Affirmative Action in book reviewing?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 14:46
Posted in category Ponderings

shutduckupicon.jpgI asked Jane on Monday if there was any place she knew of that had done a study of romance numbers since the one RWA had a while back. She remembered a company that had been talked about in the October RWR from RWA. And she posted them today. (oops they are at RWA as well)

I was looking for this info because I came across a review blog My Bookcase by Amy Case, with such gems as the following quotes…

For a real book it would have scored a 5.4, barely passable into print IMO. For a romance novel/BR it was a 7.4, great read for your mother.”

“As it is a romance novel (aka bodice ripper, even though there’s only a hunky chest/bicep combo on the cover) it necessitated the author to add Happily Ever After with lots of babies crap.”

“Overall rating: 9.0 (an 11 if you needed a qualifier to make it compete in the “real” world of literature. Honestly, it doesn’t need it to hold its own against great books. I think the publishing house should be fired, and the writer picked up by Dan Brown’s people.)”

“Overall: 7.4 a Solid score for a romance novel

“Overall: A solid score for a romance novel. Not so solid if you wanted to put it up against literature. But overall a satisfying entry. (not like Dream Hunter) 6.9″

triumph.jpgThere is more since the reviewer seems to read…. wait for it… mainly romance. And there is such a since of shame to that. We need handicap points to make romance novels = “REAL” novels? Really?

If you write a bad book, it is a bad book. I am not going to give you ‘gimme points’ for the genre. There are many romance novels that are far better than what you will find in the fiction section.

Does this mean if we decide to review one of those “real” books we should handicap it and give the book a +2 points to start with because there is no way a “real” book can be as awesome as a romance novel all on its own?

On another note while at RWA I found this very interesting

Settings or Subgenres Romance Readers Enjoy
Romance readers ranked the following setting or plot elements for romance novels in order of most enjoyable:
1. Mystery, Thriller, Action plots preferred by 48% of readers
2. Exotic Settings preferred by 36% of readers
3. Contemporary themes preferred by 33% of readers
4. Inspirational romances with a spiritual sub-plot preferred by 31% of readers
5. Colonial American settings preferred by 27% of readers
6. American West settings preferred by 25 % of readers
7. Historical romance set in England preferred by 24% of readers
8. Scottish-set historical romances preferred by 21% of readers
9. Medieval set romances preferred by 21% of readers
10. Paranormal romances preferred by 18% of readers
11. Futuristic romance preferred by 14% of readers

What’s up with THAT?

You can access the last 8 or so years of RWA’s ROMstats as well. Makes for interesting reading. Well, I think so.

Gwen rants on the retail and review side of the romance disrespect coin here.

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