Links on Romance

Thank you to Tersia for the link to the following article, which I otherwise would never have seen: South African men are fans of the romance.

No, really.

According to the article by Susan Comrie:

The biggest growth in the romance market is from the developing world. In India, 20 percent of romance readers are men and, although exact statistics don’t exist for South Africa, CNA estimates that South African men make up a similar slice of their English and Afrikaans romance novel buyers.

So who is to blame for romance infiltrating the traditionally testosterone-dominated male psyche?

The global economic crisis, for one. Unlike other businesses, the romance novel business flourishes during recessions.

I am sort of fascinated by the high romance readership numbers among men in South Africa and India. But the best part is the last quote of the article from author Paul White, as Tersia pointed out:

“If there’s no romance, no fantasy, no imagination, we’re nothing but a bunch of chemical processes trying to stay alive for as long as possible and that’s no fun at all.

“The day the romance dies is the day I find a new planet.”

And periodically we remind you of the utter cuteness that is the Smithsonian Zoo FerretCam. This is one of those times.

[Thanks to Diane Whiteside for the reminder.]

And if that didn’t rock your sox, Sherry Thomas offers the following:

Too awesome to fail. As Sherry says, “a real life example of mantitty with all-the-way unbuttoned shirt that is still tucked in.  The WTF is just extra.” True that.

I love how in this article, romance novels are “dirty literary secrets.” John Sutherland admis to loving Jilly Cooper, while most of us, according to the article, fib about our reading choices. According to a “World Book Day survey, 1984, War and Peace and Ulysses are the favoured white lies.” Cue the nearest desk – then slam your head against it. Repeat!

 

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  1. 1
    Flo says:

    If I saw that truck in a tree I’d have to pose like a man-whore too.

    The article at the end sort of slams all “fluff” books.  Yet still says “LOVE THY FLUFF!  Cause it gets you through the rough flights and long car trips!”

    Either way, you love what you love and try not to get it all over other people… cause it stains.

  2. 2
    Gwynnyd says:

    In the comments at the end of the fluff article, so many think Georgette Heyer is trash?  WTF? 

    What bizarre place do they inhabit to consider Heyer books trash? Those readers certainly seem to have – let me be polite – limited exposure to the written word in all its glory.

    Mere length does not intimidate me but I never tried “War and Peace” after throwing “Crime and Punishment” against the wall half way through.  I decided Russian novelists were not for me.  I did read “Les Miserables” and enjoyed it, and many others that would raise no eyebrows in the halls of academe.  Still, give me Heyer over Dostoevsky any day.

  3. 3
    Lori says:

    But that is changing – in the US around a quarter of romance readers are now men, up from just seven percent in 2002.

    This is the statistic that I tired to quote in a thread a couple weeks back. I’m really relieved to know that I didn’t make it up.  The economy may have something to do with the increase in male readers, but I believe that the original article attributed it more to the growth of the hyphenates, like romantic suspense and futuristic romance.  The broader the genre becomes the broader its audience becomes.

    I think the fluff article is just another face of the embarrassment issue from the other thread.  People have been trained to feel judged for what they read.  There’s some truth in that, so people lie to make themselves sound smarter to more serious.

  4. 4
    rebyj says:

    Are men reading romances more because of e-readers?

    The dude in the pic? I was a kid in the 70s but I remember lots of Kentucky fellas who thought they were hot stuff just like that guy, minus the truck in the tree of course.

  5. 5
    Becky says:

    Someone needs to tell Mr. Hotstuff that flexing is sexy.  Sucking the gut in, not so much.

  6. 6
    Jessica G. says:

    I won’t lie, I haven’t read those three books. 1984 is on my Reader though, I’ll get to it soon.

    I’m more likely to lie to my friends that I haven’t read Gone With the Wind, because they would flay me alive if they found out.

  7. 7
    Lori says:

    Someone needs to tell Mr. Hotstuff that flexing is sexy.  Sucking the gut in, not so much.

    I think his first priority needs to be correcting the fact that he has a tree with a truck in it growing out of his head :)  You have to love a poorly composed photo.

  8. 8
    Bhetti says:

    What puzzles me is why there aren’t fess ups about what magazines and newspapers a person reads? They’re probably a much more reliable indicator of “trash” than romance novels!

    I’m all for the power of free reading, and its zero correlation with the person reading. In theory. I can’t help but look askance at people reading certain papers. I’m sure I’ll get over it if there’s a site called ‘Smart Bitches, Trashy Tabloids’ or some such.

  9. 9
    Minze says:

    Anyone else getting this itch to make clinch covers for War and Peace? Prince Andrej on his deathbed, a remorseful Natasha mopping his brow, with Pierre somewhere in the distance looking on! The woman he loves is in love with his best friend – is she lost to him forever?

    Or Pushkin’s The Captain’s Daughter. When he realizes that Masha is in the clutches of his worst enemy, Pyotr is faced with a terrible choice – to give her up forever, or to ask a renowned rebel for help – and risk being shot as a traitor…

    And one for Pride and Prejudice.

  10. 10
    Jessa Slade says:

    I read Dostoevsky.  In Russian.  Ouch.

    As cute as the ferret cam was, the naked mole rat cam was better. At three in the morning, there’s one splayed out like a drunken frat boy, buck teeth prominently displayed, twitching with naked mole rat dreams. Now that’s cute.

  11. 11
    SusannaG says:

    It was naptime for the ferrets when I tuned in – so cute!  The naked mole-rat seemed to be in a fugue state (he’s a freaky-looking dude, isn’t he?)

    The tamarin seemed to be playing “How Not To Be Seen” with some success – all I caught glimpse of was its ear, off to one side.  It was playing peek-a-boo with the camera.

    But the ferret – so cute!

