Posted in: Been around the blogs
I’ve not quite managed to go through all my Google Reader feeds, but I’ve made some headway, and the following are some of the more noteworthy posts.
1. Sarah over at Monkey Bear Reviews has a great post up entitled Dorothy Koomson, Book Covers and Black Characters.
Here’s a snippet:
I’m convinced that the conclusions I draw about a book’s content when I see its cover are due years of conditioning through clever marketing. The arguments used for marketing books a certain way is that that is what sells, hence the preponderance of heaving bosoms and bloody knives in romances and thrillers respectively.
But surely the marketeers predictions of what will sell and what won’t become self-fulfilling prophecies? If a reader has only seen romance novels with cleavage, that’s the association they will make when shopping for books, even if they don’t actually like the covers. Similarly, if the only books published featuring black characters on the covers are ‘issues’ books, than that is what readers will expect the story to be about.
The only way to change readers’ assumptions is to change the way books are marketed. It might take a while, but eventually readers will come to have different expectations when they see certain things on book covers.
Sarah then goes on to show Dorothy Koomson’s excellent covers, which seem to be the exception that proves the rule when it comes to reader reactions to black people on book covers.
Go read the comments, they make for interesting reading too, and not to pick on Magdalen, but this particular comment did make me want to grind my teeth in frustration:
…And black characters on the cover of a book suggests, reasonably or not, that the book was written for an audience I don’t qualify for.
However, I applauded this comment by Keira Soleore:
…if we’re to move forward to a much more integrated multi-racial society as whole, dialogue and reading has to be a part of it. Only if you understand can there be no sense of The Other. The Other-ing is what leads to misunderstandings and racial discrimination. How can you warm up to someone you can’t fathom?
2. Anyway, moving on, Wendy is mad because Shannon Mckenna’s next book is coming out in hard cover. I don’t blame her, her last book was a DNF for me, so I certainly won’t be wasting my pennies on a HC version of Kev McCloud’s book.
By the way, a belated Happy Blogiversary to Wendy. Her blog is seven years old!
3. Jessica has a fantastic blog on Romance Readers’ tendency to fantasize about characters and cover models:
Here’s a snippet from Jessica’s post:
…But there are two kinds of fantasy engagement with romance, especially romance novel heroes, or real men who are supposed to represent them, that are fairly prevalent on line that I wanted to point out in this post.
1.Treating the characters as “real” in some sense outside the text….
2. Fantasizing about the cover models, about real men who might resemble the characters in the text, or about handsome men (especially actors) in general, as part of the romance reader discourse.
Jessica cites JR Ward’s BDB fangirls as a good example of the former. Apparently the fangirls are so extreme in their passions, that the message board mods have had to lay out a couple of ground rules, so that the Cellies don’t start World War Three over which of them the BDBs love the most:
…I noticed right away the tendency of the “Cellies” to treat the characters as real. They gushed over the heroes, fantasized about them, used erotic pictures of men supposed to represent the BDB for their signatures, and generally interacted with the novels in a way that felt very alien to me.
Here are a couple of the ground rules at the J.R. Ward message boards, which give a sense of the tendencies to which some Cellies are prone:
10. Brother/Angel Ownership– There is NO Brother or Angel ownership. It will not be tolerated. The board is here for everyone to enjoy spending time with each other, J.R. Ward, and the Brotherhood. Let’s remember the Brothers’ books are written for everyone’s enjoyment.
11. Role-playing– There is to be NO role-playing here on the boards. It’s a form of copyright infringement and will not be tolerated.
I’d strongly recommend popping over and reading the post in its entirety, ‘tis very good.
By the way, does anybody know if the Cellies were the original Rabid Fan Girls or RFGs as they are affectionately referred to? *g*
4. Over at Dear Author, Robin/Janet had an interesting post entitled Loving The Unlikeable Heroine.
She’s talking about those heroines who revel in their bitchiness. The anti-Mary-Sue if you like.
The best example of such a heroine is JD Robb’s Eve Dallas.
In a genre full of nice, nurturing, morally upright, and unflinchingly kind heroines, I find myself drawn more and more to the somewhat unlikeable heroine. Not the “bad girl,” per se, nor the hopelessly complicated and in need of rescue woman, but the female protagonist with an edge to her, the woman whose traits women in real life often find themselves trying not to be identified with or emulate.
You know the heroine I’m talking about: the women like Nora Roberts’s Eve Dallas, who is famously intolerant of other people and terrified that someday people will stop calling her a bitch, or like Jane Morgan from Victoria Dahl’s Lead Me On, a woman willing to use a kind, loyal man who doesn’t fit her stereotypical mate and then ruthlessly cast him to the side.
I have to confess, I’m quite fond of these types of heroines, (I know, what a shocker huh?) they often provide a comedic slant that so-called romantic comedies fail to achieve. It could be the ‘mean girl’ in me, but I certainly prefer the sarcastic, acerbic-tongued heroine, to her fluffy counterpart.
To read in full, pop over to DA.
5. And last, but not least, apparently LA Banks introduced Barack Obama at the Philadelphia Health Care Summit. Wow.
The guys who surrounded the President must have seen that look of deer in the headlights before, because one of the “Men in Black” said in a completely deadpan expression, “Ma’am, when you meet the POTUS, there are two things you cannot do.” Eager and breathless, I said, “What?” He smiled and said, “Don’t puke and don’t faint.” It took me a moment to realize that he was just trying to loosen me up, and then I laughed. That’s when six burly guys came forward—two in front of President Obama, two on his flank, two behind him, and a couple were behind me, I think.
I just stood there, mouth slightly agape, frozen, and the President walked forward with that big ole, dashing smile of his and said, “You must be Leslie.” The warmth he exuded was authentic. Then he said, “I want to thank you for doing this,” as he shook my hand. But I shook my head and told him, “No, Mr. President. Thank YOU for all you’re doing for US—for fighting for us and for being you.” Then he just hugged me and told me to “Knock ‘em dead” with my speech.
Via Dear Author.