to be taken seriously

bad necklace: not quite pearls of wisdom

mala, media, maladies, and malapropisms

Thinking in Fragments

but making connections too

Tales from the Reading Room

A Literary Salon Where All Are Welcome


thinking about teaching, learning, home and family

Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Fit and Feminist

Because it takes strong women to smash the patriarchy.

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

Feminist reflections on fitness, sport, and health

Heloise Merlin's Weblog

Virtual people read books, too!

Victoria Janssen

Just another site

Bblog Central

Your source for book blogging.

Insta-Love Book Reviews

Deflowering romance - one book at a time

A Striped Armchair

Bookish thoughts from a woman of endless curiousity

Sonomalass's Blog

Another day in paradise

RR@H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk

Featuring Author Interviews and Commentaries

Something More

my extensive reading

Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog

Enjoying crime fiction one book at a time

The Romantic Goldfish

"Cheapest mother fucking goldfish on the planet"


...spruiking storytelling

Joanna Chambers, author

Historical romance




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