- Romance and the Defensive Crouch – I’m not well versed in literary theory, and I haven’t read the book being reviewed, but I found this piece thought provoking. I will admit to an exasperated sigh at “You know what romance needs? Books without happy endings. Then it can be literature.”
I’m not saying all romances are evil crap. I don’t think all romances are evil crap. But many romances are crap, and it seems like you need to acknowledge that somewhere if you’re going to make the case that some romances are good. And one important way to start thinking about romances as various is, I think, to chuck the formula. Yes, many romances can be made to fit into Regis’ pattern. But then, many can’t. Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina and Gone With the Wind are books that are very often discussed as romance novels, and which don’t fit Regis’ pattern in important respects.Regis talks about Gone With the Wind specifically, saying that readers who identify it as a romance are “misreading”; that they’re substituting in a happy ending based on their familiarity with the genre. In other words, Regis suggests that romance readers are so wedded to their narratives that their basic reading comprehension suffers. This is supposed to be a defense of romance fans how, exactly?
- Funny Feminist (?) Fiction – Liz posts one of her trademark thinky posts, musing about feminist readings of a romance novel and a literary novel with a romance in it.
Sure, one’s a novella from Harlequin’s partnership with Cosmopolitan and the other is a literary novel frequently described as “feminist,” but they’re both funny and both celebrate love and female sexual pleasure. And both, especially together, made me think (again) about the whole question of “feminist” fiction: is there such a thing? what does it mean to call a novel feminist? I find it more useful to think about feminist reading(s)–by which I don’t mean judging whether a novel is “politically correct” (ugh) or “feminist enough,” but reading through feminist lenses and asking certain kinds of questions–than about feminist fiction. Because my response to “Are these books feminist?” would be, “It’s complicated.”
- A list of problems with Ani DiFranco’s statement on slave plantation retreat – If you read just one post about Ani DiFranco’s epic cockup, make it this one. Emi Koyama completely dismantles DiFranco’s non-pology in a post that should serve as a guide for How Not To Respond To Criticism. Contains lots of links as well.
It was painful to me to witness how Ani somehow failed to recognize the offensiveness of holding the retreat at Nottoway Plantation, or to anticipate how people would react to the announcement, but I held on to the hope that, once confronted, she would immediately understand and acknowledge her mistake. Unfortunately, the statement she released in response to the criticism fell short of what I expected from someone who was so important to me at one point in my life.
Below is a list of problems (which is not to say that it is exhaustive) I find with the statement.
- A Note From Ani DiFranco – If you read two articles about DiFranco, read this sarcastic jab from Mallory Ortberg.
Hi. I’m Ani DiFranco. You may remember me from such things as singing like a wizard trapped inside an aged toad is trapped inside of my throat and being allergic to capital letters. I’m here to talk to you about something that’s very close to my heart today: writing songs on old slavery plantations.
- (If you read three articles, read about the white woman who posed as a black woman named LaQueeta Jones to defend DiFranco from criticism about racism. It gets all the face palm.)
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.