eBook Details

Beyond Heaving Bosoms

Beyond Heaving Bosoms

By: Candy Tan | Other books by Candy Tan
      Sarah Wendell | Other books by Sarah Wendell
Published By: Touchstone
Published: Apr 14, 2009
    Omnilit Best Seller 
Price: $11.99
Available in: Secure Adobe Epub eBook
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Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Candy Tan, Sarah Wendell - Social Science

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name...

We do it in the dark. Under the sheets. With a penlight. We wear sunglasses and a baseball hat at the bookstore. We have a "special place" where we store them. Let's face it: Not many folks are willing to publicly admit they love romance novels. Meanwhile, romance continues to be the bestselling fiction genre. Ever. So what's with all the shame?

Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan — the creators of the wildly popular blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books — have no shame! They look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of romance novels and tackle the hard issues and questions:

— The heroine's irresistible Magic Hoo Hoo and the hero's untamable Wang of Mighty Lovin'

— Sexual trends. Simultaneous orgasms. Hymens. And is anal really the new oral?

— Romance novel cover requirements: man titty, camel toe, flowers, long hair, animals, and the O-face

— Are romance novels really candy-coated porn or vehicles by which we understand our sexual and gender politics?

With insider advice for writing romances, fun games to discover your inner Viking warrior, and interviews with famous romance authors, Beyond Heaving Bosoms shows that while some romance novels are silly — maybe even tawdry — they can also be intelligent, savvy, feminist, and fabulous, just like their readers!

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Chapter Cleavage

An Introduction to Romance and to the Smart Bitches


No, no, don't hide your romance novel. You don't have to wrap it in a quilted cover or slide it in between the pages of The New Yorker. We know you're smart. We also know you like romance novels.

Your romance novels are welcome here. Celebrated. Loved. Cuddled, even, if they're particularly good. Adorned with man titty and paraded up and down the street to acclaim, applause, and perhaps stray dollar bills. We'll occasionally poke -- with savage abandon, even -- at the more ludicrous aspects of the genre, but we kvetch because we love. Our point is:


This is Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels. We're not egomaniacal enough to think it's the Definitive Guide to Romance Novels, but guides written for readers by readers are few and far between. There are plenty of articles and books that dismiss the genre, and some excellent academic examinations that subject the genre to a long-overdue analysis. Us? We're here to throw a party for the genre -- to celebrate its soaring successes as well as its appalling excesses, and to raise a beverage to the continued health and happiness of our favorite reading material. And yes, we're here to throw a drunken yet solidly comforting arm around your shoulders and say, "Oh, yes! We read them! We love them! Even the awful ones, them, too. And people who think we're dumb for reading them? Screw 'em! What the hell do they know? "

There are some things only a reader of romance can understand and appreciate. The bemulleted cover models. The alpha hero whom you love to read about but who'd be fodder for COPS episodes in real life. The heroines who are either so feisty they make your teeth hurt, or the embodiment of every virtue known to man, dog, and Chthonic deities. Deep tongue kissing first thing in the morning after a long night of bonkety-bonk, because romance protagonists do not ever have morning breath.

Then there are the fun parts of romance novels: the escape into a story that's happy and satisfying, but won't insult your intelligence. The spicy passages that feature...spicy passages. The characters you befriend and revisit when you're feeling down or in need of comfort reading. The stories that unabashedly depict love, relationships, and happiness.

There's nothing quite like a beautifully executed romance novel or the afterglow upon finishing an especially good one, and that's why we Smart Bitches are celebrating them.

If you were to gather romance readers into one room, that room would circle the earth seventeen times and do the hokey-pokey while it turned itself around. Most likely we'd all get seasick. But while we fought for the Dramamine, no doubt we'd notice that romance readers represent an astonishing cross section of political, social, religious, and economic groups. According to the oft-quoted statistic from Romance Writers of America (RWA), one out of every five people reads romance. This is, in mathematically correct notation, "a shitfuckton of people." A quick examination of the highlights of those statistics yields numbers with decimal points that are necessary only because that many zeroes become tiresome to type out. In 2006, romance accounted for $1.37 billion in sales, and 64.6 million Americans read at least one romance in 2005. No matter what you do to those numbers, whether you divide them or watch them do a tango, those numbers are freaking huge.

And yet, despite the millions of dollars and those millions of readers and that (quivering alabaster) mound of books sold in every language known...

Beyond Heaving Bosoms
By: Candy Tan, Sarah Wendell
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