Books to the Sky

polyester suits and shoulder pads, oh my

Posted on: June 28, 2008

There’s a great post up on Jezebel about Harlequin romances from the 80s, full of bad fashion and misogyny. Good times, right? They pull some quotes where the hero is rampant in his assholery, basically threatening the heroine with his love. “I shall push you around and say mean things and you will swoon!” is basically the message.

Some of this still surfaces in romance novels published now, although either a) I am mostly reading slightly subversive romances and thus avoiding a lot of it, or b) it’s a lot less prevalent. I’d bet both are true.

Speaking of which, I just finished Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase, in which the heroine is a whore and reminds you of same on just about every page. The book is fluffy and flawed (mostly, I think the characters are a little underdeveloped) but still a fun read. And, see, there the heroine makes a lot of “I will belong to no man!” speeches and avoids some of the tiresome virgin heroine tropes–that I really despise in my historical romance–by being a loose woman, so thumbs up all around. Sort of the opposite of those 80s Harlequins. Seriously, go read the Jezebel post and be amazed.

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1 Response to "polyester suits and shoulder pads, oh my"

Wow. It’s like… if Ayn Rand decided to get out of the philosophizing business and just re-wrote the Fountainhead scene where Howard rapes Dominique OVER AND OVER AGAIN (and I say this as someone who enjoys moderated and far-between doses of Rand).

It also reminds me of one of my favorite Harry Potter ships. Way too much of it is written like that. And yes, I am too ashamed to say what ship that is.

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Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
--Arnold Lobel

From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
--Groucho Marx

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