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Remember this post? Of course you don’t. I barely remember it myself.

Anyway, the post was about a reader who was basically dissing romance, but I wasn’t actually dissing the blogger, for dissing romance. (Erm, did that even make any sense?) No, I was just highlighting some of her comments, the majority of which I actually agreed with.

Anyway, it took nearly two years, but the original author of the quoted piece, found my post yesterday, and decided to leave a long-assed comment.

She starts:

I’m the one who wrote that review. Would have been nice if you’d addressed any of the salient points in a rational manner.

She doesn’t appear to have even read my comments, or else she wouldn’t have started off on the defensive so soon.

She continues:

And, if you must know, I’ve had long discussions about writing and publishing and public perceptions of genres with numerous writers, many of them romance writers.

I know what the pitfalls are with the business. I know what the demands are. And I know what the view of romance is.

You see, she sounds reasonable doesn’t she?

Well, at least she did until she wrote the following:

Answer one question: How many romance writers have the reputation of Ian Rankin, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Peter Robinson or George Pelecanos, just a few of the mystery writers who are considered top-notch by any reader, no matter what the genre?

This one has elitist book snob written all over her.

As for being considered top-notch by any reader, the only Ian Rankin book I’ve read is Exit Music, and although I liked it, I could think of several romance writers whose prose I much prefer. This is just a personal thing you understand.

I’ve never read Michael Connelly, but I’m willing to bet none of his books would resonate with me the way a Dorothy Koomson book would. As for George Pelecanos, never read him, (I heard that The Wire is great though) so I couldn’t possibly pass comment, but I’m willing to bet, I wouldn’t find his books half as interesting as some of Linda Howard’s early stuff. *g*

Anyway, Aquaria continues:

How many romance writers have been nominated for book of the year awards, or even a Pulitzer like, oh, mystery’s James Lee Burke?

Although I concurred with many of her original comments, she’s delving into the realm of Deep-Seated Book Snobbery now, methinks.

Does she honestly believe that being nominated for a Pulitzer automatically means that that book was the best in its genre? If so, then I think she’s deluded. Oscars anybody?

So many books win these prizes because of marketing spin, and buzz created by the publishing house, and sometimes the media. You go and talk to Average Joe or Jane on the street, and you’ll find they have no idea who won Book of The Year in 2007, but they can tell you what Harry Potter was thinking in the third book, on Chapter eight, paragraph 6.

Winning these great literary awards don’t automatically equate to financial success. Remember my post about Mary Gaitskill? The National Book Award nominee who was broke, and living in a student dormitory with her hubby? There was a write-up about her plight in the New York Times, as I recall.

Aquaria continues:

If you’d read any of these authors you would understand why they aren’t just thriller writers, but serious artists as well. Or how about Ursula K. Le Guin, Arthur C. Clarke, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher or Neil Gaiman from Sci-fi? How many romance writers have been nominated for book of the year awards, or even a Pulitzer like, oh, mystery’s James Lee Burke?

So, Gaiman is an artist, but Nora Roberts isn’t, by virtue of the fact that she writes romance?

She says that she knows how romance novels are perceived by people outside the genre, yet she sarcastically asks how many have been nominated for book awards? Anybody who knows anything about the romance genre, wouldn’t even bother asking such a ridiculous question.

BTW, I have no idea who James Lee Burke is. Does that make me an ignorant slut? *g*

Romance doesn’t get a fraction of the respect that those two genres get. But, as postulated in my blog, writers and fans in those two genres also don’t get raving lunatic hysterical if you point out flaws in their genres. They have some semblance of critical analysis going on.

What? Is she truly saying that there aren’t lunatic fans within mystery and sci-fi?

Look, I left the genre and came back to it. It took only six months to realize that things had changed–but for the worse. I see no mention here of the increasing dumbing down of the heroines of these books. The writers are so inept that they think TELLING us their heroines are smart is the same as having a smart heroine. It’s not. It’s pretty dang sad when one of the dumbest heroines of the 70s is a frickin’ rocket scientist in comparison to the average romance heroine of today.

