Links of Assorted Content from the Interwebs

First: someone buy Claire Folkman more romance novels because OMG does she have it RIGHT. Books that “never give you a moment to yourself?” SO true. So wonderful and yet so awful – especially the “you don’t even know why you’re still reading.”

Is it me, or is it when you’re at your most OMGCRAZEE busy that you find the most sticky, invasive, brain-kudzu books that won’t let you think about doing anything other than reading?

In the Guardian’s recent article, An Insiders Guide to writing for Mills & Boon , Allison Flood gets schooled by Penny Jordan and Sharon Kendrick on how the romance and the heroes really work.

But wait: here, have more Claire Folkman comics about romance novels. Ah the romance, taking away precious hours from what we ought to be doing, and we love every minute. 

ETA: Thanks to Laura Vivanco for this link: Katherine Orazem of the Yale Herald has written an outstanding article defending romance: In defense of romance: Proving the stereotypes wrong . Veritas nominee, ahoy. Drawing on the course at Yale being taught this semester by Lauren Willig and Andrea DaRif (disclosure: I’m a guest lecturer on a panel for that course in April 2010), Orazem writes:

despite the fact that this sort of indictment of the genre was first raised by feminist critics, there are ways in which the critique itself can be seen as sexist. After all, doesn’t the argument that romances inculcate women with “patriarchal propaganda” deny women the ability to judge the books for themselves?

Many of the first gothic romances were decried because men saw them as sensationalist women’s fluff. That reaction is one of the reasons Willig and DaRif chose Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen’s 1803 parody of gothic fiction, as the first book on their syllabus. The book is the author’s parody of “people’s concerns that such books would adversely affect impressionable young ladies,” DaRif said.

“Austen poked fun at the critics of the time, who were dismissive of popular novels, by basically saying, ‘You’re right, these books only deal with the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the liveliest expressions of wit and humor, and the polished nuances of language. Oh, how trite.’” Are the charges today hurled against romance really any different? Are those who criticize the sexism in romance novels simply treating modern female readers like Victorian ladies to be protected from corruptive influence?

A five-mullet salute to Ms. Orazem for this one – way to go. And thanks to Dr. Vivanco for passing the word along.

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  1. 1
    Lisa Hendrix says:

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t mention that An Insider’s Guide to Writing for Mills & Boon included an interview with newcomer Maisey Yates (that’s pronounced Macy, btw, not Maizey) At only 23, she’s the youngest person currently writing for Harlequin Presents. Her first book, HIS VIRGIN ACQUISITION is coming in August 2010 (UK release), and just yesterday she sold her second book,  A MISTAKE, A PRINCE, AND A PREGNANCY, which will be out in Oct 2010.  I discovered Maisey because of her fun, funny posts on Twitter, segued over to her blog, and have become a great fan of her sense of humor. I can hardly wait to read her books.

  2. 2
    Lindsay says:

    I am in desperate need of a “completely cut you off from the real world” romance but can’t start one. Must resist temptation until the weekend… Don’t have time to get lost in a book right now even though that’s what I really, really need! Gah!

    Love the comics, thanks for the links.

    Lindsay

  3. 3
    Cat Marsters says:

    Am I the only one who’s kinda depressed by the news that two hundred years after Jane Austen felt the need to defend herself and her genre against criticism, we’re still doing the same thing?

  4. 4
    Melissa Blue says:

    Am I the only one who’s kinda depressed by the news that two hundred years after Jane Austen felt the need to defend herself and her genre against criticism, we’re still doing the same thing?

    Yes, but in a way that some things will never change. There will always be a subset of individuals sneering at someone else just insert your reason to sneer.

  5. 5
    Lisa says:

    In her article, Orazem mentions that Northanger Abbey is the 1st book on Willig and DaRif’s syllabus.  Any idea what the others are?  Or where I could get a copy of the syllabus or a list of the books being read in their class? 

    Congrats on the guest lecturer gig.

  6. 6
    Andrea says:

    I was curious as well and googled it and found it on Lauren Willig’s homepage (http://www.laurenwillig.com/news/2010/02/03/reading-the-historical-romance/)
    Loved those comics – and yeah, more often than not, that could be me… who am I kidding?! That is me ALL the time ;-)

  7. 7
    Eileen says:

    Thanks for the link to the Guardian article.  I never would have seen that myself.  I’ve been a huge fan of Penny Jordan for a long time.  I have all of her books up until the last few years (shelf space issues now).  It was great to read what she had to say about her writing.

  8. 8
    Maisey says:

    It was a really great article. Fun to see what Penny Jordan and Sharon Kendrick had to say, and very nice to talk to a journalist who has respect for, and enjoys, the genre. It was clear from talking to her that she’s actually read romance novels! Enough to reference ‘old skool’ romance novels vs. their modern counterparts.

    And no references to us poor little females wallowing in our patriarchal oppression!

  9. 9

    This is like a palate cleansing sorbet after the romance bashing craziness of the Drinking Game entry.  Thank you for sharing.

  10. 10
    alices says:

    Hm. Any chance of getting a copy of the syllabus for the Lauren Willig and Andrea DaRiff course? I’d love to see what the coursework looks like!

  11. 11

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