Nancy: Romance is the Shizzle

OK, that might be a terrible and decidedly dated title for a blog post, but what’s important here is the message. Romance is hot! I’m not talking about 4-alarm heat levels based sexual explicitness. I’m talking about the state of the market. While other fiction genres struggle to recover from the hit book buying took last November (after something happened…something cataclysmic and unprecedented…ring any bells?), the romance genre is leading the pack in rebounding.

According to an article on titled Welcome to the Romance Resistance, booksellers, publishers, and indie authors are reporting record sales in the genre. The article credits the escapism the genre offers its readers, something many women (remembering that women make up 84% of romance’s readers) are seeking  during these trouble times. No doubt there’s something to that. But other genres offer escapism, too, so what else is romance offering its readers?

It’s another e word. Empowerment. We’re seeing tremendous pushes toward regression in women’s rights, on issues ranging from workplace protections to bodily autonomy. Much of the romance genre provides a ballast to this frightening trend. Authors across the genre write about heroines who are smart, capable, and full of agency. Heroines who are empowered.

We’ve seen how threatening empowered women are to the powers that be and the pushback that women’s societal strides forward have engendered. But we must keep that forward momentum. When fighting the good fight exhausts us, we can take a break and sink into a good book for a little bit of escapism and a big dose of ‘woman power’.

Friend of the blog Jennifer Crusie has said romance is the most subversively feminist genre she’s ever read. That subversion, and the escapism, empowerment, and celebration it brings with it are center stage right now. So let your romance flags fly, readers and writers of this awesome genre!


Note: This week, whether you’re stoking your creativity by writing your own romance story or immersing yourself in someone else’s story world, how about a little musical accompaniment? Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash Broadway hit Hamilton, has undertaken a musical project to help victims of Hurricane Maria. If you want to hear him talk about the creative process of writing and recording the song Almost Like Praying with a whole host of Latinx stars, check out NPR’s interview with Miranda. To get straight to the music, check out the video on YouTube. Whether you stream the song or buy, the proceeds go to the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.

5 thoughts on “Nancy: Romance is the Shizzle

  1. I had read this article in Salon, too—without surprise that in times of difficulty, readers look to books to cheer themselves up or escape their troubles momentarily. And I’m way behind culturally, so I was unaware of Lin-Manual Miranda’s song. Loved it! And donated. Thanks for the link.

  2. Hoorah! And I’ll check out the NPR stuff as soon as I can get a quiet moment. I love Lin-Manuel. I used to listen to NPR in the car, but then it became harder to stream it (had to click buttons while driving!) and then I started listening to music instead of news . . . probably for the best.

    We do need coping strategies for all the powerlessness in the air. Reading quietly in one’s own room does seem like a good way to think about the storm going on around us.

    • Yes, we have to find ways to recharge ourselves. Music, books, interacting with live people – all are good for the soul. And I feel desperately driven to consume ALL THE NEWS, but that way lies insanity, so I have to balance being informed/reacting if and when I can, and keeping my wits about me. And then I just need a nap. Ugh.

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