Hey, I’m the first one to complain about pussy-arsed heroines, who are as dumb as rocks, but they aren’t all like that. Methinks she’s generalising a bit too much here. If all the heroines were like that, I’d have given up reading romance books years ago.

It’s sad when most of the writers keep trying to re-write Pride and Prejudice, and can’t begin to have characters as smart, strong and fully-developed as Jane Austen did 200 years ago, when women were literally chattel. I don’t expect every writer to have her skill at the craft, but, jeez, can’t they give their characters some backbones and brains?

She has a point, but once again, this doesn’t apply to all romance writers. Plus, it’s all subjective anyway, one reader’s dumb bitch, is another’s nuclear physicist.

I found this next bit a bit presumptious:

By the way, why do so many romance writers leave the genre? Publishing is rife with them–Tami Hoag, Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter, Janet Evanovich, and so forth? Could it be because it limits them as writers (Janet Evanovich says as much, outright)? That they have to adhere to a ridiculous formula with very little wriggle room, book after book after book? Could it be that they hate having their books taken from truly beautiful and poetic stories of 200,000 words and shoehorned into bare-bones formulae of 80K? Do any of you even understand a fraction of how this business works?

Patronising much? I guess she’s talking about the old HEA huh? So many people seem to have a problem with that particular romance staple, don’t they?

Another thing: Do you think I haven’t been to AAR and all the other places? I have. I’ve seen the female pack mentality at work when discussing romance books. Criticize anything, and it’s hysteria all around. It doesn’t take too many instances of that before someone just leaves thinking that romance readers are a bunch of immature Heathers.

She makes a good point, after all, we’ve witnessed some of J.R. Ward’s RFGs haven’t we? But it’s not like readers throwing hissy fits is exclusively a romance genre thing, is it?

44 Comments »


  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    10:00 am

    Lurker checking in (it’s an ungodly hour, so if I’m incoherent, blame it on the fact that God never intended us to be awake at 0400 unless small children, fires, or your pal calling from Germany to tell you she won the German National Lottery and wants to share with you are involved) but I took major offense at this woman’s hubris. I’m not much of a romance reader as such – though the book on the perhaps the greatest real life romance of the 20th century, Gable and Lombard, as detailed in the novel Chasing Carole, and my friend who is a friend of La Nora’s (don’t worry, Nora, I’m not trying to wangle an introduction, despite her assurance I would adore you, I respect privacy too much) who wrote wonderful romances some years ago have given me great respect for how hard it is to write any book, but especially one that has certain formulaic requirements. So the average romance author isn’t Larry McMurtry, so what? Sometimes Larry McMurtry isn’t Larry McMurtry, either, some of his later stuff has, well, sucked in comparison to his masterworks. James Lee Burke? Wanna talk about formula? The same elements, repeated over and over – the three legged raccoon, the adopted daughter he rescued from a plane crash in the bayou, and oh yes, let’s not forget his status as recovering alcoholic. If this woman wants to insult romance writers as a whole, let’s see her write one, but perhaps she entertains delusions that she’s the second coming of Virginia Woolf (if she is, I have dibs on being Vanessa Bell). Since I’ve read so little romance as a whole, I really shouldn’t be commenting, but I know how hard my friend worked (and was deservedly successful) and so I’m pissed on her behalf, on behalf of all writers who work hard to create stories that please their readers and hope to have a quarter of the success of Nora Roberts. Rant over, stairs to climb for more coffee, and rampaging Labrador Retrievers going out for their swim in the Chesapeake to avoid (husbands have to be good for something!)but before I move, I wanted to make my half-assed point – Woman, write your own romance and then complain about the genre, the writers; hell, write your own book on any subject, and then you can claim the mantle of Virginia Woolf (on second thought, can I be the second coming of Claire Kincaid?) In the meantime, respect what these people do – and they actually do it, their books are out there and read – and unless it’s four o’clock in the morning (rants are allowed at four a.m., you know, Samuel Johnson said so) keep your rants in your pants. Taking my own advice, and thanks for the stage (love the scenery, Karen, it’s great for hiding within the Greek chorus), your parentheses-lovin’ lurker, known as TPA to her friends.

