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Under the sheets. With a penlight. We wear sunglasses and a baseball hat at the bookstore. We have a "special place" where we store them. Let's face it: Not many folks are willing to publicly admit they love romance novels. Meanwhile, romance continues to be the bestselling fiction genre. So what's with. So what's with all the shame? They look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of romance novels and tackle the hard issues and questions:. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Candy Tan. They look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of romance novels and tackle the hard issues and questions: -- The heroine's irresistible Magic Hoo Hoo and the hero's untamable Wang of Mighty Lovin' -- Sexual trends. Simultaneous orgasms.
And is anal really the new oral? With insider advice for writing romances, fun games to discover your inner Viking warrior, and interviews with famous romance authors, Beyond Heaving Bosoms shows that while some romance novels are silly -- maybe even tawdry -- they can also be intelligent, savvy, feminist, and fabulous, just like their readers!
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 20, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: scribd , non-fiction , , e-book , humor. As I scrolled through all the books available, I noticed this one, and because I was already in a pretty defensive mood that day, I added it to my TBR pile.
I was a late bloomer to the genre, but once I discovered romance novels, I never really felt like I had to hide my reading material, nor did I experience any feelings of embarrassment, much less shame, for reading romance novels. In the mid-eighties, I quit work to be a stay at home mom. Six years later, I rejoined the workforce. It was then that I discovered any mention of romance- whether it was movies or books, was severely frowned upon.
Funny, though, with so many songs based on love and angst and heartbreak, no one seemed offended by that, in the least The basis for such a low opinion of the romance genre was…. Women are not dumb. I was given the impression that as a mature woman, a full -fledged, card carrying, flag waving, feminist, employed in a managerial position, that it was time to put aside childish fairytales and read something far more suitable. The only romance I read was in the form of romantic suspense, because it was also considered a mystery, which gave me an out- or an excuse.
But, after I retired, I once again began to seriously pursue my hobby of collecting vintage paperbacks, which is how I became reacquainted with romance novels. I remembered those long tomes, too- the sagas that stretched over several books, featuring one heroine in each installment- or her offspring. But, not all the books with those torrid covers are bodice rippers- like the Zebra line- which only LOOKED like they might be bodice rippers.
They literally changed the romance genre, including explicit sex scenes, never before featured in novels for women, which eventually, like it or not, morphed into the type of romance novels enjoyed by millions of women today. However, those very same groundbreaking novels contributed to the backlash, the misconceptions, and bad reputation romances novels often endure, now more than ever, it seems.
Once I started reading current romance again, I found the genre had gone through some pretty big changes- mostly for the better, but not without issues. While this book is dated to some extent, since it predates the explosion of erotic and erotica that was ushered in with Fifty Shades of Grey , it still gives romance readers a bit of history that explains the psychology behind the books, why we love them, why and how they obtained a bad rep, and so forth. However, lovers of romance are not let off the hook easily by the authors and will get a talking to on a few occasions, as well.
But, mostly, this book is written in a highly entertaining and comedic way that was hysterically funny, and allows romance lovers to laugh at themselves, admit there are some issues that need to be addressed and fixed, and not to take all the criticism to heart.
Although, the genre is ever changing, with trends and tropes coming and going, this ten -year old book, showing a few signs of age, is still one I highly recommend, if for no other reason, than to view the history of romance and get a glimpse into the psychology behind it, which might give you a better understanding of why it is so incredibly popular, despite the bad reputation. I got a real kick out of it, but mostly it validated me again, after suffering through an identity crisis of sorts with romance novels in past couple of years.
In the spirit of every great romance novel ever written- May we all live Happily Ever After" 4 stars View all 49 comments. If your TBR list is looking sparse or you enjoy meta-think pieces about your favorite genre, you should pick up this book right now. NotBiased I love romance novels - a lot. I'm creator and moderator of a romance group called Unapologetic Romance Readers , a promotional-free group involving critical discussion of popular and not-so-popular romance titles.
In a given year, I probably read between romance titles alone. I buy them in public and in private, I read them on the bus. I love romance novels, and I don't care who knows. The Smart Bitches obviously feel the same way. I've been following their blog for a while, and they have some of the best reviews of bodice-rippers I've ever seen some of their Johanna Lindsey and Fern Michaels reviews have moved me to tears When I found out they published a book, I was all over that like white on rice.
I've had people come up to me, and tell me that they thought romance novels are stupid. One man saw a vintage bodice-ripper in my hands at a thrift store and bragged about how dumb he thought they were, and their only redeeming value was in reselling autographed first editions for big bucks at swap meets. I have people who continually comment on my book reviews and say, "Why are you reading this? This sounds so stupid. I would never read this. I'm not sure what these people's goals are in bragging about their disdain of romance.
What do they want? The only difference? Those latter genres aren't being exclusively marketed to and written by women. What makes romance criticism even more aggravating is that many of the critics are people often men, but not always who picked up a bodice-ripper once, in the 70s, or flipped through Twilight "once, to see what all the fuss was about" and are using that as their yardstick to judge all romance ever, thereby contributing to the stereotype that all romances are created equal and are therefore interchangeable. I can see the anti-feminists side-eying this book, and no, even though the bulk of this book is written with the feminist, forward-thinking woman in mind, it's not all "waaaah, someone told me the book I was reading was dumb.
The last part of the book is written "choose your own adventure" style and really serves to highlight how unhealthy and ridiculous some of the tropes in romance novels would be in real life, and yet somehow makes them hilarious and endearing. It's followed by a "mad libs" style game that does the same thing with purple prose. Again, this never feels mean-spirited. Not like those "why are you reading this? No, this is fine parody, and feels more like a heavy wink than a backhanded slap.
