Monday, February 8, 2016

Blog, interrupted

Hi, there. It’s been a while. This is my first post to Penetrating Analysis after a nine-month hiatus.

There are two main reasons I haven’t been posting in recent months. The first is that my teaching load in 2015 was grueling enough to limit my time and energy for maintaining a blog.

The second is that last spring, I started making a concerted effort to branch out in my reading beyond my comfort zone of historicals—at the time, with the intention of blogging about a greater range of romance. I discovered a lot of authors and made inroads in sub-genres whose surfaces I had only scratched before. I read sports romances and new adult romances, steampunk and urban fantasy romances.  I read same-sex and diverse/multicultural romances across a number of new-to-me subgenres as well as in more familiar historical terrain.

Along the way, I found myself making a lot of observations and mentally composing posts about aspects of texts I found noteworthy. What stopped me was the nagging awareness of my relative unfamiliarity with these books’ contexts and generic conventions. In one instance, I was struck by a recurring turn of phrase in a book. But since it was my first book by that author and I hadn’t read widely within the subgenre, I had little basis for evaluating whether that turn of phrase was particular to the book, or the author, or whether it was commonplace within its subgenre.

In short, I didn’t think I could speak with confidence, or very usefully, based on having read just a smattering of books of a given type; I lacked requisite background knowledge. The more I read, the more I knew I needed to read. (It put me in mind of the early days of my dissertation writing process!)

So I’ve spent nine months reading and reflecting, and now I think I’m ready to blog some more. I suspect I’ll be posting approximately once a month. As before, I plan to write about the literary aspects of romance.

I look forward to resuming my part in romance-as-literature discussions and hope that you will join me!