90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Big Business of Bodice Rippers

The best-selling literary genre in the world: romance novels. We’ll look at the red-hot literature of love.

A collection of romance novels on display. (Courtesy RoniLoren / Flickr)

A collection of romance novels on display. (Courtesy RoniLoren / Flickr)

Once you could tell what people were reading by the cover of their book.  Now, so much is on Kindle and its cousins that you don’t know.  But we’ll tell you.  By raw numbers, the odds are they’re reading romance novels.  “Scoundrel’s Captive.”  “Temptation Ridge.”  “My Fair Viking.”  “Montana Bride.”  Romance novels – what we once called “bodice rippers” – are a $1.4 billion market.  That’s twice the size of “inspirational”.  A billion more than “literary” fiction.  What’s in it?  Well, a lot of sex.  And emotion.  And figuring out gender roles.  This hour On Point:  reading romance, and where the steam is now.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Wendy Crutcher, librarian at the Orange Country Public Library (CA). Romance Writers of America “Librarian of the Year” in 2011. Blogger at “The Misadventures of Super Librarian.” (@superwendy)

Angela Knight, New York Times-bestselling romance and erotic author. (@AngelaKnight)

Jesse Barron, editor at Harper’s Magazine. His piece in the latest issue, “Bad Romance,” [Paywall] details his trip to the first annual Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR: Romance Novels Sweep Readers Off Their Feet With Predictability — “One thing that you have understand if you’re gonna get into writing romance is that the things that are valued in that genre are not the same things that are valued when we read something like literary fiction. So you’re gonna want to hone your prose until its extremely clear, it’s very, very fast, the dialogue is funny and the plots are really engaging.”

Huffington Post: The Real Men Who Read Romance Novels — “Romance novels are often dismissed as guilty pleasures and something to be ashamed of by both men and women. In fact, as a woman, I often notice people are surprised to learn that I, with my two English literature degrees, write romance novels. While guys reading ‘girls books’ confounds our gender expectations and may lead to an extra element of surprise and snark, it seems that attitude often just comes with the genre — no matter who is reading it.”

Bangor Daily News: Romance Writers name Old Town woman Librarian of the Year — “When Romance Writers of America announced that Whitten had received the award, she received congratulations from members via email from all over the United States. She will be the guest of honor at the organization’s conference in July in Atlanta, where she will address several thousand people. ‘I’m passionate about the romance genre, a strong proponent of it,’ Whitten said.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 22, 2014
President Barack Obama gestures during a statement in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Washington. Obama spoke after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A tough, critical examination of US plans to take on ISIS. Strategy in the hot seat.

Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP/Jason DeCrow)

Big climate protests in New York before a big UN summit. Activist and author Naomi Klein says change the economy or die. She’s with us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

 
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment