Posts tagged: romance
What, it’s June already? I’m sure a I had a whole year here a minute ago. In any case, summer means humidity, allergies, and a sad lack of home AC. This year, it also means squirrels in the roof (don’t ask. No, really).
And that means it’s time for my annual bitch column. This month I’ll kvetch about the things that really bug me about the Romance Genre. As usual, I’ll be general rather than specific; there’s no need to single out any one particular book when there are so many bad examples to choose from.
This week Romance Editor Chris talks about ghosts and Simone St. James’ An Inquiry Into Love And Death.
War, loss, ghosts: these are things that change you forever. But love is also on that list, and it leads to better places. Simone St. James knows that, and writes it beautifully.
Photo via Over The Front.
Every April we like to mix things up at The Gutter, this month Comics Editor Carol writes about romance and Agnes And The Hitman:
Growing up in a town where Elvis was sighted post mortem, I despised and mocked The King. Now, I have held wakes in his honor. I used to only like punk. Then I used to say I liked everything but country. Now I don’t even bother arguing that I’m listening to “Americana,” not country. It is a truth universally acknowledged that something I once despised I will come to appreciate and, often, love. So when both Chris and alex recommended Jennifer Crusie, the author of many romance novels, and in particular her collaboration with Bob Mayer, Agnes And The Hitman, I knew I needed to read it.
Like many a horrible child, I despised romance novels. I have made easy jokes. I have snickered at romance covers at the grocery store. And I have been foolish enough not only to judge a book by its cover, but to dismiss an entire genre because of those covers. Some of it was likely internalized sexism. Fortunately, romance readers and writers are are a lot less pissy about their dismissal than some lovers of other genres. They just write hilarious blogs and quietly keep the publishing industry going.
This week at The Gutter, Romance Editor Chris is charmed by Ouran High School Host Club:
I’ve watched very little series anime in my life, largely because the depth of the genre is a little daunting to the uninitiated. A single, exquisite Hayao Miyazaki movie? Yes please. Thirty-two DVDs worth of Bleach episodes? Um… intimidating. But last year a friend gave me Fruits Basket at exactly the right time. I adored watching it (and hunting down all the manga volumes) and I’ve been looking for something similar since then. A couple weeks ago I stumbled across Ouran High School Host Club. Achievement: unlocked.
This week, Romance Editor Chris discovers that while she hates zombies, she likes Warm Bodies.
Lately the sheer ubiquity of zombies has added a patina of irritation to my hatred. Ever since Seth Grahame-Smith plunked zombies into Jane Austen, the damn things pop up everywhere. Appearances in works of classic literature turned into cameos in every historical period that could possibly contain the concept of the walking dead. Post-apocalypse. Pre-apocalypse. Both World Wars, along with pretty much every other major armed conflict one could name. Magic zombies. Fast zombies. Zombies in fairy tales, and on every street corner. In fact I’m so overwhelmingly sick of zombies that I’m ceasing to be so afraid of them*. Insult to injury, they’ve become tedious as well as terrifying. There is little that will make me drop a book faster than even a hint of zombieness within.
Strange, then, that I loved Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion so much.
I asked for guest posts making the case for the finalists for the Favorite DC Couples matches and reader Natalie Reed sent me this on Harley and Ivy. Her thoughts follow:
Before I begin, I suppose I should admit a slight bias: I’m not entirely of the opinion that Harley and Ivy’s clandestine tryst was precisely “non-canon”. More like “quasi-canon”. Or “deutero-canon”. Or “scholarly confirmed apocrypha”. And if you go by the whole Word Of Authorial God theory, it was straight-up, well, canon (at least for a given value of Paul Dini’s godhood; and regarding Harley’s infamous statement that her immunity to Ivy’s toxicity was granted so they could “play” together).
Basically, unlike the vast majority of non-canon ships, whereby fans go out seeking sexy (or not-so-sexy) subtext between two characters who seem to pair well together, what was going on between Harley and Ivy was, as often as not, just plain old text. The writers planting those seeds (no pun intended) weren’t simply toying (no pun intended) with us, they were quite deliberately implying a relationship there, and moreover implying a relationship that had a pretty meaningful impact on the story. And on at least one occasion I can think of (Ivy’s confrontation with Harley in Arkham during the finale of Gotham City Sirens), those seeds bore fruit, and became a meaningful, climactic element to the narrative.
Chris Szego takes a look at the men of romance.
During my tenure at the Gutter I’ve said this several times: the central fantasy of the modern Romance novel is not that women women want to be rescued, it’s that men are capable of change. Alpha men often have the most changes to make. Their development is the most dramatic, which makes for more satisfying fiction.
All the current Cultural Gutter editors plus Bride of Frankenstein, Gort, Jane Austen and Godzilla represent in the banner for our indiegogo campaign (which ends today).
(art by Carol Borden, who thinks Jane Austen’s presence is hilarious).
Chris shares her favorite books of 2012.
It’s the end of the year; I work in retail; I have the flu. All of which means that for the past couple weeks I’ve been re-reading rather than reading. Mostly Eva Ibbotson, whose warmth reminds me not only that I love reading, but why. Which makes this a good time for a retrospective list. Below are my top 10 reads for 2012. They’re not ranked in any order, just listed alphabetically by author. If anyone has any to add, please feel free to do so. I can always use more suggestions for what to try next.