This post at Library Journal made me sad. It’s a late commentary on the whole Joe “No Such Thing as a Conflict of Interest” Konrath/Amazon review situation (I blogged about that here) and also slightly about some review abuse (which I have blogged about here – sarcasm version and here – the Swiftian version as well as here – This is just wrong version.
It’s pretty clear the author of the post isn’t fully informed about the whole Amazon review thing and missed entirely the disturbing implications regarding the outing of Harriet Klausner. That’s a whole other post. Here’s what this post is about: (Emphasis added):
Sitting around all day reading romance novels hardly qualifies as a life, and romance novels hardly qualify as books.
But it’s also hard to feel sorry for customers who were duped into buying a “bad” romance novel by a good review. After all, they’re all bad books. It’s not like people are reading romances for their literary quality. I almost feel sorry for the people who get so worked up over this.
Right. Anyway, I left a comment and since comments are moderated there, it’s possible mine won’t be approved. Here’s what I said:
Wow. I was with you, kind of, up until this: “romance novels hardly qualify as books.” I’m so sorry you feel this way. I am, as you may note, an author of romance. Like many readers and writers of Romance, I am not only a college graduate but in possession of a graduate degree. (In English, by the way.)
It’s been my experience that most people who go down the “All Romance is trash” path have in fact never read a romance. There are as well a lot of people who read one romance (often years ago) didn’t like it, and now, based on a sample size in single digits and in no way reflective of Romances being written today, decided that the entire genre must be awful. This mutually assured stupidity conclusion about the genre and the people who read it is, sadly, all too familiar.
There are so many talented, gifted authors of Romance and they come from all backgrounds, some are academics, some are librarians, some are even men. Since I write in the genre, I happen to know a lot of authors of the genre. They are lawyers, PhDs, engineers, technologists, teachers. There are also, by the way, many fine Romance authors who did not go to college, but let me ask you this:
Do you really believe that so many smart, educated women (and a few men) would ALL write awful books with no redeeming value? Are you honestly willing to suggest that’s remotely possible?
Please, please, consider the possibility that you are wrong. Maybe Romance just isn’t the genre for you, but I can assure you there are Romances out there as fine, or finer, than any literature you care to name.