18 Feb

Reading Angst

As will be apparent in an upcoming post about what I’ve been reading, I’ve been having a hard time reading contemporary romance lately, with an 80% didn’t like/didn’t finish rate. These aren’t books I randomly selected—I read samples and negative reviews and didn’t see any red flags to keep me away from the buy button. When I spent my money, I believed I had made a good decision and purchased something there was a likelihood that I would enjoy. (I’m stressing this in the vain hope of making it clear I didn’t go in search of something to be pissy about, which is so often the accusation in response to “I didn’t like a thing that somebody else did.” Truly, I don’t have money to waste on recreational pissiness.)

Here, I will attempt to shed some light on the types of problems I’ve been having, which seem concentrated in contemporaries.

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03 Jan

Intellectually Challenged to a Nonviable Degree

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled into a group of writers complaining about the internalized misogyny of reviewers. Many of the points were valid. A man can screw his way across a continent and still be lovable, but a woman who isn’t a virgin is a filthy whore. A man can be an asshole and still be lovable, but a woman who’s a little bit testy one time is an unlikable bitch. A man can be a multiple murderer and still be lovable, but a woman who steals a loaf of bread to feed her kid should burn in hell for her crimes. I’ve seen all of these. There is a double standard. No question.

But one of the things on the list of complaints was having a heroine labeled TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). I have a whole shelf on my personal Goodreads dedicated to TSTL. I don’t speak for anyone but myself, obviously, but I can tell you that when I use TSTL, it’s not a condemnation of a woman but a condemnation of the writing.

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