Will The Last Person To Be Surprised Please Return The Books?

December 27th, 2004 · 6 Comments
by Booksquare

Genre fiction is popular with library patrons.

Yes, yes, we know. Blurting out shocking news is rude. We should have prepared you. To be honest, we tried to ease our way into this post, but found the best approach was fast and blunt. It’s how we’d want to hear this.

So, as it shakes out this week (which apparently closely resembles other weeks, except more people are on vacation), mysteries are hot. Romances are almost as hot. Mysteries with romantic sub-plots or romances with mystery plots (yes, we typed correctly…no matter how much you try, “romance” isn’t really a plotline) are hotter than Fresno in August*. Also, The Da Vinci Code remains unread** by a certain percentage of Americans. We’re not sure how this is possible, but the numbers don’t lie.

One might think this is bad news for other types of fiction. Au contraire! This is the best of all possible news because it says something important: people are, despite news to the contrary, still reading. We know there’s been some concern on this point in the past year, but let us reassure you: today it might be Catherine Coulter, tomorrow Neal Stephenson, and Wednesday, heck, it might very well be Terry Southern. One never knows what will leap off the shelves when cruising a library.

* – This is something we recommend you take on faith rather than personal experience.
** – Our alternate theory is that people are reading it multiple times. This makes us very uncomfortable, so we try not to mention it out loud.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

6 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Dec 28, 2004 at 9:05 am

    On a similar note, just this morning I found this breathtaking assertion on About.com: “Romance novels not only bring decent income, they provide excellent training for more serious writing.” That’s stupid and insulting on so many levels, I hardly knew where to start, but I blogged about, anyway. Check it out at http://brendacoulter.blogspot.com

  • Brenda Coulter // Dec 28, 2004 at 10:49 am

    What is it about us romance readers/writers that scares the literati so? And why, when romance is by far the biggest slab of the genre fiction pie, do even romance READERS, bless their hearts, often apologize for their love of “those trashy books”?

    Back to the literati. Since they’re not into romance, does that mean they won’t procreate? Gee, maybe all we have to do is outlast ’em.

  • booksquare // Dec 28, 2004 at 10:57 am

    excellent post, Brenda! I do so love a good rant, and that particular quote would have pushed me over the edge (if you hadn’t been pushed first, so to speak!). As I’m desperately trying to pull together a manuscript to send to an agent I thought had forgotten about me (Merry Christmas to me!), I’m thinking about how very serious I am about my writing. Ironically, this particular book is the closest I’ve ever come to the traditional romance novel structure…yes, despite the, uh, formula and “it’s easy, anyone can do it” aspects of romance writing, I have managed to fail miserably at the task. Yet I keep trying.

    As for the world fearing romance and women’s fiction, ah, a favorite topic. A topic that brings me joy. So much so that I may post on the topic again this week. Basically, it all comes down to subversion. Women’s fiction is and has always been subversive. Especially in eras when women couldn’t speak freely…somehow those “silly” novels flew under the radar. There is another parallel here, but I’ll explore it more when I write at length on the topic!

  • Brenda Coulter // Dec 28, 2004 at 11:33 am

    Oooh, I can’t wait to read your article. I’m so proud to be even a small part of this “subversive” movement!

  • Susan Gable // Dec 30, 2004 at 7:46 am

    Ack, Brenda! I clicked through and read your blog. Yeesh. Oh, yes, just dash off one of those trashy novels and strike it rich. No problem. (sigh) Great analysis of the Stupid Person, though. (G)

    As for the Da Vinci Code, I have to confess, I’m one of the people who hasn’t read it, and really don’t have any intention of reading it. It doesn’t really appeal to me, and I have too huge a TBR pile already to “waste” my precious reading time to read something just because “everyone else is reading it.” (G)

  • booksquare // Dec 30, 2004 at 7:51 pm

    I’ll make your life easy, Susan (welcome back, by the way…we’ve missed you!). There are several passages where we are told something important in narrative. Then, a few pages later, the brilliant hero explains the concept to heroine via snappy dialogue. However, because the concept is complex, we feel superior to her because we already know everything there is to know about the topic.

    Also, it goes on a little long for my taste. Sort of like hitting word count, but not having enough story to fill out the blank space. But I’m a tough audience!