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  • Kat
    July 3
    10:15 am

    writers and fans in those two genres also don’t get raving lunatic hysterical if you point out flaws in their genres

    This is interesting to me, because from my experience, when a book in a different genre is criticised, it’s criticised as an individual book rather than as part of a criticism of the genre as a whole. For example, you wouldn’t normally read a review of a speculative novel, which talks about how silly it is to write books with aliens or time travel, or a review of crime fiction, which talks about how in real life, you’d never solve this or that crime. But in romance, we get criticisms about the HEA or the word count or how dumb all heroines are. (I mean really–word count? Write a series if you can’t fit your story arc into one book! Why don’t they acknowledge the skill it takes to write a really good book in 80K words?) It’s like every romance book–from the best to the worst–has to represent the entire genre. Is it so hard to understand that, in a genre that publishes so many books a year, you’ll have some fab ones and some truly terrible ones…and that readers won’t agree which is which?

    And it’s well and good to talk about authors who have moved from romance to general fiction, but they built their readership from the vast pool or romance readers, and I would think that’s something to be happy about.

    I don’t know if that blogger has read the best that romance has to offer. If not, then it’s a poor argument to compare the “entire” genre to the stellar authors in other genres. Not every science fiction author writes like Le Guin. (Eddings comes to mind. I don’t find his writing all that compelling, but I can certainly understand that for lovers of his particular genre, the worldbuilding and plot might well overcome the lacklustre prose. Or maybe they do think he writes “beautiful and poetic stories”, who knows? Do I care? No. I just don’t read it, and I don’t blog about how his readers are idiots, mainly because I don’t actually think they are.)

    The fact that romance is such a lucrative genre to be in is part of its weakness. The demand for books means that maybe they’re being published at a rate that might affect the quality of some books (notice qualifiers, maybe and might!). I know that some authors I love have published books which I was disappointed in because I thought the writing could have been more polished. And the large readership means that many books will find an audience (and RFGs) even if the majority might find them somehow inferior to mainstream fiction for whatever reason.

    In short, I can see what she’s criticising, but I think she’s over-generalising, making selective comparisons, and I also think she’s underestimating romance readers.

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  • Nora Roberts
    July 3
    10:20 am

    I love Connelly, Pratchett, Pelecanos, and many of the other writers mentioned. I don’t get the idea that because they’re good, strong writers those of us who write Romance aren’t.

    BTW, I’ve never tried to re-write P&P, and never been told to cut my ms down for word count. Just what pitfalls is she speaking of–and does she speak as a reader or as a writer? I also feel I have plenty of ‘wiggle room’ on the framework of the genre to tell a good story.

    ~Do any of you even understand a fraction of how this business works?~

    I’ve got a pretty good handle on it, thanks.

    Aside: Hello to friend of friend, TPA.

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  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    10:38 am

    Hello back, Nora. Friend of friend will be amused, glad I’m too far away to get whacked upside the head for mentioning her, but then, I’m younger than she is and can run faster, too. At least I haven’t publicly mentioned her name. TPA

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  • CM
    July 3
    11:34 am

    I just want to know, if she’s so smart and us readers and writers of romance are so dumb, how come it’s me that knows that women were not “literally” chattel in the time of Pride and Prejudice?

    They were vassals.

    There is a vast difference between the two.

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  • Lori
    July 3
    11:46 am

    I’m sitting here dumb-founded because I didn’t know about Mary Gaitskill’s situation. She’s a brilliant writer, and many years ago her novel, Two Girls Fat and Thin absolutely rocked my world.

    But snobbery? Who needs it? I can acknowledge how brilliant the writing of a Gaitskill or Jonathan Frantzen is but it’s still Jennifer Cruisie I buy in hardcover. And I have sent more copies of Welcome to Temptation to friends than anyone else high on any literary lists.

