- How Romance Is Like Lacrosse – I find this post interesting because 1. I didn’t play lacrosse as a girl because I refused to play sports with “girl” rules that differed from “boy” rules. 2. I’m not having too much trouble avoiding kink or OTT asshole heroes and don’t really see the “new” heroes as a new thing. /shrug YMMV
Contemporary romance and erotica began to take over the market. Real heroes–men who had integrity, loyalty, protective qualities–were replaced with abusive motorcycle guys who passed their girlfriends around to their buds.
The old-fashioned romance was replaced with BDSM, orgies, and cheating.
As paranormals/historicals fell from popularity, books catering to a younger crowd–YA and NA–surged. And books with violent behavior toward women became commonplace.
The excellent writing became something special, not the norm, as typos/grammatical errors, and generally piss poor writing started to crop up frequently.
Instead of fresh, new, creative ideas, copycat books sprouted up like weeds. 50 Shades is popular? Great, let’s crank out 100 books with the same cover and concept.
Here I am, 15 years later, wondering what the hell happened to my romance novels.
- What Happened to the Harlequin Romance? – JFC this article. There are so many bold statements in it that lack any supporting evidence that I don’t know where to begin. Urge to fisk…rising…
Harlequin Books Limited—now Harlequin Enterprises—was founded in 1949 in Canada as a small printer, packager, and distributor of books. In the nineteen-fifties, Harlequin started reprinting titles from Mills & Boon, a British publisher of popular romance novels. In 1972, Harlequin acquired Mills & Boon, and soon was synonymous with the romance novel. By 2012, romance novels were a 1.5-billion-dollar-a-year business that made up nearly seventeen per cent of fiction sales. But, for the past several years, Harlequin’s sales have declined as people have started getting their romance from erotic—and often self-published—e-books instead of grocery-store paperbacks. Last week, News Corporation announced it would acquire Harlequin from its parent company, Torstar Corporation, for about four hundred and fifteen million dollars—not much more than Harlequin’s revenue last year. Harlequin will become a division of News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers.
- ReedPOP Adds BookCon Panel on Diverse Books – This feels like tokenism and insincere pandering but I guess it’s a step in the right direction. This PW piece is the softest of softballs.
In response to the controversy that erupted last month over the lack of diversity in its schedule, BookCon has added a panel titled “The World Agrees: #WeNeedDiverseBooks” to its programming lineup. The panel includes five key members of the #WNDB campaign that emerged out of the BookCon controversy and three bestselling authors well-known for including diverse characters and exploring issues relating to diversity in their books: Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Matt de la Peña (The Living), and Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon). The panel discussion is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 31 from 10-11 a.m. The moderator will be #WNDB team member I.W. Gregorio, whose debut YA novel, None of the Above, will be published in 2015.
- Minorities and Mainstream Reading – Swapna Krishna talks about the difference between books about a POC and their culture and books where one of the characters just happens to be a POC.
Cultural fiction is awesome. There’s no doubt that, short of traveling, it’s pretty much the best way to learn about a place, a culture, and a people you don’t know. I’m always seeking out new fiction about different cultures, but sometimes I want something simpler: something not sot heavy, not so difficult. I’m not trying to imply that all cultural stories are heavy (though South Asian fiction tends to skew that way), just that sometimes I want to read about someone like me, rather than just someone who’s only of the same culture or background.
But what happens when you want a book about a minority character that isn’t necessarily a cultural/historical story? You want to read a romance novel that happens to feature an Indian woman or science fiction with a Latina as the lead? Well, that’s harder. Much, much harder.
- Solution for the “Confusing” Gender Neutral Toilet Sign Issue – Finally, a solution to the problem of how to label bathrooms that are for people of any gender.
A while ago I had the opportunity to sit in on some meetings where a group was lobbying their state legislators for gender neutral bathrooms. Recently, I attended a town hall where the same issue came up. In both cases, the elected officials were flabbergasted.
One reaction was something along the lines of “This sounds incredibly confusing and difficult. I’m just not sure how we would implement such a thing in government buildings without serious remodeling.”
Another: “But then how will normal people know what restroom to use?”
- An Ingenious Shock-Absorbing Wheel for Bikes and Wheelchairs – Yet another nifty tech innovation for adaptive equipment that insurance companies won’t pay for and few disabled people will be able to access. Yay.
In traditional wheelchair designs up to 30 percent of expended energy is lost because they lack suspension, leaving only 70-80 percent of the energy put into the chair for propulsion. This creates uncomfortable rides and fatigued drivers. “Most of the time, the user is driving a rigid wheel with no suspension and it breaks your back and shakes your filings loose,” says SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel.
SoftWheel addresses this problem with their “symmetric and selective technology,” that uses three compression cylinders to absorb shocks within the wheel before they’re transferred to rider. The goal is to make the wheel’s hub essentially float in mid-air while suspending the chair’s mass. Practically this means riders can traverse stairs and curbs nearly as easily as gliding down a ramp by allowing the wheels to bear the brunt of the forces. “Once you’ve eliminated sagging and bobbing you can work miracles,” says Barel.