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I've been reading "Smart Bitches Trashy Books" http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ for a while now. Funny posts on many things to do with the Romance genre even if sometimes only tenuously.

Recently there's been a lot of posts about their book "Beyond Heaving Bosoms" and I finally got a copy from bookdepository.co.uk

Haven't got into it yet, but the first couple of pages have the narrative voice of the blog for sure. Funny, racy, and many mentions of wangs...

Aside from Georgette Heyer who is both old enough and famous enough to be respectable I haven't read anything labelled Romance. Until I started reading SBTB. They recommended a few and I tried some.

Definitely fun mind candy. Charlaine Harris's Sooky Stackhouse vampire ones which got made into a series "Trublood" (and her other series too), Joanna Bourne's "Spymaster" pair (Which I really did enjoy for the heroine and the pacing, although a couple of anachronisms annoyed my inner history nerd), and a few others.

Yes, it's genre fiction in that there are tropes and requirements. But then so is most of the stuff I read - it's what an author does with it that matters. I can read and re-read Dorothy Sayers or Laurie King or Lois McMaster Bujold or Patrick O'Brian. Because the writing hooks me. A good ROmance has that, plus the comfort of a happy ending. Which is not fashionable, but dammit reading isn't work for me, it is escapism. And looking at the top-of-head list up there... there's romance and happy endings there too.

Biggest hassle with Romance books is the damn covers! SBTB "cover snark" series is hilarious, and gives a good idea why you don't want to be seen reading these damn things on the train! I suppose this is how 50s SF readers felt with halfnekkid women in spacesuits consisting of fishbowl helmets splashed across the cover.

Anyway... Beyond Heaving Bosoms is looking like a good read, an investigation into the categories and plots and classifications of a very stratified and classified genre. I presume someone has done the SFnal equivalent...


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September 2010

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