  12. 12
    Robinjn says:

    I hate to admit it, but the truck-in-tree looks awfully familiar. I’m not sure that’s not in Missouri somewhere and I haven’t driven by it. Minus the spray-on-tan suck-gut mantitty guy. I might have had to hit him with my car.

    Missouri, home of the peeing-boy wood silhouette lawn ornament, complete with an arc of twine for the fountain of hilarious urinality. Why would we not also have trucks in trees?

  13. 13
    Lori says:

    Missouri, home of the peeing-boy wood silhouette lawn ornament, complete with an arc of twine for the fountain of hilarious urinality. Why would we not also have trucks in trees?

    Seriously?  I’m impressed.  My home state of Michigan just has people who put clothes on their decorative cement lawn geese, like some sort of odd avian version of Barbie.  Missourians are clearly the more creative group.

  14. 14
    ev says:

    My home state of Michigan just has people who put clothes on their decorative cement lawn geese, like some sort of odd avian version of Barbie.  Missourians are clearly the more creative group.

    We have one of those in our office. The woman whom (mom and baby) belonged to gave them to us. Along with the clothes. In baggies. Labeled by months.

    They are freaky.

  15. 15
    ev says:

    If you ever do decide to read War and Peace, try doing it Book 2, Book3 and then Book 1. It made a hell of a lot more sense 30 years ago when I read it that way.

    Love 1984.

  16. 16
    Robinjn says:

    Seriously?  I’m impressed.  My home state of Michigan just has people who put clothes on their decorative cement lawn geese, like some sort of odd avian version of Barbie.  Missourians are clearly the more creative group.

    Missouri has an entire lawn ornament industry. I kid you not, they *make* them here.

    In addition to peeing-boy-with-twine, there is also:

    Cowboy-silhouette-leaning-against-fence.

    Giant mutant butterflies in virulent pink and blue

    Giant penile concrete mushrooms painted orange with black polka dots.

    Fake cats climbing houses

    Ma and Pa Portly Farmer silhouette butts-in-air as they bend over their fake garden, complete with overalls, gingham, and lacy underwear

    The ever popular concrete deer, and last but far from least

    The Madonna In A Bathtub (I mean honestly, who would put a madonna in a bathtub? But they are *everywhere* here.)

  17. 17
    ev says:

    The Madonna In A Bathtub (I mean honestly, who would put a madonna in a bathtub? But they are *everywhere* here.)

    I have seen all of those in NY except the Madonna. Thank god.

    I’ll stick with my Flamingo collection thanks.

  18. 18
    Lori says:

    The Madonna In A Bathtub

    Do you mean Jesus’ mom or the singer?  I’m not sure which is weirder.  Is the Madonna naked or clothed in the bathtub?  Again, not sure which is weirder.  The idea of people having a naked version of Jesus’ mother in their yards just seems wrong, but if she’s wearing clothes then what’s the point of the bathtub? 

    I think about this sort of thing way too much.

  19. 19
    Robinjn says:

    Do you mean Jesus’ mom or the singer?  I’m not sure which is weirder.  Is the Madonna naked or clothed in the bathtub?  Again, not sure which is weirder.  The idea of people having a naked version of Jesus’ mother in their yards just seems wrong, but if she’s wearing clothes then what’s the point of the bathtub?

    I mean Jesus’ mom, complete with sky blue robe, usually with one hand gracefully lifted. I think it’s some sort of Catholic thing but I Do.Not.Get.It.

  20. 20
    ev says:

    I mean Jesus’ mom, complete with sky blue robe, usually with one hand gracefully lifted. I think it’s some sort of Catholic thing but I Do.Not.Get.It

    That’s not a bathtub, that’s a nook or or alcove in what you would usually find in the church or a wall with the Madonna sitting in it. Many people display them- sitting up- in the garden with flowers, etc. making a display of it. And yeah, it’s a Catholic thing, usually from what I see Italian or Irish. At least around here.

    The bathtub is what messed me up.

  21. 21
    Robinjn says:

    That’s not a bathtub, that’s a nook or or alcove in what you would usually find in the church or a wall with the Madonna sitting in it. Many people display them- sitting up- in the garden with flowers, etc. making a display of it. And yeah, it’s a Catholic thing, usually from what I see Italian or Irish. At least around here.

    No, honestly, that’s not it. I see those too. This is an honest-to-God Bathtub. As in, a porcelain bathtub, the size of a bathtub, set down into the ground like a bathtub, (i.e., horizontal, not standing on end) with a Madonna in it.

  22. 22
    Lori says:

    This is an honest-to-God Bathtub. As in, a porcelain bathtub, the size of a bathtub, set down into the ground like a bathtub, (i.e., horizontal, not standing on end) with a Madonna in it.

    That is Just. Not. Right.

  23. 23
    ev says:

    This is an honest-to-God Bathtub. As in, a porcelain bathtub, the size of a bathtub, set down into the ground like a bathtub, (i.e., horizontal, not standing on end) with a Madonna in it.

    Wrong. So very wrong. Are there at least bubbles in it, if they are going to be so very wrong????

  24. 24
    Robinjn says:

    That is Just. Not. Right.

    And I hate to tell you, but there’s more than one. I’m not kidding. There must have been some sort of slick “put your madonna in a bathtub in your front yard, it’ll look great!” salesman around here. Because I’ve seen them in rural areas all around Missouri.

    I love my state. It’s so unique!

  25. 25
    Lori says:

    @Robinjn:  Thank you for that mental picture.  I’m struggling through writing a paper for school and picturing waving Madonnas in bathtubs has been the highlight of my evening.

  26. 26
    Gwynnyd says:

    And at Christmas, I’ve seen lights strung from the bushes around the Madonna’s neck and back to the bushes.  Nothing says “Midwest Christmas” like a Madonna being strangled.

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