Monday, June 18, 2007

Romance Genre Fans Speak Up!

At TKA we often are privy to the latest gossip in the Romance Genre. Last week we saw an article over at MediaBistro.Com that really got us chatting. The main issue was basically concerning a discussion between a romance fan and Dwight Garner's blog for The New York Times. As the story played out it appeared that Dwight didn't seem to have a very positive outlook on the need to review in the Romance genre. Rather than continue to sum it up for you I've decided just to post the entire thing here in the blog.

Hit us with all your comments, we'd love to hear from you!


"Cooing, Sure, But Does Romance Need Trilling?

I admit that while I'm keeping my eye on Dwight Garner's new NYT bookblog, I haven't been paying much attention to the comments, so it took some feedback from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books to alert me to Garner's exchange with a romance fan over why the ReviewLionel Trilling of romance critics? Maybe we should hire that person, whoever he or she is." pretty much never covers the genre. "We don't have room to review so very many things we'd like to; is reviewing romances really the best use of our space?" he asks rhetorically. "Who does do a good job of reviewing them, anyway? Who is the

After fighting back the urge to run with the obvious rejoinder concerning genre specialists at the Review, I'd just like to point out that mysteries didn't have to produce their own Trilling; Edmund Wilson jumped right in and tackled the genre himself in the New Yorker. Granted, he didn't particularly like them, but he took them seriously enough to engage for what they had to say as "news about the culture." And there's no reason the Times couldn't do that; it could even take the form of a back-page essay rather than actual reviews. Maybe Garner or Donadio could take a field trip to the Romance Writers of America convention next month and send back a report! (I'd volunteer, but it's opposite International Thriller Writers weekend, which is conveniently being held here in New York.)

But if the Review really wants to push this Lionel Trilling angle, Mary Bly runs Fordham's graduate studies program in English literature when she isn't writing mass-market romances as "Eloisa James," and pretty damn good ones at that. (I've been reading her latest, Desperate Duchesses, on the subway all week, and I don't want to hear any of your guff about it, either.) So I'm just guessing, but she'd probably manage to come up with a decent 500-word review or two, if she has the time. I nominate her!"



3 Comments:

Blogger Keri Ford said...

Dropping in a bit late here.

I picked this story up on Smart Bitches myself (ps to other writers, if you aren’t familiar with this site, google it, cause you should read it).

“…is reviewing romances really the best use of our space?"

Until we can convince the rest of the reading world that romance isn’t the ‘low class’ genre then the Times and other major papers are going to continue thinking this way. It doesn’t matter that the sales show romance outselling everybody else. What matters to them is the general thinking of their readership.

I think when authors like Stephen King introduces romance to their readership, it’s a ‘leg-up’ for us. I believe it’s going to take actions like that to pull us out of the bottom of the ‘social class’ before the Times will see us worthy of their prized space.

Just my two cents worth that’s probably not worth that.

Monday, June 18, 2007 at 6:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Keri Ford said...

…And by the way. As far as a reviewer goes, they need to find someone who doesn’t write romance to review it. They’ll be expected to like it and shower it with praise.

Unless said reviewer has different pen names and reviewer has managed to keep her romance name apart from her ‘murder/crime’ name. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007 at 6:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. I think to get started reviewing romance, NYT needs someone dissociated from romance. Having a reviewer who writes it, too, would seem perhaps too incestual. To get the reviews established, the reviewers would need to be viewed as objective, IMO.

So, we know the sales story regarding the genre. Huge readership...why does NYT refuse to acknowledge that and pander to the numbers? Could it be they believe anyone reading NYT would NOT be reading romance? That there isn't a readership crossover? Perhaps a deluge to the NYT editors would be appropriate. Let them know their "elite" readership actually (heaven forfend!) reads romance.

Monday, June 18, 2007 at 9:03:00 PM EDT  

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