AAR
Click here for full forums index
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
 
Politics in your leisure reading
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
ladynaava



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 938
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:


So . . . if an author chooses to write about characters whose sympathies are with the South rather than with the North (and who, of course, make that clear at some point in the story), is she also making a political statement?


for me it would not bother me. I like stories set in the South, and so no, I don't see that as a political statement unless all Northerner's are demonized and all Southerners are saintly victims or vice versa.

There were good people on both sides of the war, and many people disagree about that war even today.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Politics in historicals seem to be more 'forgiveable' than in contemporaries, I've noticed--I think probably because of the way mores have changed. For example many views that were considered 'progressive' 100 years ago are taken for granted today.

Whereas in a contemporary, it seems anything can be politicized--if even a thought of abortion crosses someone's mind, if there's a gay character in a relationship, if there are criminal acts portrayed, and so on.

Personally, actual politics bother me far less in books than demonization of a particular group (for example, career women; that one comes up a lot in romance).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
Whereas in a contemporary, it seems anything can be politicized--if even a thought of abortion crosses someone's mind, if there's a gay character in a relationship, if there are criminal acts portrayed, and so on.

Personally, actual politics bother me far less in books than demonization of a particular group (for example, career women; that one comes up a lot in romance).


One of Linda Howard's books Now You See Her has become most politicized for me due to the way she wrote the book with the victim choosing to have an abortion while cheating on her husband the hero of the story.

I am ambivalent about this story because she could have avoided making the victim(Candra) out to be a bad woman. These two actions seemed to say her death was okay because she wasn't a good person. Why couldn't she and the hero have chosen to get a divorce without making her out to be amoral? I have often wondered whether Ms Howard thought the romance community wouldn't accept the story.

I am also ambivalent about the hero as he comes across as a little too morally righteous. He is otherwise a decent character who goes out of his way to protect the heroine(Sweeney) which makes him a decent hero. But his musings about Candra's morals became almost preachy. He's basically a good 'ole boy from the south who made good and that was brought up numerous times through out the book. Again, Candra was a wealthy northerner who just had to be lacking morals. So there was that dichotomy going on as well.

Then Sweeney's parents were bohemian types so she managed to excoriate their morals as being bad parents/people.

The para-normal element of the story was terrific as was the mystery but the social-political undertones were turn-offs. This book has been the most glaring book I've read in terms of social comment that I can recall. And it's a pity that I can't enjoy the book more because I liked the plot.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Guenevere



Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 17
Location: Camelot

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ladynaava wrote:

for me it would not bother me. I like stories set in the South, and so no, I don't see that as a political statement unless all Northerner's are demonized and all Southerners are saintly victims or vice versa.

There were good people on both sides of the war, and many people disagree about that war even today.


There are good people and shades of gray in every war, but I would no more want to read about a Confederate sympathizer or slave holding hero or heroine than I would want to read about a Nazi one.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That may be the reason why Civil War romances and Civil War fiction in general is much rarer these days than it used to be. Because it's still a touchy subject for many Americans.

Interestingly, a lot of German readers love Civil War set novels and movies, because we have no historical baggage with that particular event. It's probably similar to the American fascination for Regency romances - someone else's history is always more interesting and less problem-fraught than one's own.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ladynaava



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 938
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Guenevere"]
ladynaava wrote:

There are good people and shades of gray in every war, but I would no more want to read about a Confederate sympathizer or slave holding hero or heroine than I would want to read about a Nazi one.


And that is certainly your right.

For me, the fact that a person was a confederate sympathizer would not bother me.

As far as a slave holding hero/ine. I could read about those too. While I find slavery a repugnant practice, It is not something limited to just the south. Throughout many periods of history slavery, and its close cousin indentured servitude was practiced. As long as the slavery was not glossed over and made to appear as an ideal lifestyle I could deal with it. I think this type of character particularly works in the romance setting if they become more enlightened over time and give up their slaves and change.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1665

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Politics Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:


One of Linda Howard's books Now You See Her has become most politicized for me due to the way she wrote the book with the murder victim choosing to have an abortion while cheating on her husband, the hero of the story.

I am ambivalent about this story because she could have avoided making the victim (Candra) out to be a bad woman. These two actions seemed to say her death was okay because she wasn't a good person. Why couldn't she and the hero have chosen to get a divorce without making her out to be amoral? I have often wondered whether Ms Howard thought the romance community wouldn't accept the story.

I am also ambivalent about the hero as he comes across as a little too morally righteous. He is otherwise a decent character who goes out of his way to protect the heroine(Sweeney) which makes him a decent hero. But his musings about Candra's morals became almost preachy. He's basically a good 'ole boy from the south who made good and that was brought up numerous times through out the book. Again, Candra was a wealthy northerner who just had to be lacking morals. So there was that dichotomy going on as well.

Then Sweeney's parents were bohemian types so she managed to excoriate their morals as being bad parents/people.

The para-normal element of the story was terrific as was the mystery but the social-political undertones were turn-offs. This book has been the most glaring book I've read in terms of social comment that I can recall. And it's a pity that I can't enjoy the book more because I liked the plot.


It's interesting that you use this book as an example. I don't like books that use certain kinds of shorthand to imply people are bad: the old city versus small town, career versus stay-at-home, wants children versus childless by choice, etc. For me, none of those things automatically tell me whether a character is good or bad, and I don't like it when an author implies that it should. I couldn't finish NYSH because I was turned off by the things you mention. I skimmed the end to see who did it and then left the book behind (I read it on vacation).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sandilib



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
Posts: 388
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting topic. I noticed that Diana Palmer has (had ? I have not read her in a very long time) something against alcohol. IIRC, all her books (series ones) have a scene where one character (usually the hero) will either
1) give a steely glare to a hapless waiter/servant who dares to attempt to pour some wine in his glass, or
2) will get up from the dinner table and bring the offending glass of wine back to the kitchen, usually to the swooning delight of the heroine.

