I have a bunch of things to share with you. Ready for reading and thinking and entertainment?
First up: Vicki sent me this link to the worst Christian romance covers of 2013. First…I'm sorry. It is a slideshow and I apologize even though I didn't build it and wish it wasn't a slideshow. That said? It's very fun.
I think this one is my favorite:
“Oh, the things you can do… with Photoshop:
– Paste a new head on a body
– Stick an Amish bonnet on your model
– Give that bonnet extra sparkle power
– Proclaim the book as a generic best seller”
I was over at Kirkus this week talking about the books I gave A's to in 2013, specifically Ripped, by Sarah Morgan:
But the most noticeable part of an A-grade book is that I continue to think and talk about it. I may not make sense when I talk about it, and make a bunch of noises and wave my arms around trying to put a noun and a verb in the proper order instead of just making Good Book Noise, but I will always talk about those books. When someone says they read one on my recommendation and loved it, I get the happiest of happys, since they enjoyed it as much as I did, and so I know they are experiencing the same emotions I did.
When the emotions from a story are as grade-A as the story itself, sharing the story makes those same feelings even bigger and more enjoyable. When I make Good Book Noise, and someone else reads the same story and also makes Good Book Noise, it’s just the best.
There were three As from me this part year, and two of them I discussed in my romances to give as gifts column. I also covered books for children, if you're looking for birthday presents or perhaps gifts for Los Reyes!
Journalist Diana Reese wrote about Janet Dailey's death for the Washington Post, and asked to talk to me while she was researching Dailey. I think Reese's resulting profile is a balanced and honest look at a complicated career and a complex person: Romance novelist Janet Dailey a pioneer but leaves ‘complicated legacy’.
If you’re not familiar with the history of romance novels, you might not understand just what a difference Dailey’s books made. As [Eileen] Dreyer explained rather bluntly, “American writers were the first ones to have a heroine with a spine or a real occupation. In the old European romances, the heroine was a virginal idiot and the hero was a jerk.”
Dailey’s heroines were strong, independent, even feisty women and she set her books, like the immensely popular Calder series, in distinctly American settings, especially the West.
A few readers in my Twitter feed were lamenting Dailey's loss in the days after she died, talking about the books of hers they still have on their shelves.
Like many said, it's complicated. On one hand, as a reader, her plagiarism, which was covered in the media in 1997, was the end of my reading Dailey's books. I hadn't read many but I didn't buy another after that – not that I bought many. I was in college then and was more often acquiring books from the library.
But likewise I know one event in her life didn't sum up everything she accomplished as a writer or as a human. Dailey was part of changing the genre when she started writing, and was part of establishing romances set in the US as a now-common aspect of the genre.
I was a guest on two podcasts recently, too, if you'd like to explore the world of book-loving podcasts!
I was also a guest on the Amazon Kindle Love Stories podcast along with Lea Francza from USA Today's HEA blog, Aestas from Aestas Book Blog – who is the most followed reviewer on Goodreads, and Duchess Nicole, who is a Goodreads “Best Reviewer.” You can listen to the podcast if you subscribe (I don't see a play-on-page option, I'm sorry).
I was also a guest on the Anglo-Filles podcast with RedHeadedGirl, Alina, and Kayleigh, talking about man titty (obviously), privilege and marketing, and high fantasy romance.
But really, the best part: RedHeadedGirl found what might be the most perfect Fabio gif in all the Fabio gifs in Fabio Gif Land:
I think this might be my new meditation focus image.
Examine the breath. Follow the breath. Imagine the peace of Fabio's wet hair. Shake shake whip. The water falls.