I found this great graphic the other day, and I thought it would be fun to use it today, during Banned Books Week. I am always amazed by the many books that have been banned, censored or challenged. The Harry Potter series. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. The Giver.
I wonder if the general condescension toward romance isn’t sometimes a good thing, since, as the books and genre are being scorned by the intelligentsia, women are exploring the power of love, sexuality and self-actualization. As self-important critics tell us how frivolous romance novels are, we just keep reading, feeling more hopeful, stronger and more empowered.
Maybe if they realized how inspiring and mighty these stories can be for women, they would be tempted to place them all on the banned book lists. ;o)
Meanwhile, romance novels and female authors continue to bolster the publishing industry while they are still at times ignored or belittled by it. As Jennifer Weiner and Jodie Picoult so nicely argued a few years ago in their call-out to the literary establishment: "The NYT loves its literary darlings, who tend to be dudes w/MFAs."
I am excited to say that Kirkus has invited me to blog about romance and women’s fiction once a week, and I am honored to be a vocal supporter of this dynamic, compelling genre on this platform.
If you have the chance, I invite you to take a look at these lists, and see the many books that have been banned by governments (it includes The Diary of Anne Frank, The Grapes of Wrath and Green Eggs and Ham) or challenged in the U.S. (including For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gone With the Wind, and James and the Giant Peach).
I don’t think everyone who reads romance needs to stand up for romance. If you want to, then please feel free. If you’re looking for ammunition, be sure to check out the many essays that celebrate romance at ReadARomanceMonth.com. But honestly, the best way to advocate for romance is in the marketplace.
And, really, in that respect, we must all agree that romance novels are doing just fine, thank you very much.
Shout from the rafters or simply put your head down into the pages of your current book. Whether you’re a romance warrior or a quiet pocketbook advocate, there’s a place for you.
Romance matters. Keep reading! And if you feel like stepping out of the romance world for a bit, consider picking up a book that someone challenged. There are some great ones on that list!
Which begs the question, what are you reading?
I have a stack of books I’m eager to jump into. First up is The Hot Zone by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle. I can’t wait to get back to Harmony and meet the next dust bunny, especially since I hear there’s a fun Halloween theme in the book. I’d like to catch up with Molly O’Keefe’s Boys of Bishop series before the last one, Indecent Proposal, comes out next week. I also hope to have time to read the two highly acclaimed O’Neill Brothers titles by Sarah Morgan before the third, Maybe This Christmas, comes out next month.
Finally, I just finished Maya Rodale’s charming and powerful What a Wallflower Wants, which historical fans will want to pick up.
See you next week!