My sister-in-law Wendy Duren has teamed up with fellow romance novel fan HelenKay Dimon to launch Paperback Reader, a blog born out of "our collective frustration about the seeming unwillingness of some reviewers to
write and post honest reviews of romance books." They write:
We complained for awhile on our individual blogs about how even slight
criticism of a romance novel touched off rants from everyone in the community
because you just don’t speak ill of romance novels and ruin the united front.
We should all agree that’s ridiculous. Reading romance doesn’t mean you leave
common sense and good taste aside. Then, we had an idea (Wendy had the idea,
actually) – why not give it a try. Show that we can write reviews about romance
books that are aimed at informing readers as well as giving constructive
feedback to authors. Are we always right? Well, no. These things are
subjective. These are our opinions and, frankly, there will be times when we
don’t agree with each other.
Sounds like fun. But HelenKay recognizes they may not be greeted warmly at first by the romance writers.
Now, this is risky. The general mood in the romance community seems to be that
it is wrong to even hint that there may be an imperfect romance novel out there
somewhere. The thought process is: if we admit some books aren’t as great as
others we’ll never get respect as a genre. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Which is exactly why a blog like Paperback Reader is such a good idea. Wendy says:
You’ll never see
either of us rain condemnation down on a book because we don’t like the hero’s
hair color or because the heroine makes birth control choices that are different
from our own. We will save the
condemnation for the clichés too much of the genre limps by on.
The first book up for review is Jennifer Crusie’s BET ME.
6 thoughts on “We Love Trouble”
Please tell me that there is a website out there that keeps track of the birth control methods used by romance novel heroines, to guide readers to novels that “reflect your own choices.”
These are some brave women.
The thought process is: if we admit some books aren’t as great as others we’ll never get respect as a genre.
That’s just bizarre…in fact, just the opposite is true. If you act like every romance novel is wonderful just becuase it’s romance, no one will ever take you or the genre seriously.
Dusty is absolutely right. By acknowledging the crap within your midst, you make the case that some of it isn’t crap.
On the other hand, if you try to maintain the fiction that everything is of equal quality… well, then the only answer is that everything is equally bad.
JD & David – That’s our point exactly and why we started the site. The question is whether or not some romance writers out there will get it.
Well as a reader, I applaud this news. There are lots of romance novels out there that are rubbish, but because they are written by well known authors (who I mostly think are generally over-rated in some cases) certain reviewers seem to find it hard to post an objective review.
This is why, I’m a huge fan of the Smart Bitches. They tell it how it is.