I believe that she is a fairly religious person, and I always wondered if she was infusing her personal beliefs in her stories. Am I the only one who noticed that? It does not bother me, but I always thought that the characters' actions were a bit extreme.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sandilib wrote:
I believe that she is a fairly religious person, and I always wondered if she was infusing her personal beliefs in her stories. Am I the only one who noticed that? It does not bother me, but I always thought that the characters' actions were a bit extreme.

Palmer's characters are extreme, sandilib, and that's a "for sure." However, that other statement you made about infusing personal beliefs in her stories is interesting. I think, whether it's obvious or not, authors can't help bringing to their stories their own personal beliefs. Some just integrate them more tactfully than others when doing so. Some may not even be aware of when they're doing it. The authors who are usually noticed (for better or worse) are those who set out to make a point purposely and perhaps without strategizing (as Krentz' characters would say) very well. All of this, of course, IMO only.


Last edited by Tee on Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
sandilib wrote:
I believe that she is a fairly religious person, and I always wondered if she was infusing her personal beliefs in her stories. Am I the only one who noticed that? It does not bother me, but I always thought that the characters' actions were a bit extreme.

Palmer's characters are extreme, sandilib, and that's a "for sure." .



Yes, I was thinking the same Tee. I don't really remember the avoidance of alcohol, but I do know her heroes seem to all have a caffeine and nicotine addiction. I remember so many of her heroes finishing a cigarette and a cup of coffee then going into a kissing session with the heroine. yucky. So many of her heroes are over-the-top ridiculous, bordering on being verbally abusive to the heroine, but that's just Palmer's style, and I suppose that is why many find her books unreadable or just plain silly.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cora wrote:
That may be the reason why Civil War romances and Civil War fiction in general is much rarer these days than it used to be. Because it's still a touchy subject for many Americans.

Interestingly, a lot of German readers love Civil War set novels and movies, because we have no historical baggage with that particular event. It's probably similar to the American fascination for Regency romances - someone else's history is always more interesting and less problem-fraught than one's own.





Yes, I suppose you are correct. Personally, I love Civil War settings, in and outside the genre. I think they aren't popular simply because American Historical novels aren't as popular as vampires, shape shifters and paranormal in general.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ick. Yeah, I can't stand cigarette smoking heroes, either. What I find really hilarious, though, is when there's a cigarette smoking hero with a keen sense of smell (this cannot happen)! Karen Robards has written at least one, maybe two like this, and I break out laughing every time!
_________________
Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

My blog: http://www.thoughts.com/allergywoman/blog
http://www.shelfari.com/o1517440994
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RichMissTallant



Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola, you raise an interesting question. The Civil War is confusing even for Americans, so it's hard to explain to others what the Conferedacy vs. the North means for some Americans. There will people who will never be able to read a story that features a Confederate sympathiser and not feel put off. That is their right, of course. As a Southerner, reading about a hero or heroine who living in one of the Southern states during the Civil War is kind of neat because I'm reading a historical romance set in my own region, and so often I read romances set in England or elsewhere due to my fondness of Regencies. Of course, when you bring in a character's stance on slavery or the war itself there is a certain amount of politicisation of a historical event occurring, but to me it's not the same as having politics in a contemporary novel. It's easy to get really over-the-top and preachy in the latter and comes across as really jarring sometimes, whereas in historical novels, a good writer could use contentious issues like the Civil War as the historical background.
_________________
"Excuse me," said an icy voice from the bed. "I'm frigging bleeding to death. Mathilda can go tip a pike." -- Derek Craven, Dreaming of You


http://dreamingenigma.livejournal.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm having a problem with this in a book I'm reading right now, Daniel Silva's latest. It's a spy thriller, rather than a romance, so I expect some politics, but good lord. I've always really enjoyed his books--exciting, with a great sense of place, but starting with Prince of Fire, you could see his personal beliefs creeping in--he's put long speeches in his characters mouths about Zionism or how torture is necessary and that worrying about rights is for freethinkers without the stomach for the real world. Often, it's done sort of clunkily--the dreaded "As you know, but let me explain anyway" device and in some ways, it feels like a betrayal of the characters he created, especially his main character. He went from a nuanced, tortured spy to a far more two-dimensional mouthpiece over time.

I generally like Silva's writing and the stories he's tells are exciting, but I don't really enjoy reading a book where the protagonists repeatedly tell me that my beliefs are wrongheaded, naive, stupid and weak in fairly contemptuous tones, but at the same time the rest of it is so exciting and fast paced, I take a deep breath and press on. I think I might be getting to the end of my rope, however.

Has anyone else read him and reacted strongly one way or the other? Or had similar experiences outside the romance genre? I react more to this than politics in romance (not that I haven't had a wallbanger or two--Lady Liberty, I'm looking at you), I think, because it is grounded in a much more realistic setting and addresses some very real national issues directly, rather than skirting around them if they are even present in the first place.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1665

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:26 pm    Post subject: Daniel Silva Reply with quote

Kelly B wrote:

Has anyone else read him and reacted strongly one way or the other? Or had similar experiences outside the romance genre? I react more to this than politics in romance (not that I haven't had a wallbanger or two--Lady Liberty, I'm looking at you), I think, because it is grounded in a much more realistic setting and addresses some very real national issues directly, rather than skirting around them if they are even present in the first place.


I haven't read Silva, but when his latest book came out the reviewer in the Washington Post had exactly the same reaction you did, so you are not alone.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group