This week is Banned Books Week — a time to celebrate and acknowledge all the great and not-so-great works of literature that at one point or another have been considered too hot or too controversial for libraries. Among the most famous banned books? J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Banned Book Week is a great time to celebrate our freedom to read, and to think about how important access to information really is.
It’s also a time to reflect on the books we were banned from reading growing up … Keep reading »
In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of book trends. We’ve over-mined vampire/human love, exhausted horror updates of classics, and have almost reached the saturation point on Swedish mysteries. But according to USA Today, a new book trend is ascendant: Amish romance novels. Keep reading »
In “bonnet books,” as Amish romances are called, the author’s idea of a sexual climax is typically a few (sinful!) kisses spread throughout 300 pages. Sounds hawt, huh? But Amish romances, such as ones by Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Cindy Woodsmall, are selling by the millions. Says Barnes & Nobel book buyer, Jane Love, “It’s almost like you put a person with a bonnet or an Amish field in the background and it automatically starts to sell well!” [WSJ]
Yet “bonnet books” surely have more readers than just God-fearing folks who churn their own butter. (I’ve seen the books on the Borders’ shelves shopped by my fellow Connecticut suburbanites and, trust me, those people are pretty depraved.) I guess temptation, forbidden love and scandal—whether with vampires, NASCAR drivers, or the Amish—appeal to everybody!
After the jump, a few sexy, saucy bits from Amish romance novels that’ll have your bonnet all tied up. Keep reading »
I don’t think that I’ve ever read a romance novel. I don’t really go for the mushy stuff. But whatever floats your boat, I always say. I guess I don’t really “get” them. They seem so unbelievable. That’s why when I saw these NASCAR-themed romance novels from Harlequin — yes, I said NASCAR-themed romance novels — I figured it was the Photoshop work of some dude blog. So, I googled around, and, lo’ and behold, Harlequin really does have an entire series of romantic “Stories Set in the World of NASCAR”. With titles like One Track Mind (steamy!), Checkered Past (scandalous!), and Black Flag White Lies (my favorite!), it appears that the racing track is as good a place for hot and steamy literary romances as any other locale. After the jump, read an excerpt from Over the Wall, in which racing team manager Nathan Cargill hires fitness trainer Stacy Evans, breaking his cardinal rule to never mix business with pleasure. Keep reading »
In a recession, people want escapism and a happy ending. The depressing economic situation has lead to an increase in sales of romance novels, while most other genres are having a difficult time selling at all. Harlequin Enterprises, the grande dame of the romance genre, reported a 32 percent increase in 2008 earnings during the fourth quarter, compared to a year earlier. Sales in the first quarter of 2009 also remained strong, said Harlequin’s chief executive. During the Great Depression, Gone With the Wind was a blockbuster book, and readers today are looking for a similar escape from the harsh reality of foreclosures, lay-offs, and rising prices. Romance novels not only provide a welcome happy ending, but they’re also cheap, which is a plus for anyone trying to limit their guilty pleasures spending. Most paperback novels sell for $7.99 or less, compared to larger trade paperbacks that cost $12 to $15. It’s not clear, however, how much it will cost your ego if you’re caught reading a sappy romance novel in public. [NY Times] Keep reading »