Monday, March 07, 2005

Drive By

This is kind of a quickie just to let everyone know that I haven't disappeared. On Wednesday afternoon I have the horror...I mean, honor...of being the Guest Brownie Troup leader for my daughter's troup. As such, I have to figure out what the heck to do with twenty screaming...I mean, lovely...first grade girls and will spend probably every waking minute panicking...I mean, planning...for the meeting. I will get my sanity...I mean, free time...back on Thursday morning.

But before I go, a friend read my latest rants about book covers and directed me to an interesting discussion on a message board she frequents. The message board is one for which you have to register (part of the Lunatic Cafe for Romance Readers), so in case you don't want to do that, one poster made a comment I found pretty much spot-on. I'm going to quote:

AgTigress says this:

"Clinch covers are not even the primary issue here, for me. The point is the use of cover art that is appropriate for kids' books, not adults', namely, pictures that purport to show characters from the book (the hero and heroine, with our without additional characters) enacting a scene from the book. A book illustration, in fact. THAT is what I hate, hate, hate. I don't care whether the picture is of a man and a woman writhing and panting on satin sheets, a bloke tearing the dress off a tarty all-purpose 19th century wench, or a soppy-looking suburban couple with three kids and a dog round a Christmas tree, I don't want ILLUSTRATIONS."

And in a later post she goes on to elaborate:

"...The thing that is deadly for the romance genre is the perception that it consists of simple, unrealistic and mushily sentimental stories, written in an undemanding way that suits readers who are both unintelligent and poorly educated. That is the image projected by the covers of the category romances in the 'non-sensual' series. "

She makes a great point. It's not only the cheesy clinch covers and abundance of male chestage that contribute to the view of romance novels as the genre for the intelligently-impaired. Simpering covers are just as bad. Because the artwork of many series romances often does evoke some kind of 1950s "Dick and Jane" feeling, it doesn't seem unreasonable for non-genre readers to assume that beneath the glossy depiction of pregnant Bitsy and her cowboy Joe is a story not a whole lot deeper than "See Bitsy smile. See Joe smile. They are in love. Good for Bitsy. Good for Joe. Oh, there is a baby. They are a happy family. The End."

Okay...see ya in a couple of days. If I survive the Attack of the Killer Brownies.

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