An unctuous article in the New York Times tells of an uproar about an advertisement in Washington, DC Metro stations that basically says Washington’s subway riders are smarter than other city’s subway riders. The comparison is made with an image of a man reading Plato’s Republic, with the caption “Greater Washington Subway Reading.” The same man reading Abandon, a romance novel, by Kaitlyn O’Connor is labeled “Average Subway Reading”.
The article goes on to quote romance writers and readers including Nora Roberts. Roberts who knows her way around a romance novel, and given her proximity to Washington, DC, maybe the Metro system, too, zeroed in on the fact that 50% of mass market fiction sales are for romance fiction, so that’s likely what people are reading on the Metro. And those same people are likely to be offended by the ads.
The Times article was basically a features piece that writer Ian Urbina got saddled with. I’m not suggesting in the grand scheme of things that the story deserves to be front-page news. But Urbina should understand that not all romance fiction can be classified as a bodice ripper. O’Connor’s novel is actually a futuristic romance. Romantic Times Bookclub gave it three stars.
Urbina muses on the time when it was possibly safe to suggest that Plato was superior to a romance novel. But should it ever be in vogue to bitch slap another genre to feel superior. Republic and Abandon appeal to different audiences. Does one publication or their readers have to be judged “greater”?
And finally…unlike the New York Times, we at MyRomanceStory.com are not afraid to give a shout out to Smart Bitches Trashy Books. In fact the first thing I see every day when I enter the lobby here at the Arrow Towers is what we affectionately call the “grotto”. The life-size papier-mache sculptures of the Smart Bitches Devin Kellogg created are quite breathtaking! On a crisp fall day the warmth from row after row of candles make the grotto downright toasty.