I would love to see the Smart Bitches write a follow-up to this book, since romance has changed so much in the eight years since this was published, and I'd love to see their reviews of the POC rep books that are slowly trickling into the market in greater numbers, as well as college romance, mainstream erotica publications, and that mutated black sheep in the romance family If you love romance novels at all, you should read this book.
Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels
It's an ode to the genre, as well as a parody, and achieves a nice balance between the two. If you're not a fan of romance, you might not enjoy this quite as much because the book is written for an audience that is familiar with most big-name romance authors and romance cliches and romance tropes. You might still have a laugh or two or three, or four , but I think some of the jokes and references might go over your head. These authors really love Laura Kinsale. View all 24 comments. Apr 22, Tammy rated it it was amazing Shelves: reads , humor.
It includes a brief history of the genre. An overview of commonly used tropes, plots, and cliches'. A comparison of Old Skool vs. New School, complete with flowchart. And predictions for future trends.
It's full of the snarky humor and clever insights that I expected, as well as serious essays and citings to famous works in the field of romantic academia. It also contains surprising facts. Did you know that approx. More than any other genre? In essence, the romance genre basically pays for the rest of publishing industry. So while the romance genre is often stereotyped and disrespected, there is plenty of supporting evidence that there are a LOT of shameful closet romance readers out there disguised as literary snobs.
It's Not Chick Porn. Kleypas had some very interesting thoughts as to why she believes the female protoganist is the placeholder in a romance novel. I was pleased to see a section on the Carrie Edward's plagiarism scandal, complete with quotes from Nora Roberts. For entertainment value, there are a plethora of lists, games, cover snark, the SB dictionary, flowcharts and more games.
There is even a section at the back of the book where you can write your own romance novel. Wanna have some real fun? Look for "A Hymn to a Hymen" or check out the list of hero's who made it on the SB list of alpholes alphas who are unredeemable assholes. Do Sarah and Candy from the SB blog tell us what to read and bash us over the head with their opinions? Their research is thorough. Their analysis sound. Their book is endorsed by Kleypas and Nora Roberts. That was enough for me! Even though the authors sometimes poke fun at the genre, you get the feeling that you are reading the ramblings of very good friends who know and love the romance genre as much as you do.
View all 15 comments. Apr 30, Eastofoz rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Readers who want to know about the general history of the romance novel. Shelves: non-fiction. Lots of talk about this book being rip-roaringly funny which it is -- some of the time. Apart fro Lots of talk about this book being rip-roaringly funny which it is -- some of the time. There was a very interesting part about the Cassie Edwards plagiarism scandal of too. When her book came out this was all high up there on the discussion boards so it was good that they devoted a few paragraphs to the more controversial aspects of romance novels like why rape is used and they give some thought provoking reasons for it.
There are also author interviews and commentaries. The kiddie song The Hokey Pokey was good for a laugh or two too. Not much attention was paid to Inspirational romances which was a bit of a hole in their research. According to some big name magazines like Time Inspirationals are one of the up and coming types of romances. Some mention was made about African American romance as well as Gay romance and how they are perceived.
They pretty much cover all the standards like historicals, paranormals especially the current vampire craze , romantic suspense, erotica, category romances etc etc. They also try to suggest in what direction romance may go in for the future. So, if you want to know why romance is the number one seller in books, but also the most mocked, and you want to read about it in a generally funny informative way this could be something to pick up whether you're a die hard fan or a mocker par excellence ;-.
View all 17 comments. Mar 17, seton rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. The good news is that for lovers of the Smart Bitches blog, it's the same irreverent snarky humor that we all know and love. The bad news is that these are not blog posts but a book. And the book has a bit of a multiple personality. There are games. There are serious essays on the cultural aspects of all things in Romance Reading History with lots of citings to famous essays in the field of academic study of romances. There are lists. There are more games. There is cover snark. There are intervie The good news is that for lovers of the Smart Bitches blog, it's the same irreverent snarky humor that we all know and love.
The SBs officially reflect for the first time on that Cassie Edwards plagiarism scandal and their part in it. Then the SBs forecast on the future of romances. Then an abrupt ending. My preference would have been that this be a humor book all the way through. Or an academic study all the way through. I found the throw- everything-onto-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks-approach kinda jarring but overall, an entertaining and informative read.
View all 6 comments. Feb 24, Lyuda rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Their snarky humor, clever observations on culture in general and romance specifically, and easy-breezy writing style made me do a lot of nodding in agreement and laugh so hard I had tears at a few points. Their views about why romance genre receives such a poor treatment despite its overwhelming popularity, why educated women read romances, and why romances are here to stay resonated with me specially.
I would say that especially gratifying was that the wit and the snark were done in a loving and self-deprecating way. Couple of points of caution: Firstly, the book was released in , so you will not see the latest trends and changes in the Romancelandia and they are significant ones, for sure. Secondly, the e-version may not be the best option due to the way the book is written games, inserts, back-and-forth references, etc.
Get the paperback version if you want to fully enjoy the read. View all 11 comments. Nov 11, FlibBityFLooB rated it really liked it Shelves: made-me-laugh , read-in , non-fiction , witty-i-am-not. This was an inane and silly guide to romances, albeit immensely funny at times. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing so hard I had tears at a few points. On the other hand, the humor in this book is definitely not for everyone, and it can be downright juvenile at certain points.