Updates, recent and upcoming posts

Greetings! Here’s an update.

Spending many hours here lately

Spending many hours here lately

Since March, I’ve been quiet here, but busy at Book Riot:

Cover comparison: UK v US covers (no pub date)

Slouching Towards Zombieland (June 2015)

Romance Novel Think Pieces for Dummies (June 2015)

Top Responses to the New Fifty Shades of Grey Book (June 2015)

Disney World Guidebooks: A Curated List (May 2015)

Ten Terms the Romance Fandom Taught Me (May 2015)

Buy Borrow Bypass: New Self Help Books (May 2015)

And I’m working on these posts for BR as well:

  • Reading Pathways: Nora Roberts
  • Reading Romance Fiction as Literature
  • Why Romance Fiction Gets so Little Respect (ugh… that title needs to be killed ded).
    • This probably seems easy and maybe overdone to people inside Romancelandia, I don’t think many people have thought much about this. I feel that romance coverage and its reputation has improved a lot, especially in the past five years, and I’m going to acknowledge that in the post, but there’s still a ways to go. Also, it will help a little with a new project, which is modeled after an article called “The Appeal of the Mystery” by Alan Goldman in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
    • In general, it’s been an interesting experience to write for a large site which has a small percentage of romance readers. It can be a challenge. I want to write one way when I think I am talking to my regular interlocutors and a different way when I picture contemporary lit fic readers who make up a big chunk of BR’s main audience.
  • Untapped History (about historical romances with unusual settings or protagonists. Also probably getting a new title.)

I’m going to RWA in July. I plan to do a couple of Book Riot posts related to the conference. I don’t have any other ambitions or plans. It’ll feel nice going to a conference where I am not expected to contribute anything and can fly completely under the radar. I’m super excited to see a few old friends again and meet some long time internet friends in person for the first time.

After about 6 years of talking about romance and going to PCA I finally have an actual peer reviewed article in print.  Free digital copies for anyone who asks! Just kidding. Not really.

I was invited to give a colloquium talk at my very traditional Anglo-American analytic grad school in the fall. I am already terrified.

The first year of being department chair was a learning experience. Mainly I attended long meetings and replaced furniture. Hope to do more this coming year.

A few of bookish folks I know are using TinyLetter to send out “newsletters” which are essentially personal blog posts, and I love getting those emails. Here’s an example by Ann Friedman, one of the Tiny Letters I subscribe to. I like the idea of writing a short personal entry about what I’m reading and watching and liking and hating on the interwebs, which will only be read by a few people who have actually asked to read it. Stay tuned.

Summer is going well so far. I had a very, very hard summer last year. The truth is that I stopped sleeping. Not just a bad night or two, but something out of The Machinist. Going into this summer, I was afraid I would be facing a repeat of that experience, but so far so good. Getting both some work and some rest.

I’ve been reading a lot and enjoying it a lot. After a couple years of 90% digital, I’m back to about 50/50 digital and paper. Very exciting news, I know.

Thanks for reading. Whatever you are reading today I hope you are desperate to get back to it.

9 responses

  1. Me too! I’d love to read your paper and I’m fascinated by your future BR post, “Reading Romance Fiction As Literature” because that’s how I read it. And it doesn’t take away from wallowing in the pleasure of it.

    I slept not at all, or minimally for about four years and there is no worse feeling in the world. Even when you start sleeping “better,” there’s still the fear that it’ll come back. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing better: consistent sleeping & wake-up times are still de rigueur for me.


  2. I’ve missed seeing you too. I like the sound of the tiny letters.

    Sleep disorders are the worst. I had it as part of chronic fatigue back in 1991 and it was the worst. I hope you have solved it, and it does not happen again.


  3. Azteclady — hello back!

    Kay — yeah, I am not really sure what I even mean by reading as literature, but something along those lines. Reading for the things we associate with literary works. I want to be able to make the point without suggesting that only the features culture deems “literary” are truly literary, or that the way culture identifies which books have those features is some kind of pure scientific method. Not sure if that makes any sense. Basically, I want to use but not reify the term “literary” for the purpose of the post.

    De Livres — Hey thanks! I take a medication at night now when I need it which really helps (Trazodone in case anyone is curious) with no grogginess in the morning.


  4. Hurray for sleep! I haven’t had to deal with major insomnia but I’ve reached an age when I no longer have uninterrupted sleep, and it’s wearing. A little bit less every night tells in the long run.

    I really enjoyed your zombie piece at BR–I liked the pondering on why they’re popular. And I look forward to the romance pieces. I like the diversity of BRs coverage and I appreciate that more Rioters are reading some romance and trying to understand the genre.

    I admit to mixed feelings about the Tiny Letter trend. The letters I’ve seen are interesting and you express the appeal of producing one really clearly here. But it kind of feels like your friends deciding to stop having dinner parties and just sending you a Christmas letter every week instead. I don’t want an internet where we all publish at each other rather than having conversations (even comments sections I used to enjoy increasingly feel like that–people announcing positions rather than having a discussion).

    Liked by 1 person

    • On the sleeplessness, it’s definitely partly an aging thing. I accept some sleep issues, but I definitely needed professional help with my summer of 1000 dawns!

      On the zombie piece, I loved The Girl With All The Gifts so much. that’s what spurred it.

      Yes, I totally agree on the reservations about Tiny Letter. I guess there is a way people can reply, but I don’t think they can see each other’s replies. one thing I;ve seen is people talking about it with the author on Twitter, which is very much like blog posts. And if you leave your letters posted and accessible, the way Ann Friedman does, curious Tweeps can go look. But that kind of defeats one of the attractions for me, which was feeling like it was more personal, and that I could therefore be a little more open and less constrained by the blog format.

      But mainly, my thought was, “gee, I’d like to have more opinions on the internet. I don’t seem to be able to have them on RRR, so maybe this newfangled thing will do the trick.” I admit that is not a line of thinking that has been very fruitful for me in the past!


      • Re the issue of getting small opinions out on the internet: maybe twitter is the way? I hope not – I like hearing from you and I don’t use twitter – as you put it once, it is a major time suck.

        Maybe briefer posts on this site?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve grabbed your article from our university library’s access, thanks for the heads up that it’s out there. When I teach graduate historical methods, we do a seminar on reading where I throw a lot about romance reading at them, from eighteenth century to the contemporary era. I might be pulling from some of what you’ve done next go-round.

    Good luck with enjoying the summer. Last summer was my summer of health horrors – May and June were almost wiped out. I look upon my general good health this year as a welcome respite. Time to relax some more and then get back to writing!


    • oh, wow. If you use any of it, let me know how it goes. And yes, there is nothing like poor health to put a baseline of pretty good health into the “great blessings” category.



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