A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
*Tiptoes in* *peers around the door*
No-one here? Good … Because I want to talk about sex. Well, not sex so much as romance, which isn’t the same thing, but can lead to …. Oh, never mind ….
Anyway, in this week of romance-related pieces, my mind lightly turned to our long relationship with romance, romantic fiction and romantic novelists.
Unlike many book blogs, Vulpes Libris has always cast its reviewing net widely – so widely, in fact, that unpredictability (verging on eccentricity) has become our hallmark. In any given week heavyweights, bantamweights and the puny-little-kid-from-next-door-who-stumbled-in-by-accident can be found cheerfully duking it out on our pages. What we publish, and when, depends entirely on which Book Foxes are active at the time (we tend to wander in and out in a fugue state as Real Life gets in the way), what our current interests are and what sort of mood we’re in (which, in turn, depends on whether or not somebody else has just eaten the last of the Viennese Whirls …).
*pauses to peer hopefully in the biscuit tin, finds Viennese Whirl, is v.v. happy*
When I had a trawl through the VL stats, and searched for ‘Romance’ I found 145 entries, which puts it on a more or less equal footing with ‘Historical fiction’, is considerably ahead of ‘Memoirs’ and ‘Thrillers’ and leaves ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Politics’ trailing pathetically in its wake, somewhere out of sight, down the road and around the corner. That, of course, is assuming we all remembered to tick the ‘Romance’ category box when we were filing our reviews/interviews – which we almost certainly didn’t, because admin and clerical stuff is something that Somebody Else does, right? Like putting a new loo roll on the holder?
I can’t possibly mention every single ‘Romance’ review and interview we’ve ever done because if I did it would turn into the bit in the Old Testament that’s nothing but page after page of ‘begatting’ – only without the ‘begatting’ – but I thought that as no-one is here to stop me I’d offer you some of my personal ‘romantic’ highlights, in no particular order, from the last nine years:
My very first ever interview with anyone, ever, in the history of me: It was with Phillipa Ashley (interviewed again yesterday) and I never let on that I was in totally new territory and as nervous as she was. (Sorry, Pip …)
The excitement in the Den as our own Lisa Glass was reporting to us, in real time, on the bidding war for her wonderful YA coming-of-age romance set in and around the surfing community of Newquay, Blue. (And if you haven’t read Blue and its sequel – Air – you’re missing something very special …).
Liz Fenwick, after her first novel received a somewhat less-than-glowing review, bravely and doggedly continuing to offer up her subsequent literary babies as blood sacrifices, until her latest received the VL equivalent of four gold stars and an air punch.
Eve being utterly convinced that the pages of Twilight were infused with a mind-altering substance.
Jay (who was on the 2011 judging panel for the Romantic Novel of the Year) giving the winner Jojo Moyes a typically off-the-wall review that elicited this tweet from her: https://twitter.com/jojomoyes/status/58804948225368064
Attending the 2011 awards ceremony, held in what appeared to be an up-market public convenience.
Gleefully putting the boot into a romantic icon (and oh, I did feel better after I wrote it).
Discovering that fellow Book Fox Kirsty McCluskey had an unexpected talent for quirky Ruritanian romance with a side dish of attitude.
Being a judge of the Romantic Novel of the Year myself and having to beg, borrow and steal clothes, shoes and even lipstick (thank you, Lisa – I still have it, and it will probably last me the rest of my life, with care) to make myself presentable for the awards dinner, which was held at a hotel so posh the loos were classier than any room in my house.
Discovering that there are hordes of people out there besides Hilary, Kate and me who love Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey.
I could go on (and on) but – aside from the fact that there’s a law of libel in this country – I think I just heard the sound of a latchkey downstairs in the street door, so I must run …
PS: You won’t tell them I was here, will you?
(Imagecredit: Seaside Rose Garden on Flickr.)