Romance readers are a voracious bunch, as anyone familiar with the genre will tell you. We make romance a very big business indeed.
When I picked up my first romance as an adult (I had read a few in middle school — more on that in a later entry), in spring of 2007, I had no idea how hooked I would become. Since then, I have read probably 100 or more novels. Occasionally, I will pick up a book from my shelf and not know whether it belongs in the To Be Read (TBR) pile, the Keeper pile, or the Sell on EBay/Local Used Book Store/Goodwill pile.
There are some great tools online for finding particular titles. All About Romance has a Power Search engine you can use to search by author, title, subgenre, even sensuality level. You can search by hero or heroine name at the Historical Romance Writers site. Or, you can utilize the Help A Bitch Out (HaBO) query at Smart Bitches.
I decided to start this blog to keep tabs on my own journey through the genre. I read several different subgenres of romance, both older titles, and those hot off the press. I’d like to remember what I’ve read and how those books struck me when I read them. The model for the “review and record” aspect of this blog is Rosario, whose blog is one of my inspirations.
I also may have a few things to say about the genre from my personal perspective as an academic who teaches (among other things) feminist theory and gender studies. My research area is not popular culture, and I claim no knowledge of the growing academic literature on romance (for that, see Teach Me Tonight), but I can’t help looking at everything around me through the lens of gender, and, on a personal level, my interest and complete enjoyment of this genre conflicts with my long held belief that it is part of the problem rather than the solution to gender injustice. I hope writing about my experience as a reader will help me work through what I feel is a tension between my professional identity and personal life.