    I applaud great writing in any genre, but I vote with my pocketbook. And while I would agree that nobody is going to confuse Lori Foster with literary genius (I have officially given up on her actually), I would hope that everyone could acknowledge that when SEP or Cruisie (or submit any of the hundreds out there) are at the top of their game: they’re worthy of awards. And we vote. We just do it with cash.

    And most of us are smart enough to know good writing.

    (By the way Karen, just started reading My Best Friend’s Girl and was sobbing on page 3. Next time you recommend a book so strongly, let us know if we can read it in public. I’m tucking this away for *on the couch reading* only.)

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  • “Would have been nice if you’d addressed any of the salient points in a rational manner.”

    Now that’s just nasty.

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  • With women ‘friends’ like this we don’t need enemies…

    I want to get all upset about this, but it’s either too early or I’ve used up my indignation for the month.

    If she really is so up on what’s going on in publishing and particularly the romance genre, I guess she must be jealous because after all, the readers who like to read about all those TSTL heroines spend close to a billion and half dollars on their tastes a year. SF and mystery readers combined can’t touch that and spend barely half that!

    I’ll give her the authors who have left romance for greener pastures. Good riddance as far as I’m concerned.

    ETA: Of all those important male mystery authors she mentioned I’d only heard of one and have read none. Pulitzer or no Pulitzer.

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  • Emmy
    July 3
    1:36 pm

    Wow. I’ve only heard of a few supposedly world famous, highly decorated, feted, awarded authors she mentioned. *sigh* Iz another graduate of No Child Left Behind. We do luvs us some Harry Dresden though. Isn’t Butcher’s wife a romance writer? Bourgeoisie cavorting amongst the peons again.

    I wanted to make my half-assed point – Woman, write your own romance and then complain about the genre, the writers

    Note to self: you are a reader, not a writer, and are therefore not qualified to complain about any genre or author thereof. Will mention that to other reviewers as well, since they don’t appear to know the rules either.

    I’ve seen the female pack mentality at work when discussing romance books. Criticize anything, and it’s hysteria all around.

    I can’t really disagree with that, since I see it on an almost daily basis at various blogs and review sites. OMG, my favoritest author evar RAWKS!! how dare you not worship at the altar of their oh-so-(un)talented yet infinite wisdom??!!

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the phenomenon is unique to the romance crowd, particularly after having listened with incredulity to an argument between Obamaniacs and those bat-shit crazy McCainiacs re: who’s the better presidential candidate. (Barack the vote!!)

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  • *giggle* at Nora having a handle on the business.

    I had a long, calmly written, reply set to post but to be honest, I’m sick of defending my reading habits to ignorant fucktards so I deleted it and poured a glass of wine instead.

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  • Nora Roberts
    July 3
    1:58 pm

    Emmy, my take is when the person is asking if any of (us) have a handle on the business, and makes statements like she knows the pitfalls and so on, she’s not speaking as a reader. She’s speaking as someone inside the industry–which I’m not sure she is.

    So yeah, if she’s going to make statements like that, and is NOT a writer or an editor, I can get the reaction of write your own book then complain. Complain all you want, but don’t claim you know more than other readers and/or writers about how it all works.

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  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    2:06 pm

    Note to self: you are a reader, not a writer, and are therefore not qualified to complain about any genre or author thereof. Will mention that to other reviewers as well, since they don’t appear to know the rules either

