Link Roundup

Thanks to Kristen Painter and many others who forwarded me this link of irate rantage on my part.

Now, I’m the first to admit there are ridiculous romance novels. I got your Pregnesia right here, baby.

But while Evil Librarian Supervillain’s list of the 21 Most Ridiculous does highlight some truly bizarre romances, at the same time, I’d like five minutes in the stacks so I can smack her with her library science degree for the part where she dismisses all of romance as “the terrible smut genre.”

Even though her knowledge of “The Very Virile Viking” makes me suspicious that she might have read it, she says at the top she hasn’t read any romance, so, ahoy asshattery, the whole genre gets “librarian smash” treatment which makes me oh, so sad.

Perhaps I should start making sweeping generalizations about librarians. No one’s done that, right? RIGHT? Nah, I like librarians, for the most part. This one makes me grit my teeth. Yo Librarian: you want a romance recommendation? I’m happy to help, but first, you ought to know way fucking better. The selected covers? Cranking ridiculous. But the whole genre?

Dude. You’re a librarian. I should not have to tell you to get a fucking clue before you smack an entire genre.

In other more-awesomer news, Publishers Weekly has a new romance section, which, as many people on Twitter said, makes me want to subscribe, and my general rule is NOT to subscribe to paper magazines because they arrive and I don’t read them. BUT:
as editor Rose Fox pointed out
, this is all kinds of romance with reviews… and I’m so curious and happy to see that section. Yay for PW!

The ever-brilliant Pam Rosenthal posted a very long entry at the History Hoydens about her presentation in Brussels on queer theory and romance:

Romance fiction isn’t incoherent. It’s hardworking, pragmatic, empathic—it sees a problem and it tries to solve it in the interest of a happy ending. AND it draws upon a wonderful camaraderie between authors, readers. and sometimes characters. Committed to pleasure, it wants to share, rather than compete.

It’s a long and meaty (pun totally intended) article but well worth reading.


The Link-O-Lator

Comments are Closed

  1. I am going to check those links. Thanks.

    You can read what I wrote about romance novels here:

  2. Missy Ann says:

    Ha! I chose to laugh at her smug little post. I had a little giveaway for my Facebook friends. I gave a $5 g.c. to whoever guessed the correct (or closest) to the number of books on that list I’ve read.

    The answer btw was 3. But if you tally up the ones I’ve read, plus authors on that list I’ve read, plus the titles there I have in my TBR pile the total is actually 14.

    So there. I glory in her attempted mockery.

  3. Joy says:

    I’ve read 2 of those 21 “ridiculous” books.  _The Very Virile Viking_ is a light, tongue-in-cheek, fun kind of romance that doesn’t bother to pretend it is to be taken seriously.

    Quinn’s _The Viscount Who Loved Me_ on the other hand, is hardly bizarre or ridiculous. In terms of regency-set historicals, it’s clearly in the top quartile of what’s out there.  But noticing that might require reading more than the cover blurb…

    captcha: always36 As I have told my children, I will always be 36.

  4. Julie says:

    I responded to the Evil Librarian. I challenged her (through my nom de Net,) to read thirty pages of one of the five books I listed. We’ll see if she actually does it.

    If she’s “never read a romance novel”, she has no business commenting on them, IMHO.

    In the meantime, we snark on ridiculous covers as well, but what’s between those covers keeps readers coming back for more…

  5. Kiersten says:

    Step away from the Quinn, Evil Super whatever, before we break out the Mallet of Death.

    It’s very simple – if you don’t read the genre, you can’t diss the genre. While they are ridiculous romance novels out there to be sure, you can’t claim to rate any book based on a read of the cover copy or the cover itself. I especially expect more from a librarian. Epic fail lady.

    spam word: myself54

  6. Literary slut Kilian says:

    I’m not sure she is calling romance the “terrible smut genre,” here, but rather this particular book.  She has some nice recommendations in the “chick lit” post on Aug 17.  I think you’re reading her snark wrong. Anyone who hates censorship, ignorance, and fluffy kittens can’t be all bad.

  7. I dunno. I can’t manage to get myself worked up about the Evil Librarian Superwhatever. I scanned down and she’s just barely been accepted to her librarian sciences program. So in other words, she’s a young noob who’ll grow up one day. *shrug* Maybe this’ll sound bitchy, but she’s a no one and what she says means nothing.

  8. ReganB says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure if she’s calling the one book “terrible smut genre” or the entire genre, but it’s not very well done of her either way. 

