Put this youtube video at 3:05, play and read while it continues:

I’m about to travel a barely touched route here at Book a Week with Jen, one lined in bare chests, billowing hair and Fabio: I’m going to read a few romance novels.

I say that, of course, in jest — well, the chests, hair and Fabio bit. Romance novels aren’t your grandmom’s smut anymore, as I hope to show.

But why the romantic bent? Because I’m writing not one but two articles about the Romance novel industry, which sells over a billion dollars worth of books a year. In fact, one of every four books bought is a romance title. And I’m not lying about those numbers — I wouldn’t make that up even if I were the bad guy who broke the heroine’s heart at the start of a book that ends in lots of sex and a ring by the final chapter.

So while I finish the first title on my list, let me ask you: What do you think of romance novels? Do you read them? If so? If not, why not? Or do you have a favorite memory? I remember the first one I read, as given to me by my grandmother. I was shocked at the language — shocked! And, OK, a little bit intrigued.

Oh and check out www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com for more on the biz in a tone that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Seriously.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Kathy on January 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I’m intrigued by this romance assignment of yours! What else is on your list? On a dare/whim, I spent all of 2008 reading only vampire romance novels, but the only series I would recommend is now being bastardized by Alan Ball on HBO. I hate that dude.

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