    Oh, you can complain, Emmy, it’s America’s favorite pastime, just understand the technical challenges and skills required to create worlds that invite the suspension of disbelief, that draw a reader in and keep them reading. I don’t write romance, but I recognize and respect the skill that goes into it, just as I need a separate set of skills to write my stuff. I don’t think romance writers should be disparaged because of the genre they choose to work with/in, made to feel they should be embarrassed because they don’t write “great literature” – but they do bring hours of reading pleasure to thousands of fans, and that’s no small thing. As for myself, I’d roll over and die of embarrassment if the writing I do for fun was discovered (where I have my own set of fans, anyone know of a nice secluded cave available for immediate occupancy?) whereas I’m proud of the work I do under my real name (and no, I’m not revealing it here, though I will to the terminally curious via email). Why the discrepancy? The stuff I write for fun is just that, fun little fantasies about TV characters, requiring an excellent ear and other skills, whereas my “real” work requires a certain thoughfulness, the same good ear for dialogue, and the ability to carry a story beyond fifteen-twenty thousand words. My “fun stuff” would get ripped to shreds by readers like yourself, who have some image of what a writer should be, should write, and that’s OK, go find it and rip it there, but my “real” stuff, while it deserves critical, thoughtful reviews, has taught me how hard it is to write a sustained, integrated story (I almost wrote hallucination, that’s how involved one can get in the writing process) and therefore my defense of writers who choose to work in romance. Whether or not you like the formula, the HEA, etc, a reader should respect the writer, whether they’re on Mount Olympus like Nora Roberts, or somewhere near the bottom of the scale, like myself. My other half-assed point is simple: if you like/prefer serious fiction, read it, but don’t unload on equally talented writers who choose to write romance for their own reasons. (God, what did my husband put in my coffee this morning????) Anyway, I’m not disparaging readers, I’m a voracious one, but I don’t read what I don’t like and then go pee on the writers of that genre. Seems fair enough to me. TPA

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  • Lori
    July 3
    2:30 pm

    The only thing that gets my crankshaft revving is: when did romance become ‘not serious fiction’? I know that wasn’t meant to be disparaging but I’ve read some romance novels that could rival any serious fiction for plot, characters or just plain talent.

    Does a happy ending mean the book isn’t serious? Or worth taking seriously?

    And maybe I’m wrong but I’m willing to bet that all those writers, whether writing stories with HEA’s or writing literary fiction or even writing Rincewind the Magician, are doing it from a love of words and a love of creating.

    Heavens, I got my dander up before my first cup of coffee! Time for breakfast.

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  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    2:35 pm

    The only thing that gets my crankshaft revving is: when did romance become ‘not serious fiction’? I know that wasn’t meant to be disparaging but I’ve read some romance novels that could rival any serious fiction for plot, characters or just plain talent.

    Lori, if you were referring to my remark, you’re right, I most certainly did not mean to disparage romance writers, I believe they are a very talented bunch and deserving of respect. I apologize for how that must have sounded. TPA

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  • December Quinn/Stacia Kane
    July 3
    2:41 pm

    I am so damned sick and tired of women being belittled for wanting to find love, and being told that love and the idea of happily-ever-after is just a stupid fantasy. It makes me sick. It’s another way to encourage young women to dream small, think less of themselves, give up their self-respect and star in Girls Gone Wild videos because hey, why should we expect someone to really care about us as something other than empty vessels?

    Am I the only one who thinks half the reasoning behind the constant attacks on romance novels is that men don’t want to be responsible romance heroes (and there’s a large group of women out there who don’t want other women to find those heroes, either)? They want to sleep with everything that moves and never have to face any consequences, and the way to do that is to constantly tell young women that their dreams of a loving, committed relationship are stupid and foolish (as is fiction devoted to that subject), so they should just bend over and don’t expect a phone call the next day because only lame-os think sharing their bodies with another human being should mean something. Only lame-os want to be loved, only lame-os want to share their lives, hopes, and dreams with someone else.

    Sorry for the rant but the “Shut up about love or you’re a dumbass” contingent pisses me the heck off, and I honestly believe this is where a lot of the attack on romance as a genre comes from.

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  • Will read comments carefully in a second, but at first pass… no one mentioned that Nora Roberts did win the Quill Award last year *waving to Nora*

    Now reading slowly so I can actually get the nuances.