    Smacking around books you haven’t read, let alone the entire genre was truly out of line.  And Julia Quinn?  Come on!  Don’t know what a Viscount is?  Well look it up!  A librarian aught to have a dictionary around somewhere. 

    Epic fail.

  9. Sarah says:

    Well, I’m all for a good rant, but I’m not sure this one is absolutely 100% justified.  The “terrible smut genre” seemed like it was special genre within romance where the Very Virile Viking belonged (and doesn’t it sound like it might?  It has Virile in the title!).  In terms of the “ridiculous” classification, is it any worse than calling them trashy?

    However, I do agree with you in your Don’t-Knock-It-‘Til-You-Try-It mentality.  It’s not quite as bad as censorship without reading, but still.  Any good librarian would agree with that! (I know, speaking as one in training)  Anyway, keep up the good work!

  10. nan says:

    Lots of librarians are big romance readers—in fact the romance panel at the last ALA conference was SRO—unlike every other session I attended there. Of course they put it in way too small a room. Because the conference organizers obviously grievously underestimated the genre’s popularity. But I work at a small library where most of the staff reads lots of trashy books—Lisa Kleypas, Christine Feehan, Eloisa James, Charlaine Harris, Jayne Ann Krentz and Janet Evanovich are all staff favorites. Give this kid a few years and maybe she’ll get it.

  11. Amy R.-B. says:

    *Facepalm* Librarians like that are a shame to my profession.  Every genre has its clunkers, but there are some true gems in them, too.  I feel like I’m fighting daily to get romance and urban fantasy the respect they deserve.

  12. Kate Jones says:

    I’m a little shocked that she admits to not having read any of these books before bashing them thoroughly.  FAIL.  Oh, and minus 150 credibility points for not being able to remember the hero’s name from one sentence to the next (see:  Derek/Donald Sutherland)

  13. job says:

    I’m not sure if I missed it, but I think she only said, ” unlike my other lists, I have not read these,” rather than, “I do not read Romance.”

    Although she may not read Romance. 

    The ‘a classic of the terrible smut genre’, I read as similar to,  ‘There’s an entire series dedicated to accidental dads?’”, ‘this TCRN (Trashy Christian Romance Novel)”, and “an entire series of this Dances-With-Wolves nonsense”—that is, it seemed to me to speak of subsets of Romance, rather than Romance as a whole.

  14. The Peacock Angel says:

    I’ll admit it’s not a hyper intellectual genre, but in an era of cynicism trumping all I personally like to see a little nonsense and idealism now and again.

  15. Rose Fox says:

    You can subscribe to a digital-only edition of PW! Not only do you save paper, but you save $70 off the paper edition price.

  16. Isabel C. says:

    Peacock Angel: Hell, I’m one of the most cynical people you could meet about love and long-term relationships in RL, and I still read and write romance.

    The associations are sort of irksome, actually: nobody assumes I actually believe in dragons and unicorns because I read fantasy. (At least, I hope not.) You don’t have to think the world works a certain way to want to read books where it does.

  17. Linda S says:

    On behalf of smart librarians who respect good writing in all genres, I am forming a Super Friends group to wipe out Evil.  Librarians.

  18. Keziah Hill says:

    Did anyone comment on the Evil Librarian? I’ve just had a look and there are none there which surprises me. Has she disabled?

  19. Carrie says:

    I actually thought her post was pretty hilarious but it should have been done as a caption that cover type post – since she didn’t read them, she doesn’t know about anything except the cover, and her comments re the covers were awesome , esp, “really?  cause it looks like you’re having trouble with that tiny rowboat, Sparky”.  And no one but a total moron (sorry, Evil, but you started the name calling and I’m agonna run with it) would bash Julia Quinn.  That’s right, Evil, you wanna step outside?

  20. Emily says:

    UMMMM She messed with Julia Quinn . . .so she must be stopped.  She said she hadn’t even read any of these books but “The Viscount Who Loved Me” is A) an AMAZING book IMO of course 2) definitely not the worst of anything and E) who doesn’t atleast have a passing knowledge that a Viscount is ” is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl (in Britain) or a count (the earl’s continental equivalent).” Thanks Wikipedia for that one 😉

  21. M. M. Justus says:

    I used to be a librarian, and The Viscount Who Loved Me is one of my favorite romances.  So there.


    Librarians are trained not to be judgemental of others’ reading choices.  What library school did she go to???

