Review: Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell

Beyond Heaving Bosoms Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitch’s Guide to Romance Novels by Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell
Publication: Fireside (April 14, 2009), Paperback, 304 pages / ISBN 1416571221
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Rating:
Find @ Amazon or IndieBound
Challenge: 2009 Pub Challenge (#5)
Read: July 2009

In one sentence: It’s like a really detailed blog post about nearly everything you need to know about romance novels.

I don’t actually read a lot of actual romance books– I’m more of a chick lit person– but I do read a lot of romance review blogs, including Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell’s blog, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I think theirs was the first romance blog I read, even, and so of course I pre-ordered their book last spring. I didn’t manage to read it until the summer, and took even longer to review it, but that’s pretty par for the course here at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog. Ahem.

Please don’t let the fact that I took forever to review it as a bad thing. I loved Beyond Heaving Bosoms! It’s a wonderful guide for what one can expect with romance books, both the good and the bad. It has things about the different genres within romance, an interview with a cover model (no, not Fabio), why reading romance is actually good for people, the truth behind romance reader misconceptions (practically none of them are cat ladies), and it even has a little bit on the romance fandom and why it’s so fun (and crazy).

For sure my favorite thing about Beyond Heaving Bosoms is that it made me realize that, no, there isn’t anything wrong with reading romance, or chick lit, or even YA fantasy. Sometimes I forget that and I feel bad for my reading choices– like I should be reading something else. Dickens, maybe, or Proust. No offense to people who like Dickens or Proust (I love me some Joyce, myself), but it’s not my first go-to choice for reading material. And because I more often than not don’t read those books, and instead read supposedly frilly, fluffy books, people can sometimes make me feel sad and stupid.

After reading Beyond Heaving Bosoms, I felt much better about just reading whatever the heck I wanted and forget whatever anyone else says! I’m not alone in my love of frilly, fluffy books and that’s a wonderful feeling to have. Self-confidence, you know?

Anyway, Beyond Heaving Bosoms is less scholarly and more like a night out at a pub with some friends. If you’re already a romance fan and want a little validation for your reading habit, get this book. If you don’t read romance but want to figure out why so many people love it and read it, get this book. If you just want to have a good time and laugh a lot, get this book! You won’t be disappointed, and maybe we can both feel good about what we read.

What book has made you feel good lately?

Buy your own copy from Amazon or your favorite indie bookstore!

Extras: Interview with Bitch Magazine | Video promo for the book

Other reviews: Errant Dreams Reviews | Feminist Review | Miscellaneous Mumblings | Experiments in Reading

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One Comment

  1. I’ve gone over to their website a time or two but I don’t really read a lot of straight romance anymore. Love the fact that they’re making a real difference in how people percieve romance novels though!

    The last feel-good book I read was probably Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich.

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