|This book is about a BBW (big, beautiful, woman) who falls|
in love with her shapeshifting motorcycle.
Before I get started, I just want to say that I do not mean to disparage anyone's tastes or put down any of the books I mention. If a certain book or trope scratches your itch, I'm glad there's someone writing it for you.
My friends Noni and Bex are both big readers. Bex likes a little BDSM with her billionaires, while Noni's more vanilla. (She'll probably kill me for saying that, but when I brought her a signed copy of the newest Robyn Carr from a convention, she was terrifically excited - but she'd already read it. And the book had been out about 45 minutes.) At any rate, I'm using two of my BFFs as examples because their preferences are so clear-cut. I can practically tell from the cover art whether either of them will like a book.
Every so often one of them will tell me I MUST read something they love. I try to be polite, and sometimes I'll go there, but not always. Mainly, that's because right now I'm all about the men - as in m/m romance. (Hey, if I'm not judging you for your kinks, don't judge me for mine.) In everyday life, me, Bex, and Noni have a whole lot in common, but when it comes to reading, we've each got our own style.
So what's your style? Vampires? Regency fops and the women who love them? Dinosaurs?
That's right. I said DINOSAURS. Because there's apparently a whole subgenre called dino-porn.
|This one is an April Fools joke.|
|This one is (mostly) not a joke at all.|
|This one is deadly serious. Sort of.|
That's right. If you get turned on by triceratops, there's a book out there for you. This makes me think many things. First, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never read any dino-porn, so I can't really comment on the quality of the work. Maybe all three of these books are intended to be humorous. I know the first one, Their Virgin Velociraptor, is a fake cover created as an April Fools joke. The other two are available for purchase on Amazon, and while Gay Dinosaur Billionaire was created by a group of well-known authors as "satire", a spoof of the dino-porn genre, I gotta think there's a tongue-in-cheek element in all of them.
Is that a good thing? In a Facebook chat last week, my friend Bethany-Kris suggested that the romance genre has enough trouble being taken seriously without giving critics an easy target like dino-porn. For well-known authors to make fun of romance is "all-around bad juju."
She's got a point. (And this is the second week in a row Bethany-Kris has said something that inspired me to write a blog post. I'm going to have to give her a by-line.)
Think about it. If the group of authors who wrote Gay Dinosaur Billionaire were best known for their literary fiction, political thriller, or mystery chops (i.e., they were male), they'd be excoriated by the romance community for their disrespectful behavior.
But because the authors are our own, no one seems to have said much. The person using the pen name Nicholas Sparx might be a guy, but he's hidden behind the heavy romance cred brought by the others in the group.
They may not be bighting the hand that feeds them, but they're nibbling on the fingertips, at least.
Because maybe Bethany-Kris is right. Maybe it is bad juju to make fun of a specific subgenre. Romance as a whole is growing in popularity, and the number of subgenres seems to increase every day. Do you like to read about heavy girls gettin' busy? BBW is for you. Animal shifters? Check. Like m-preg? Gotcha covered.
(Sheesh. M-preg. A sub-sub of m/m where one of the heroes gets pregnant. I can't even...but if it works for you, I'm glad it's there.)
I'm glad it's there. That's actually a key concept, because most of contemporary culture frames sexuality from the male point of view. Almost all porn is about the guy. How many mainstream movies can you think of that took an honest look at female sexuality? Shit. It's hard to find movies that have actual female characters rather than cartoon cut-outs. Female vocalists who express their sexuality do it in lowest-common-denominator terms, appealing first and foremost to the men in their audience.
But when you turn on your kindle, no one can tell what you're reading.
All of a sudden, women have a whole genre of literature that belongs to them. (And yeah I said literature, because that's what a lot of it is.) The best romance is well-written and thought provoking, and can give women the opportunity to explore sides of themselves that are shut down by the way they were raised and shut out by societal expectations.
And I don't think you should make fun of that.
Maybe I'm weakening my argument, but I can say with some confidence that I'll be unlikely to read any of the books featured in this post. They're not quite my thing, and honestly, I already can't see the top of my TBR pile. I might try to sell Bex on Riding Harley, though. That might be just her speed...
So what do you think? Did I neglect to mention your favorite kink? What do YOU like to read?