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  • Kimberly Anne
    July 3
    3:44 pm

    ~ Does a happy ending mean the book isn’t serious? Or worth taking seriously? ~

    Sadly, yes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that old trope trotted out (can one trot a trope? sounds kinky), sometimes in those very words. It has a happy ending, so it obviously bears no semblance to real life. And serious fiction is all about real life, don’t you know.

    For reasons that still delude me, tragedy is art, and love stories are dreck for the unwashed masses.

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  • Done reading.

    December: I love you. Will quote you. Thank you.

    On the “write your own book before saying anything”… I have a feeling that TPA was a bit undercaffeinated (which would explain the long ass paragraphs too, I’m sure 😀 ) and that she didn’t mean that readers can’t analyse the books they read.

    I agree with her that equating a few books with a genre as varied as romance is not just not fair, it’s not very bright. And equating a few poorly written (subjective) books with the intelligence of their readership makes no sense whatsoever.

    Hope I’m making sense myself 😀

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  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    4:06 pm

    Hey, I LOVE long-ass paragraphs! 🙂

    But I can write short ones.

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  • Throwmearope
    July 3
    4:25 pm

    I read mysteries and SFF as well as romance and guess what? A lot of authors in those genres are exploring relationships. Oh, and not just the female authors.

    Diss romance publicly, then add a romantic touch to your cozy mystery or have your alien slime monster fall in love. The only difference I see is that other genres delay the HEA for a couple of books. (Harry Potter, anybody?)

    But as always, we romance readers are just an easy target.

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  • Rosemary
    July 3
    4:28 pm

    Just to point out, ANY published book can be nominated for a Pulitzer. All you have to do is fill out a form.

    http://www.pulitzer.org

    Winning a Pulitzer is a different matter all together.

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  • Jesbelle
    July 3
    4:39 pm

    I’m confused. Why is she listing other genre fiction author’s to illustrate her literary hard-on? Why are thrillers or science fiction “serious art” but romance is inconsequential fluff? (Love Gaiman and Prachett, but think Roberts and Dodd are equally wonderful writers and just as recognizable to the general public.)

    I guess given her track record, I’ll get an answer sometime in 2010. You know, when Romance accounts for something like 40% of the market share – if current trends continue.

    Not that I know anything about the publishing industry, of course. I’m just some sad secretary waiting for a verbally abusive billionare to sweep me off my feet because that is what all us romance readers want.

    Hmm… sorry, I’ve got a summer cold, and it’s bringing out the snarkiness in me. Totally ruining my long weekend.

    edit to add: PS Karen – I thought you were very fair in your responses to both the 2006 post and this new one. The blogger took an attitude from the start (in the 2008 post) and you didn’t sink to her level. Although I’m willing to do so, clearly… 🙂

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  • My thoughts–

    My problem with a lot of the thrillers and such is that I seriously see enough violence–straight violence–in the news, so when I grab a book, I’m reading for escape from the every day issues and, to me, that means grabbing a romance. Is it fantasy? Yes. Is it escapism? Yes. Does that mean it’s drivel and isn’t as good as a thriller? Hell no! If it can distract me from all the crap that is going on in the world right now, it is a superbly written book and the author rocks my socks off. Does that mean that a thriller isn’t just as good? No, it’s just not right for ME. And I seriously am sick and tired of people calling romance smut or garbage or bodice rippers just because THEY don’t like it. Funny… I don’t see romance readers bagging on readers of thrillers or sci-fi, do you? Hmm. Just goes to show who has more class.

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  • Jenns
    July 3
    5:03 pm

    Oh, good God. Some people just can’t let go of their alloted 15 minutes. Can’t you just see her posting with one hand while Googling author names with the other?
    Her attempt at coming off as smart and savvy came off as sad and ignorant. Not to mention, bitter. Very bitter.

