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Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels Paperback – April 14, 2009


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Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels + Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels + Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance (New Cultural Studies)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416571221
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416571223
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Funny, irreverent, and insightful, this guide zeros in on the joys and woes of the romance genre... delivering both in delightful, readable style." -- Nora Roberts, New York Times bestselling author

"A high-octane, hilarious and revelatory look at the romance genre...It's too much fun to be missed!" -- Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

"Sarah and Candy point out all that's ridiculous and annoying in the genre, while showcasing all that's good and valuable, with wit, style, intelligence, and snark." -- Jennifer Crusie, New York Times bestselling author of Welcome to Temptation and Crazy for You

Review

"Funny, irreverent, and insightful, this guide zeros in on the joys and woes of the romance genre... delivering both in delightful, readable style." -- Nora Roberts, New York Times bestselling author

"A high-octane, hilarious and revelatory look at the romance genre...It's too much fun to be missed!" -- Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

"Sarah and Candy point out all that's ridiculous and annoying in the genre, while showcasing all that's good and valuable, with wit, style, intelligence, and snark." -- Jennifer Crusie, New York Times bestselling author of Welcome to Temptation and Crazy for You --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sarah Wendell is co-author of the book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, and co-founder of Smart Bitches Trashy Books.com, one of the most popular blogs examining romance fiction. The site specializes in reviewing romance novels, pondering the history and future of the genre in digital form and in print, and bemoaning the enormous prevalence of bodacious pectorals adorning male cover models. Sarah can be found at smartbitchestrashybooks.com, or via Twitter at @smartbitches.

Customer Reviews

And I think this book did a wonderful job of explaining why romance is such a compelling and successful genre.
Natalie E. Ramm
I will say that Beyond Heaving Bosoms really piqued my interest in Romance novels in that it handled the genre as a viable source of academic and cultural debate.
TheBloggart
Then, not too far into the book, which I admit, I had enjoyed a bit so far, the authors misused the word "erstwhile".
steamkitty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 80 people found the following review helpful By rooreads on April 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a regular reader of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog, I was happy to buy this book. Having read it, I found myself wishing it had been better. A blog of its nature - and quite reasonably - is a bitsy beast and can, like the curate's egg, be good in parts, because tomorrow is another entry: a book needs greater cohesion, particularly if the publisher describes it as a 'guide', with all that implies.

In some ways, I'm not sure if the book quite knows what it's trying to do: raise a snicker with uninhibited language, amusing observations and romance-related games? analyse a best-selling but often disregarded genre with academic language and reference to research/surveys/articles? share the passion of the authors as readers of this hugely-popular genre? All of the above, even if the combination doesn't quite hold together?

The chapters cover some main features of the romance genre - heroes, heroines, plot devices and so forth; and yet I felt that there were assumptions about the readership of the book which might limit its audience. Perhaps this is something carried over from the blog, which has its own distinct community, which will no doubt embrace this book as a continuation of something they already know and love. Sarah and Candy have engaging and distinctive voices and opinions, and the comments on their blog entries are entertaining and informative discussions too.

I wondered about the assumption that 'Old Skool' romance meant old like, the 1970s. The genre has existed for far longer - Mills and Boon/Harlequin's publishing history goes back further, even if you step away from the 'romance is as old as stories' argument. Perhaps the focus on the more recent years of the genre accounts for odd factual errors/sweeping assumptions.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By she reads on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Before purchasing this book I can not suggest strongly enough that you go visit [...] and get a feel for the authors. I've been a big fan of the bitches since discovering them earlier this year, and I've been anxiously awaiting the release of this book for several weeks now. They have good snippets of material + bonus 'outtakes' on their site that you can look at.

Like another reader mentioned, this book seemed to have a confused identity. Chapters that break downs of heros, heroines, common plots, and more were mixed in with snarky, poke fun at the romance lists and jokes. Is this a book for or against romance, remind me?

I didn't find it a useful guide to romance novels, so much as a snark-tastic journey through the eyes of Sarah and Candy. Was it fun and fabulous? Sure! The 'make your own hero' stories at the end had me hooting, I loved the breakdown of the heroine, the author interviews were insightful, and goodness abounded.

I had expected a more comprehensive guide to great romances of all sub-genres. Instead there's a heavy lean towards historical romances (sigh, groan) and never did I find a good resource guide or listing of great novels to read or anything. I'd hoped that some 'all time greats' would be looked at, talked about, and listed to show off the greatness of this, my favorite genre. I wanted to know more about specific examples of awesomeness that I should be aware of and read to be more educated as a fan... I didn't feel satisfied. Paranormal, suspense, contemporary, and other genres within romance were mentioned but not given equal billing compared to the heavy handed historical mentions.

As I closed the last page, it just wasn't all I'd hoped for and now I've shared why. Will I keep visiting the bitches daily and loving them? You bet.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a relatively new convert to SBTB followers. I only picked up on the site about a year ago and wasn't sure what to make of it. I wasn't a closet romance reader--I've always been very open about reading romances, even when I was thirteen years old toting around a bag full of 80's Harlequin titles with subject matter most 13 year olds wouldn't think about in relation to 'romance' (like revenge sex, never heard of that until I read Harlequin). When my friends would deride me for my tastes in reading material (amongst everything else they chided me about) I'd just shrug and ask them what they knew about romance.

To say I enjoyed reading this book is an understatement. When I picked it up at the bookstore to flip through a few months ago I was texting my twilight friends the definition for 'vampire' before I got to the last word, storing away information about the various archetypes of heroine to compare against my favorites and thanking god that I knew enough about the female anatomy before I read my first romance that I never believed in the magical hymen that every romance heroine has.

There were some portions that I skimmed over quickly--parts of the chapters labeled 'Corset' (about heroines) and 'Codpiece' (about heroes), 'Bad Sex' (about rape in romance) and 'Love Grotto' (about sex scenes) had sections where I just skipped them to the next header for whatever reason. Like any other Fandom meta-essay analysis book (which if you're into the Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Trek fandoms you will have read at LEAST one meta-essay book, in my case I read them like a thirsty man needs water) some of it can just be very dry and 'well I knew that'.
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