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Posts Tagged ‘romance

“We are all fools in love”*…

 

The most common assumption about romance novels, buoyed by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, is that they are anti-feminist. And though the so-called bodice rippers of the 1970s (in which men who look like Fabio ravish passive sweethearts) are still quite popular, the genre has also expanded rapidly in recent years to include fiction of the paranormal, gay, evangelical, steampunk, time travel and Gothic variety (and many more). Its female leads, in many contexts, have evolved with the times, rendering the notion that romance novels are full of oppressed, unthinking women, profoundly ignorant. Not only is the industry itself rife with female entrepreneurs; its heroines always get what they want. In fact, the only formula that rings true across all romance novels is the HEA: the Happily Ever After. It is unanimously believed to be the defining principle of the genre. “The women always win,” says [filmmaker Laurie] Kahn. “And that doesn’t happen in most places.”…

Find out “Why romance novelists are the rock stars of the literary world.”

* Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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As we still our pounding hearts, we might recall that it was on this date in 1776 that the Illuminati was founded.  While the name has been given to a number of organizations– real and imagined– over the years, this first incarnation was real enough.  It was started by Adam Weishaupt, the only non-clerical professor at the Jesuit University of Ingolstadt– an experience that turned him into a rabid anti-cleric.  He first tried to become a Freemason, but couldn’t afford the initiation fees and dues; so he created his own organization– the Iluminatenorden, or Order of Illuminati.  In some ways a typical Enlightenment secret society, the Illuminati’s goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power.  And like other secret societies with similar goals, it was pretty promptly outlawed by the State at the urging of the Church.  Still, rumors persisted– and persist still– that the Illuminati built a world-wide conspiracy of powerful folks who pull the world’s strings from behind the curtain.

The cover of an Illuminati pamphlet, featuring their “logo”: the owl of Minerva – symbolising wisdom – on top of an opened book

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Written by LW

May 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

Something so good, transmuted into something so bad…

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Last November Rowan Somerville was awarded the Literary Review‘s 18th annual Bad Sex Award

The prize was awarded for passages from his second novel, The Shape of Her. He was presented with the award by Michael Winner on Monday 29 November at a ceremony in St James’s Square. ‘There is nothing more English than bad sex,’ said Somerville, whose first novel, The End of Sleep, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. ‘So on behalf of the nation, I thank you.’ The judges’ minds were made up by sentences such as: ‘Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.’

The other nominees were:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (4th Estate)
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (Atlantic Books)
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon (Atlantic Books)
Maya by Alastair Campbell (Hutchinson)
A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee (Constable & Robinson)
Heartbreak by Craig Raine (Atlantic Books)
Mr Peanut by Adam Ross (Jonathan Cape)

OK, so mainstream novelists sometimes reach embarrassingly as they try to bottle bliss…  But what of those writers who pursue passion as a matter of course?  Now, with the help of Bad Romance Novels (“Bad excerpts from bad Romance Novels”), one can harvest the purple pearls that lurk within bodice-rippers (and also, occasionally, the scribblings of more “traditional” writers like Paulo Coelho or Thomas Pynchon)…  A couple of examples (chosen from those relatively more suitable for work):

He kissed her long and deep, and it was as if someone had just pressed a button marked “sizzle”…
The Billionaire Bodyguard – Sharon Kendrick

Their lips fit together with a perfection he had never known with another woman and she tasted as sweet as a Christmas divinity.
The Greek’s Christmas Baby – Lucy Monroe

UPDATE:  A watchful Twitterer (@jkmyrna, to whom, thanks) has alerted your correspondent to the fact that the “Bad Romance Novels” Tumbler linked above has been shuttered– for plagarizing its content, mostly from Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Quotes.  Interested readers should hie themselves thither.

As we reaffirm the wisdom of keeping some things to ourselves, we might recall  that it was on this date in 1927 that Mae West was sentenced to 10 days in a workhouse on Roosevelt Island (known then as “Welfare Island”) and fined $500 for obscenity for her play Sex… despite the fact that the play had run over a year before the police raided, and had been seen by 325,000 people– including members of the police department and their wives, judges of the criminal courts, and seven members of the district attorney’s staff.  Still, the resulting publicity did great things for Ms. West’s notoriety nationwide.

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Achy, Breaky Hearts…

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Brace yourselves, Dear Readers, for heavy weather on the seas of romance: today– the first Monday in December– is the likeliest day in the year for a break-up.

Lee Byron, collaborator with the oft-featured David McCandless (e.g., here and here) elaborates:

Did you know that the most likely day of the year to be broken up with is the first Monday in December? Perhaps some combination of seasonal affect disorder and a case of the Mondays has warped the idea of you meeting their family over the holidays into something horrid. Consequently, Christmas Day is the least likely day of breakups. If you make it through spring cleaning, watch out for April. April fools, we’re breaking up! No, really…

Peruse his “Breakups – The Visual Miscellaneum” for looks not just at when, but also at how and why…

(TotH to Robert Krulwich)

As we spare those daisies, we might recall that this is the anniversary of a romance between two young sheep herders that lasted two decades (and earned eight Academy Award nominations); it was on this date in 2005 that Brokeback Mountain premiered.

It had to be ewe… (source)

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