Addicted to Love – The New York Times

Addicted to Love – The New York Times

Jaime Green makes her debut in The Book Review this week. Below, she discusses some of her favorite books, and why she thinks romance matters.

You’re The Times’s romance fiction columnist. What on earth qualifies you?

This is like having to write a cover letter for a job I already have! I started writing about romance novels not to review them, but to explore how they fit into the world — culturally and politically. I’ve been thinking about not only how good, fun and smart these books can be (very, very and very), but also why they matter, what motivates romance authors and what readers find in their work.

Let’s be real, what qualifies anyone to be a book critic?

Here’s what I’m trying to do. First, to look for books that are worth talking about — because they’re great, because they’re interesting or because they’re important. But criticism is neither pure evaluation nor pure dissection. Second, to come to books with an open mind — I like to think about how a book achieves its own goals, and what those goals are, rather than how it meets my own expectations.

The Gray Lady … covering romance novels? Why now?

Romance is one of the biggest genres in publishing. That’s unfortunately been part of why, I think, it’s so often written off. The Times covering romance is an important recognition that these books are a vital part of literary culture. Some readers stick to romance, but plenty of romance readers — including myself — read it among many other genres. And we read The New York Times, too.

Tell me some books you love. Do you feel like you need to say “Middlemarch” and “Madame Bovary” to establish your critical bona fides?

I hope not because I have read neither of those! I adore Scott Hawkins’s “The Library at Mount Char.” I think it’s technically horror, which is a genre I usually avoid — I am way too much of a baby — but this book, while right on the edge of what I can handle, takes beautiful care of its readers, never subjecting them to anything gratuitous and making sure to put them back together at the end. I’ve gone back to reread the last 50 pages multiple times now, whenever I need it back within my heart.

Other books I love: in science fiction, Nancy Kress’s “Probability Moon” and Sue Burke’s “Semiosis.” In fantasy, Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, especially the latest, “Oathbringer.” And now if the anti-genre snoots are at risk of zoning out, I love Eula Biss’s and Paul Lisicky’s book-length essays, I have a longstanding love of A.S. Byatt and some recent novels I’ve loved — as if “literary fiction” isn’t a genre itself — are “Goodbye Vitamin,” “Woman No. 17” and “Exit West.”

A hypothetical: You run into a tweedy man of letters at a literary party and he is nonplused at learning that The Times is reviewing romance novels. What do you do?

Most people who are snooty about romance have never read one or have very outdated ideas of what a romance novel is. Romance novels can be, and often are, extremely feminist, centering women’s experiences and agency. How many books has this tweedy man of letters read where a woman is the main character? Where a woman has a vibrant internal life? Where a woman’s desires are the engine of the plot? Where a woman has sex and isn’t punished for it, but — gasp — enjoys herself? But mostly what I say when someone looks down their nose at romance is, “That’s too bad. They’re really freaking great.”

Source link

About The Author

Momizat Team specialize in designing WordPress themes ... Momizat Team specialize in designing WordPress themes

Related posts

Leave a Reply