Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Clubs & Romance & Controversy, Oh My!

You guys wanna hear something funny? There's this place on the Interwebz called Crasstalk ("Home of the World's Most Self-Aggrandizing Commenters" - hee hee) and they have a book club, right? Last time they discussed an Ibsen play (which I actually read in college, cuz I'm all edumacated like that). This time the runner up in selection votes was a book about an Iraq war veteran, Hurricane Katrina aftermath and death-death-depressing-issues-drama-death. Basically an I-need-a-bigger-tissue-box book. Standard book club fare, right?

You ready for the funny part? The book that edged that one out and was officially selected for their book club? The Sexorcist.

I kid you not, reader-minions. The Sexorcist.

[Note the famous mantitty cover. Visual Aid --> -->]

And lo, there was controversy. And Vivi saw that it was good.

Lets just say that among the members of that particular online community, this was not a popular choice. "This is why we can't have nice things" made me grin. "Super lowbrow" coaxed a giggle. Talks of a re-vote and adamant declarations that they would not be reading that had me chortling (chortling, I tell you!). Apparently I have a defective sense of humor because I found the horrified reactions waaaay too funny.

But you know what was most cool? The way I found out about the whole kerfuffle. A fella from the site emailed me and asked if I would be interviewed for an academic look at the book. He and another Crasstalker were trying to open people's minds and get them to take my fluffy little book seriously, treat it like a legitimate work of fiction. (Don't you just want to give them both a big hug?) The questions they asked were awesome. Really an interesting look into romance and the themes expressed or alluded to in the book.

I don't know how successful they will be in opening people's minds to the possibility that romance might have merit beyond titillating sex scenes, or how successful I will be at helping them achieve their goal (serious has never really been my strong suit), but you have to respect any effort to attach legitimacy to the most vilified genre out there. Go them!

The interview is up now and the book club discussion is later today. Whether readers love it or hate it, a polarizing discussion is always interesting. I'll keep you posted as the story develops. It's bound to be fun, one way or another.


Elisa Beatty said...

This is so amazing, Vivi!! You and Ibsen!!

And (as a die-hard reader of both Serious Literary Fiction AND romance) I just don't understand this "you can only pick one" mentality.

What, do they feel like they have to choose forever between champagne and beer? Steak and chicken? Guacamole and bearnaise sauce?

Life is big, they should learn to enjoy it all. And your books are a treat, girl!!

Brenda Hyde said...

Wow, that is awesome! I'm not sure I understand the "This is why we can't have nice things". How does that even apply? *snort* They are really just afraid they will read The Sexorcist and LOVE it, because I know I did. LOL

I'm so proud of you-- you are part of a controversy!

Vivi Andrews said...

LOL. Thank you, Brenda! I always secretly wanted to be wildly controversial.

Elisa - Me and Ibsen - there's a combo I never thought I'd hear! It's fascinating to me the distinction between Good Literature and pure entertainment. Kind of like blockbusters rarely win Oscars. But I'm a Both girl, just like you. :)

Jeannie Lin said...

Great interview! Kudos to the crasstalkers for their thoughtful questions. And with a title like "Sexorcist" I'm not surprised it beat out all those bland literary titles. My bet? Some of those outraged members--they voted for your book with one hand while typing "lowbrow" with the other. For who could resist?

"I'm shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on in here."

Angel said...

How funny!!! And what a great attitude you have. I'm off to read the interview now.

Rita said...

This is a great interview. Congratulations on bringing readers to the Bright side one book club at a time. good for you.

Cate Rowan said...

Bwahaha, that is awesome! I love the controversy and I love your reaction. Go Vivi!