    My code tonight is “heart89.”  But she doesn’t even have one.

  22. Gary says:

    Well, I’m all for a good rant, but I’m not sure this one is absolutely 100% justified.  The “terrible smut genre” seemed like it was special genre within romance where the Very Virile Viking belonged (and doesn’t it sound like it might?  It has Virile in the title!).  In terms of the “ridiculous” classification, is it any worse than calling them trashy?

    I’ve read several Sandra Hill Viking Romances (I blame it on (SBTB) and I don’t put them in the “terrible smut genre.” I put them in the hilarious smutty genre.

    In the “TSG” I’d have to put DB Story’s Pickup at the Robot Club. I own a copy, from when he wrote them and posted them for free on various sex story sites.

    Disclaimer: I wrote a number of stories in roughly the same genre, still available as eBooks at His romances involve fembots who exceed their programming. My stories, at least the ones with Chocolate in the title, are romantic but not romances. They’re in the happily-ever-after part of marriage.

  23. mahjchick says:

    Wow.  I also looked back and saw that she is a newbie just starting library school.  And while I enjoy the (more than) occasional snarkiness from others, this was just wrong.  So, perhaps soon, she will learn about making sweeping generalizations about things she does not know about.  It is one thing to create a reading list with books you have not read, but to provide running commentary on those books based on the cover and what is written on the back?  That will not sit well with the head librarians, evil or not. 

    I can’t even comment on putting Julia Quinn on that list.  For shame!

    Not only am I a librarian, but a children’s librarian and probably do the most romance readers’ advisory at my library (for the grown-ups, that is).  I am very proud to be an avid romance reader and am proud of my library system for currently providing a Romance Genre Study for staff.  In fact, today, we are all attending the ALA/Booklist Webinar: Love & Magic: Trends in Romance Fiction. 

    Perhaps Ms. Evil Librarian-to-be should attend too.

  24. Jeannie says:

    She’s going to make a terrible librarian if she’s already bashing romance novels, which by the way are the best selling books out there. I’ll admit some of the covers/names/storylines are kinda kooky BUT such is the case with ANY genre you pick.

  25. SB Sarah says:

    I’m with you Gary. I loved the Very Virile Viking just because it didn’t take itself seriously at ALL. It was funny and goofy. I still think about it – and not in a bad OMGWTF way, either.

  26. cricket says:

    Lets hope that the Library Science program somehow manages to teach her to actually read books before she shares her opinion. 

    Otherwise she’s destined to be the world’s worst librarian.

  27. Amy R.-B. says:

    Linda S., can i join your SuperFriends? 🙂

  28. Linda S says:

    Hey Amy R.-B.—Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!

  29. Anne says:

    23 years a public librarian here

    Oh those mixed-up madcap library-school initiates.  It is to laugh.  Oh, the things she will learn the hard way – bwahahahahaha!  Here’s hoping she ends up in public libraries and continues to have to learn this lesson over and over.  Hopefully with public humiliation.  (Oh me, I am a bad librarian today!)

    Sadly, I do have to constantly remind some of my cohort that romance is not a cheap, throw-away genre.  I especially enjoy jousting with the librarian in charge of the mystery section.  She just can’t get it through her head that many romance authors have series just as long or longer than her Poirot or whathaveyou.  (see:  Suzanne Brockmann for example). 

    Fortunately, a man who actually gets the importance is in charge of the rest of the fiction genres, including Romance.

    Any public librarian who disses any type of genre or any person’s reading/listening/viewing tastes in any format deserves to be whacked upside the head with the print copy of the American Cataloging and Cataloging rules and then flogged with a Julia Quinn romance until he or she melts into his or her sensible shoes!

    spamword:  student47 – may she only get a 47% in her reader’s advisory classes and have to repeat.

  30. Gary says:

    …romance is not a cheap, throw-away genre.


    I love librarians. It was a kindly old librarian (she had to be at least 25) who introduced me to my first love in books, science fiction/fantasy at age 12. It spread to mysteries and westerns and history, and more. While on a submarine (imagine the tiny “ship’s library”) I ran out of all my regular genre, and picked up the half dozen romances someone had contributed. All Betty Neels. I enjoyed them immensely, but was certain I could predict the plot of any new romance I picked up based on those.

    I don’t dismiss any genre, not even “terrible smut genre,” and not just because I’m a guy.

    code word “things69”? How… relevant.

