New romance novels feature female bonding, the empowerment of women and abundant sexuality steamily reported https://t.co/ivZGPDdNFH— New York Times Books (@nytimesbooks) September 26, 2017
- While the genre can be critiqued well by people who know what they're talking about, this roundup immediately descends into the rote, distanced, condescending tone you'd expect from the old Gray Lady. From Julia Quinn's 17-year-old novel, he goes on to cover Cheris Hodges' Deadly Rumors with an eyebrow-raising "Oh, yes; Zoe and Carver are African-Americans, though except for some scattered references to racial matters, you'd never know it," and then a warmer review of Catherine Anderson's (apparently "clean romance") The Christmas Room, which makes you wonder if he's a Pioneer Woman fan.
And what this says to me is: To those people, women probably look like: sex, sex, sex, sex, Oh look some food!, sex.— Tessa Dare 🐐 (@TessaDare) September 27, 2017
- He decries the repetitiveness of historical romances, while only focusing on Regency ones that support his argument, but worst of all are the boners. Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland didn't need boners! "No Cartland heroine ever came into contact with a hardened rod." Sure, you might run headlong into racism and anti-Semitism, but at least Heyer kept it couth.
- And, as with all things, it turns to Fifty Shades of Grey. Sure, he just listed all these books that feature empowerment and women with well-rounded lives, but that doesn't explain why (Rushdie-approved, of course) 50SOG is popular. Do women really just want to be spanked by zillionaires? Or is this sudden turn to Christian Grey simply yet another expression of the NYT's magnetic attraction to the taint of whichever billionaire authoritarian looks their way? Anyway, if that's not your thing, he has some "adorable" Debbie Macomber to rec you.
- After thousands of words about how romance novels are either P&P or Jane Eyre, it looks like his editor made him throw in a paragraph at the end about how romance novels actually cover everything under the sun, "[i]ts readership is vast, its satisfactions apparently limitless, its profitability incontestable. And its effect? Harmless, I would imagine. Why shouldn’t women dream?" In other words, "women are dumb, and will buy and come to whatever tripe you put on display, but fine." The entire thing reads like it was suggested ironically, like it would be funny to have their prudish peer read silly fluff for an "honest" take.
But it’s all cool, romance readers! Women are also allowed to dream. We know this is true because a man in the NYT said it!— Courtney!!! Milan (@courtneymilan) September 26, 2017
Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4