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  • Plus, shouldn’t it just be pointed out that Evanovich is still technically romantic since the whole series is about which guy she’ll choose. And since she never will choose but keeps asking the question, you pretty much know going in that Stephanie is going to blow up a car or at least maim it, eat several dozen donuts, get in way over her head, run to Joe for something, cower to Ranger, do something stupid and accidentally solve the problem. Add in some Grandma with a gun and some Lula in spandex and maybe a run in with the lifelong rival for “variety” and boom, best-selling “mystery”. I love her books, but I ain’t blind.

    I guess the point is as mentioned—this woman is typing out her ass. Again.

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  • *peeks in* I don’t give a rat’s ass about those that think their IQ is higher than mine just because of their reading preferences. As someone else said, I vote with my wallet. *shrugs*

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  • Sure, there might be a “pack mentality” in some of the places she reportedly visited with her spectator’s glasses on. Then there’s snob mentality. This woman is showing the latter. In the scheme of things, awards and elitism don’t make a book great. Characters don’t have to be rocket scientists to be memorable or worthy. If they did then no one would probably even know who the hell Holden Caulfield, Lennie Small or even Aunt Pittypat Hamilton ever were. I don’t believe the creators of these characters aimed for their books to win awards; but wanted to make these characters human. Intellectual snobs can rant against pop fiction all they want, but IMHO, any author who writes salivating over the golden ring of a lit award in front of their greedy eyes isn’t an author; he or she is the true sell-out.

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  • Anyway, I’m not disparaging readers, I’m a voracious one, but I don’t read what I don’t like and then go pee on the writers of that genre. Seems fair enough to me. TPA

    Funny… I don’t see romance readers bagging on readers of thrillers or sci-fi, do you? Hmm. Just goes to show who has more class.

    Maybe we should. Just for fun. We could make a day of it.

    And since when is Mystery or SFF not formulaic? Yeah the best authors in these genres can often transcend the formula, but they still have constraints. Who wants to read a mystery where you never find out whodunit? Where the bad guy totally gets away with it? The genre constraints on mysteries are at least as unyielding as romance’s HEA.

    And I think (could be mistaken) that Guy Gavriel Kay, a fantasy author who is considered verging on literary, said “All the best stories are love stories.” ‘Nuff said.

    December: I love you. Will quote you. Thank you.

    There you go again, Azteclady, making it all about love. Who’s ever gonna take us seriously if we keep throwing around the L-word. *snrk*

    (And I love you too, December. But you know that already…)

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  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    8:18 pm

    Anyway, I’m not disparaging readers, I’m a voracious one, but I don’t read what I don’t like and then go pee on the writers of that genre. Seems fair enough to me. TPA

    Funny… I don’t see romance readers bagging on readers of thrillers or sci-fi, do you? Hmm. Just goes to show who has more class.

    Maybe we should. Just for fun. We could make a day of it

    Well, I’ll bring the champagne and Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse” (gotta act like literary hooligans) if someone will bring the squishy tomatoes and other offensive projectiles to hurl at those who want to point fingers at us and go “See? What do you expect from Romantics? I mean, look, just look, at that Nora Roberts, getting her toenails painted by that stud, why he’s young enough to be her -” Splat! (I was one hell of a tennis player in my youth, I’m sure I could send a tomato on target, especially with today’s raquets, and besides, isn’t tennis a “mark” of “class.” Could be the picnic to end all picnics, an outing to remember, film at eleven and all that, and then we’d end up as a Law & Order “ripped from the headlines” episode. They can title it “Afternoon Delight.” (OK, now what did my husband put in my Diet Coke????) Tongue very firmly in cheek, TPA, who got her nickname for a reason

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  • I looked up many of the authors she listed, so I could mark them in my TBR at GoodReads, because I’m a book snob wannabe. I could never be a true book snob though, because many of the classics we were forced to read in college made me want to jab my eyes out with a red-hot fork (but I did manage A’s in Brit Lit 1 & 2 nyaa nyaa!)

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  • and then we’d end up as a Law & Order “ripped from the headlines” episode. They can title it “Afternoon Delight.”

    Now I have a new goal in life. Haha!

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  • The Profane Angel
    July 3
    8:32 pm

    Now I have a new goal in life. Haha!

