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I’ve loved the Lord of the Rings books since I was a kid (I stole my big brothers’ copies when I was 10). Read them over & over. And then the Harry Potter books came out when I was an adult. And they are sweet & fun, and about magic and friendship. I loved them for a long time; overlooking some flaws because sweet, fun, magic, friendship. And I loved Hermione, because I was just like that when I was 11 — I was the kid asking the teacher for extra credit assignments and waving my hand for every answer. But even before the author revealed herself to be a raging transphobe, I’d stopped re-reading them; the fat hate bugged me first, then people pointed out other problems, and there are some pretty big plot holes.
I’ve switched from my first love of science fiction to romance. I just need a guarantee of a happy ending — and that is the definition of that genre. It was a gradual switch — first Gail Carriger’s steampunk/fantasy/romance Parasol Protectorate: Victorian London with vampires and werewolves; balloons that go way beyond what happened in history, and other gadgets. If you haven’t read her, even if you don’t think steampunk is your thing, you should give her a try. And then Ilona Andrews: the Texas couple has written a lot of paranormal romance. Shapeshifters, vampires (not like the classic Bram Stoker type), other dimensions and planets…. And they always make me laugh at the wrong things. The Innkeeper series is awesome; a sentient, interdimensional inn in a small Texas town…. And there’s an offshoot with the innkeeper’s sister and a vampire planet, and the most awesome little girl in any reality, ever. And the reason the word “repercussions” is absolutely hilarious.
But mostly now I read Courtney Milan and Tessa Dare. I started reading Courtney when I found out she had clerked for Alex Kozinski. And there was the RWA stuff. I checked her books out of the library, and kept checking them out, and out. They’re really good. Feminist, steamy historical romance. And I love her postscripts — she points out the places she deviated from history & how it could have happened that way. And she talks about racism, and puts in science stuff. In Devil Comes Courting, she writes about the real history of the trans-Pacific telegraph, and some science-y things that could have happened. Also brings in colonialism, racism, the aftermath of war and survivor guilt. I have re-read her Brothers Sinister series several times. Fun, happy, feminist. And she wrote the most fierce review of Pride & Prejudice ever — tying it to current events. You can download it here. Same with Tessa Dare, especially her Spindle Cove series — which I’ve probably read 4 times in the last 2 years. Actually, all of her series are great. Escapism, with strong female leads and men who think they are awesome.
And there’s Beverly Jenkins, who writes mostly historical romance with African-American characters. I read Rebel, set in New Orleans after the Civil War. A happy ending (again — there’s a rule about Romance, the ending has to be happy), but given the setting, not exactly comforting.
Set in the past or elsewhere — I want to run away from the world, but happy, healthy, have I mentioned feminist?, and happy. So do you have some good distraction? Does reading distract you? Would any of your distractions work for me?
Speaking of happy distractions:
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