Quick update: Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction posted a great Friday the 13th review of Pocket Full of Tinder. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, beating a dead horse, etc., thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who has reviewed the book so far! I’m very grateful to those of you who take the time to write and post such thoughtful reviews.
Now on to today’s topic: three documentaries… one about a book club and two about two of my favorite genres… (btw, I’m linking to each show’s JustWatch page so you can see where to buy or stream).
Sixty-two years! Can you imagine being in a book club for 62 years?! I just joined a book club for the first time ever this year. If my book club makes it that long, I’ll be well into my centenarian years by then.
This film chronicles the lives of eight women as they discuss what compelled them to start a book club (at the time, women were discouraged or prohibited outright from working once they were married; hard to believe, huh?), what kept them in the book club (spoiler: it was as much about their relationships and supporting one another as it was a desire to keep their minds sharp), and the books they read and enjoyed (various book excerpts are read throughout; the readings at the end are moving and memorable).
Many of the women had husbands who worked in government jobs and they wanted to read and discuss books about religion and politics to offset countless hours of changing diapers and cleaning houses. I laughed — not at them, but at myself — because I’d rather read and discuss books that are magical and otherworldly. My book club has other ideas though. They picked Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton for next month. But my theory is that we look to books to fill perceived gaps in our life: knowledge, feeling, experience… I spent a decade practicing law and three years before that studying it. Only now that I’ve been out of practice for nearly the same amount of time can I bear to think about reading something like Alexander Hamilton for pleasure.
At one point, one of the women explained that their book club was an escape from her laundry pile, and then another mentioned a bygone practice – “listening to the radio while you were refereeing your kids’ fights and ironing.” And then, oddly, impossibly, Penny and E picked that moment to start yelling at each other about a missing pair of ear buds or a pilfered iPhone charger or a borrowed shirt or shoes or something… and I looked down at the pile of laundry I’d been folding and thought. Hmm….
The more things change, the more they stay the same. 😀
A fantastic documentary about romance writers and the genre they write in.
Starts with a riff on Jane Austen by telling us the documentary is a story of pride and prejudice — women’s pride in their work and the prejudices they encounter. Romance is a billion dollar industry. It’s the bread & butter of publishing. It keeps the lights on and yet… there is still a lot of ignorance and condescension about the genre’s importance to publishing and society at large. Mary Bly shares the story of how she was initially discouraged from sharing that she is the über successful Eloisa James because her colleague was worried she wouldn’t get tenure (thankfully, she’s now a tenured professor of English Literature).
The film is chock full of other anecdotes from authors, bloggers, readers, editors, publicists, and more. It explores the contributions of African-American and LGBT authors to the genre. Len Barot, a former surgeon who is now a multi-published author, talks about her journey from writing her first lesbian romance to starting her own publishing house, which now publishes 140 authors worldwide. Beverly Jenkins tells watchers that her path began because she wanted to read romance books with heroines who look like her. Now she’s a USA Today bestselling author who inspires both readers and authors alike.
The documentary makes clear that romance novels aren’t just about sex; they’re about relationships. And the film details many behind-the-scenes relationships as well. Writing might be a solitary endeavor, but published authors have a support team. Various authors’ writing processes were discussed, including collaboration and the role of critique partners.
Finally, the movie highlighted a few of the things that have shaped the industry: book blogs, the digital revolution, self-publishing… There’s even a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene with me! (Parts of the movie were filmed at Nora Roberts’ bookstore, Turn the Page, in Boonsboro, Maryland where I did one of my first book signings.)
If you are a romance fan or romance writer, the film is a MUST SEE. Click here for the website and more info.
I watched the time travel episode, which was fun. There wasn’t anything mind-blowing in it, but there were brief interviews with David Tennant, Christopher Lloyd, Neil Gaiman, and Audrey Niffenegger, as well as some background on popular time travel movies like Groundhog Day, 12 Monkeys, and Looper. Other episodes are: Invasion, Space, and Robots. Terrific line up of interviewees, so I’ll probably keep watching.
So, what about you? Have you seen any other documentary movies or TV shows that bookish types or genre lovers might like? Have you seen any of the above? What did you think?