Thursday, May 10, 2012

Canonical Books

So I’ve been battling my insomnia lately with Sleepy Time tea and DBSA podcasts – which are Sarah Wendell (SBTB) and Jane Lit (Dear Author) talking about various different topics. I had this idea that some chatter in the background would help me drift to sleep.

Not so. Instead I hang on every word because it’s fascinating to me and then I join in on the conversation – they don’t know I’m doing this – and agree or disagree with the things they say. Needless to say I’m not getting any sleep during these podcasts but I’m really enjoying having very smart conversations about books and romance in particular. The last one I listened to was about Romance Canon and since Molly likes lists I thought we would do one for fun. Now the distinction is - these are not books we would use to introduce someone to romance – but instead are the romance “mothers” let’s say of their particular niche. Jane and Sarah broke these into new canon and old canon. There are many many of these types of books – but I chose a particular few.

My list

Old Canon – historical – Anything by – Kathleen Woodiwiss - A lot of people go Flame and the Flower but I think any of her books signifies at least for me the start of historical romance.

Old Canon – contemporary – Whitney My Love/Knight in Shining Armor – Judith McNaught. For me especially WML was the introduction into that torturous hero who just broke the heroine’s heart over and over again. I’m sure I would throw this book at a wall today – but when they mentioned it I was like YES! That book!

Old Canon – Paranormal - Gift of Gold – Jayne Ann Krentz – I loved this book and I don’t think Jayne gets enough credit for stepping outside the boundaries as early as she did. She was doing Sci-Fi Romance in the 90s which was pretty gutsy.

Old Canon – Category – This is a big fat tie between Nora, Linda Howard, Elizabeth Lowell and Jayne Ann for me.

New Canon – historical – This is a tie for me between Stephanie Laurens – who was really responsible for bringing me back to historical romance with the Cynsters and different types of heroines. And Sherry Thomas – for changing our expectations about what a romance is.

New Canon – contemporary – Can’t Buy Me Love – Molly O’Keefe. I know - it sounds like I’m dong promoting for her, but I truly think when her books are released were going to see a shift in contemporary romance. In that the small town, homespun, light hearted sweet natured contemps that have been ruling are going to have to make way for more meatier more angstyier (I know – not a word) type of books.

New Canon – Paranormal – Zhadist - need I say more? - JR Ward. For me he is the new father of the tortured Alpha hero. And I would add to this Meljean Brooks – Iron Duke (probably just because I loved it so much.)

New Canon – Category – I’m leaving this one open. I’m reading more category now than I ever have before and I’m loving a lot of it – but I don’t know if I’m ready to proclaim a name in this yet. I think I need to read more by the same author.

And that’s it. So what’s on your list? In YA, women’s fiction, Sci-Fi, Mystery? What are those books that might not have been the most popular, or the highest selling, but somehow fundamentally changed the genre.


Maureen McGowan said...

Great post, Steph.

I can't comment about the romance ones because I only discovered the genre after most of those books you mentioned were out. (But I agree that Molly's books will be game changers! And the Sherry Thomas books.)

In WF, I'd have to say Bridget Jones' Diary, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Something Borrowed. There were other awesome books out around that time, including Eileen's Do Me, Do My Roots, but I think those three really defined what was deemed chick lit and opened doors for a lot of great books.

In YA... I think the "crossover" books that started the adults reading YA are the canon for the "new YA". Frankly, these books are what really started the teen reading YA (vs. jumping straight to adult books).
Harry Potter made reading kids books acceptable. Twilight (for better or worse) made it popular, and The Hunger Games made it cool.

Anonymous said...

Love that list and I agree with so many, Judith McNaught, Sherry Thomas, JR Ward and Molly, for sure.
For me Hunger Games in YA.

In Urban Fantasy, old canon Laurell K Hamilton and new is Karen Marie Moning..

Stephanie Doyle said...

I have got to download those Karen Marie Moning books you keep talking about!

Jessica Peter said...

I’d also add Elizabeth Hoyt to my new canon for historical romance. I don’t know anyone else who can do the darker subplots so well but still have it feel romantic. And I’d put Kresley Cole in for my new canon paranormal, since she seems to be the master of the “that couple will never work” (but does) romance.

I'd actually put Laurell K Hamilton into new canon urban fantasy because it's the same sort of things that are still happening now.

And I started to write so much, that I made a separate blog post about a few other genres, inspired by this one:

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey I'm catching up from my crazy week - awesome question - I listened to this podcast and was thinking about it for so long so here is mine:

Historical: Old Canon - Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood

new canon - man, historical is so exciting now and we can thank Elizabeth Hoyt and Sherry Thomas for the change

Paranormal: Old canon - I really don't have much here, I am not a paranormal reader - Kresley Cole has to get some recognition somwhere, Sherilyn Kenyon?

But absolutely the game changer had to be Ward - and if she didn't chang the game and I just don't know enough - then she did it better than anyone else...

Contemporary: Old Canon - Nora Roberts, Janet Daily (stealing Nora's stuff so maybe no?) Elizaabeth Lowell, Linda Howard

New Canon: You guys are awesome, but I am stealing so much from Eusan Elizabeth Phillips and Jenny Cruise, who are both new canon, and even more recent - Julie James and Kristin Higgins

I don't know Urban Fantasy very well either but I agree with Sinead -

Molly O'Keefe said...

oh and Maureen' comments about Ya - acceptable, popular and cool - you muse be a writer!

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