  31. Natalie says:

    Her comments are open and I am leaving her quite the doozy of one. She gives all librarians a bad name. We’re already stereotyped and judged (much like romance), we don’t need any extra help to make people think poorly of us!

  32. kaetchen says:

    Here’s what I put as a comment. I just couldn’t not say something…

    I must say that I am disappointed. You purport that one of the nemeses you face is ignorance, yet you have just dismissed an entire genre of literature with loaded, pejorative terms like “smut” and “trash.”

    Without even having READ any of them?

    Wow. That would be like me saying that all chick-lit is pretentious, whiny complaining about shoes and dates. Which is why I don’t say it. Because I don’t know the genre well enough, and I don’t want to come across as an ignorant boob.

    Do some of these books suck rocks? Most likely. I haven’t read most of them. I have, however, read one of them, and other books by a couple of the other authors as well. A couple are really awesome, and some merely adequate. None of the ones I read were awful, however. And, I defy you to find me any genre which has only quality literature within its confines.

    Do the covers of romance novels often suck rocks? Most definitely. But (as I’m sure you are aware), authors almost never get any say in either the cover art, or even the titles for their books. So really, snark away at the covers—at the Smart Bitches website, even the authors get in on that action sometimes.

    You may wish to visit and r,ead the comments there that this post has incited. I’m sure that the bitchery would be happy to suggest some elegantly-crafted, well-written “smut” to aid you in your fight against ignorance.


  33. kaetchen says:

    @Natalie:  Did you actually leave a comment?  ‘Cause it’s been removed if you did…

  34. Maddie Grove says:

    I’ve skimmed The Very Virile Viking. It’s not high art or anything, but I laughed and laughed at it, and it was meant to be funny, so I say that it’s pretty successful. I especially loved the bit at the beginning where the hero is grumbling about his dismal child-filled life and contemplates living in a cave, but decides against it because his children would probably follow him there “and then they would freeze in a cave!”

  35. Lu says:

    Ahhh, I have just attempted to leave a comment for the ‘librarian supervillainess’, and it says that my comment is awaiting moderation.  We shall see if/when it appears.

    On the one hand, some of the cover art and cover blurbs are truly deserving of mocking – and there have been many mocked here on this very blog.

    But there is a saying ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ and I have learned (from this very blog!) that the authors sometimes/often/rarely get much if any input on those covers.  Likewise the cover blurbs may have little to no input from the author.  Suggesting that a mock-worthy cover and silly blurb may have nothing to do with the author.  In fact, my experience as a reader and the comments made on this blog suggest that the cover and blurb may have little to do with the book’s content!  And really, it is a pain to try to describe a 300 page novel in a half page to capture someone’s interest without giving away the whole book.  Summaries can be hard.  (anyone who doubts that idea – try it sometime.  Pick a book that you have read and enjoyed, and try to do a half page or three paragraph blurb for it that would encourage someone who knows nothing of the book to read it without spoiling the whole book.  Then tell me how easy it is.)

    But I have issues (I think I’ve stopped frothing) about someone who claims that they want to be a librarian mocking and dismissing an entire category.  Librarians should be encouraging people to read, even if they don’t enjoy the specific books that person chooses!  (librarians, editors, publishers, authors – encourage reading!  The more who read, the more… wait, everyone here knows that.)  Librarians (current and hopeful) should know that in every genre, there will be a range of writing voices, styles, and quality.  In every genre, there will be a variety of cover art, some of which will merit mocking.  There will be titles and blurbs that make you cringe or laugh (and it may depend on the time, and your recent levels of sleep, sugar, and caffeine).

    I just… okay, still frothing a bit.
    anti-spambot word is rate72 – at this rate, she’ll have at least 72 agitated readers attempting to comment.

  36. lilywhite says:

    Hate the sweeping generalizations, but this lin emade me LOL:

    “What the heck IS a viscount, anyway? Apparently not someone who can afford a shirt with buttons.”

  37. ashley says:

    oh she did NOT make fun of Kresley Cole!

    okay seriously, a lot of these synopses sound as though they come from having read the books.  what ind of librarian mocks peoples literary choices? that’s so cruel, I hope she doesn’t work at a high school.

    and really princess, if your best critiques against romance novels are that the character’s names are silly and that they OMG fall in love quickly, you’re a pretty shallow reader.  maybe you should get a new job?

    spamword: reason66.  I can probably come up with 66 reasons why this condescending snarker should not be allowed in a library.

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