A Little Bit of Book News for the Holidays

christmastree Maybe it’s my lack of affection for the massive consumption side of Christmas(or my resistance to being anywhere near a mall between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), but for some reason, I always find myself coasting into those last few days before Christmas just a bit unprepared. Even as I resist the gift frenzy, I do find myself with an affection for holiday romance, listening to carols on Pandora, and maybe feeling a bit more festive as I wander the internet. Here are some of the interesting reads I’ve found in my travels lately:

– For those who completely missed out on their internet/social media ruling, there was A Kerfuffle last week. I thought about writing a blog piece to cover this trainwreck of a piece by Palash Ghosh and the backlash that ensued, but in the end decided that there really wasn’t too much to say that hasn’t already been said by me or other bloggers in the past – not to mention Laurie and some of the romance authors and reviewers who were online way before some of us writing today. Quite frankly, after having seen romance readers mocked in the press for years, this round of looking down on romance readers has a feel of “same condescension, different jackass” about it.

I’ve been reviewing online since 2003, and both reading romance and lurking online longer than that, and this is a debate I’ve seen before. It will probably happen again, as it it seems like every year, at least one commentator in a major publication feels compelled to make fun of romance even though he/she has little familiarity with the genre. And I’m sure that there will also be defensive “But romance ISN’T trashy!” pieces out there as well. However, after years of watching the debate, I have to say that some of the romance pieces I like the best aren’t the ones which start out on the defensive, but rather those that just go straight to why we love romance and what it has to offer. For instance, this USA Today piece from last year talks about the appeal of romance in a positive light, and Sarah MacLean’s letter to the New York Times speaks well about how romance authors need to know how to write sex and what makes a good sex scene.

– At this time of year, Christmas is like the elephant in the room. You just can’t miss it, and there’s certainly plenty of talk about the holidays and holiday reading out there. Author Katharine Ashe put a roundup of holiday titles on her blog. And I enjoyed Sunita’s discussion of holiday romances from the perspective of someone who is neither Christian nor Jewish.

Holiday romance was also the theme for the multi-blog TBR Challenge this month. I normally love holiday reads, but my Challenge book was a little less than successful for me. I think the Signet Regency anthologies are probably some of my favorite Christmas romances of all time. What are some of yours?

– And for every Christmas romance post, I also see tons of comments from folks who aren’t into the Christmas books. So, what NON-holiday books do you want to read this week?

– Moving on to something NOT holiday-related, I enjoyed this list of things learned from Jane Austen that Myretta Robens from Republic of Pemberley posted. I especially love that first quote on being an aunt.

– To celebrate the release of The Splendour Falls, Susanna Kearsley is going on tour with some of her friends. I’ll be at the January 18, 2014 event in Virginia with Susanna Kearsley, Deanna Raybourn, and Joanna Bourne, and I’m very excited about it!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

– Lynn Spencer