    Dibs on Sam Waterston!

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  • I’m much more interested in getting indignant about the AOL 10 books you should read before you die list than this numbskull’s need to lock out genres from her Real Book list.

    Romance Isn’t Real Rioting = BTDT X 1000 = yawn. (Though I have to admire Nora Roberts willingness to wade in again when she’s dealt with it X 100,000,000)

    But hey, back to that aol list. Dan Brown in on there TWICE. And Ayn Rand? Urgh. The only one I agree with is To Kill A Mockingbird.

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  • Sadly, yes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that old trope trotted out (can one trot a trope? sounds kinky), sometimes in those very words. It has a happy ending, so it obviously bears no semblance to real life. And serious fiction is all about real life, don’t you know.

    That does sound kinky. *wink* But that’s just fine. Seriously…I found my HEA (okay so he’s more comfortable with me calling it a HFN, but the point’s the same. Neither one of us is going anywhere. There’s the just the obligatory jokes about he either getting drunk enough to propose or me getting drunk enough to accept. LOL!). And yeah, I had my bump along the way with marriage-oh hell no-divorce! But the truth is, those who say that romance isn’t realistic really need to not narrow down their worldview. Because it can be realistic, and a HEA can happen. Sometimes it just takes a few tries. 🙂 And maybe, reading enough romance novels so that you BELIEVE it can happen. 🙂

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  • I just love how sex as an expression of love and commitment is somehow inferior, formula dreck, but sex as barftastic misogyny (a la Norman Mailer’s famous “coil of excrement” fellatio scene) is somehow “literary” and elevated above the plebian crud of genre.

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  • Snort. I HAD to go look that up, just to find out what the hell you were talking about, lol.

    God, that scene makes me want to brush my teeth. Like NOW.

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  • *just peeking in before tottering off to bed*

    Shall I really take somebody seriously who thinks the Discworld novels are “Sci-fi”? Nah.

    (but I did manage A’s in Brit Lit 1 & 2 nyaa nyaa!)

    Shreela, you’ve obviously never been to one of the Brit Lit courses given by the Horror Schwab… ;-P

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  • kate r
    July 3
    11:20 pm

    Who said Discworld is stealth literature? I like that description best.

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  • Snort. I HAD to go look that up, just to find out what the hell you were talking about, lol.

    God, that scene makes me want to brush my teeth. Like NOW.

    Sorry, prolly should have posted a warning or something…

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  • Could it be because [romance] limits them as writers (Janet Evanovich says as much, outright)? That they have to adhere to a ridiculous formula with very little wriggle room, book after book after book?

    Oh, my. Has this woman read the Stephanie Plum series?

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  • December Quinn/Stacia Kane
    July 4
    12:29 pm

    Thank you, kis, and thank you, Azteclady–I’m honored.

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  • How many romance writers have the reputation of Ian Rankin, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Peter Robinson or George Pelecanos, just a few of the mystery writers who are considered top-notch by any reader, no matter what the genre?

    Eh… only two of those names are even vaguely familiar to me and I most definitely read outside of romance. Can’t say even the familiar names are ones that wrote books that appeal to me.

    Karen, I so love how manage to make friends like this. 😉 It warms the heart, truly.

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  • Aquaria
    April 6
    8:35 pm

    There I am, searching for some data about one of my favorite authors, I see a link about me, I click, and see this travesty of a response to my arguments.

    Wow–well, you sure showed me–with obfuscation, erecting strawmen to attack instead of addressing my actual arguments, putting words in my mouth that I never sad, willful distortion of my remarks, making unwarranted assumptions, and impugning my motives.

    I started to write a point-by-point rebuttal, but why bother? If this post is any indication of what you consider an argument, then I feel that you are not interested in honest debate.

    Thank you for confirming everything I said in each post, though. Made my day!

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  • Jesus Aquaria, you sure love arriving to the party late. This post is nearly two years old hun.

    I think you’re a tad over-sensitive by the way.

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