Below, grouped roughly thematically (although there's always going to be some overlap) are some things people have written or collated that have been useful, thought-provoking or important. I update it regularly, with new content placed at the top of its category.
Book Lists and Recommendations
- WOC in Romance - Promoting the work of WOC, this site allows you to browse by genre, trope and features a great round-up of new releases
- 100 Must-Read Historical Romances by Jessica Tripler at Book Riot
- 100 Must-Read Romantic Comedies by Trisha Brown at Book Riot
- 100 Must-Read Sports Romances by Amanda Diehl at Book Riot
- 50 Must-Read Romance Novels by Latinx Authors by Silvana Reyes Lopez at Book Riot
- Unusual Historicals - a monthly feature that looks at recently released historical romances with interesting premises or unique settings
- Sarah MacLean's monthly column at The Washington Post - A big "You go, Glen Coco" to The Washington Post for taking romance seriously and giving author Sarah MacLean some column inches to review romance novels.
- Special Title Listings at All About Romance - Provides extensive lists by trope, character type, setting etc.
- Courtney Milan's Recommendations - It's updated only periodically, but it's worth checking in occasionally to see what Milan has found to be noteworthy.
- Need a Rec? at Dear Author - Exactly what the name implies.
- Goodreads' Listopia - If you are not already using these, there is no hope for you. You can see some specific lists I have found useful here.
- Romance Novels We Can All Enjoy by Alisha Rai - A big list of diverse romance recommendations from author Alisha Rai.
- A Year Without a Duke by Genevieve Turner - In 2015, historical romance author Genevieve Turner undertook A Year Without a Duke, aiming to read outside-the-box historicals, where the characters are not titled and the settings are not Western-European. It's all wrapped up now, but it still has some great recs.
- LoveOzYA - For YA readers, LoveOzYA has great resources, including posters recommending books with a specific theme or setting.
- STEM Heroines in Romance: The Master List by LacyLiteracy
- 30 Erotic Romances that are Actually Erotic by Suleikha Snyder at Frolic
Romance Genre and Industry
- Fifty Shades of White: the long fight against racism in romance novels by Lois Beckett at the Guardian
- Reclaiming Historical Romance by Elizabeth Kingston - on the insidious ways in which Historical Fiction and Romance romanticise white supremacy
- The Consolation of Genre: On Reading Romance Novels by Cailey Hall at the LA Review of Books - a wonderful history of our beloved genre
- How Hollywood is rekindling the rom-com - with the help from romance novels by Maureen Lee Lenker at EW
- History Ever After: Fabricated Historical Chronotypes in Romance Genre Fiction by Jennifer Hallock
- Bad Romance: To cash in on Kindle Unlimited, a cabal of authors gamed Amazon's algorithm by Sarah Jeong at The Verge
- How the Covers of Your Favourite Romance Novels Get Made by Eliza Thompson at Cosmopolitan
- Welcome to the Romance Resistance by Rachel Kramer Bussel at Salon (Sept. 2017) - Interesting exploration into the effect that Trump's election had on the romance industry, and publishing more generally.
- The Sweet, Savage Sexual Revolution That Set the Romance Novel Free by Kelly Faircloth at Jezabel (Dec. 2016)
- Romance Novels in the Wake of the U.S. Presidental Election by Jackie C. Horne at Romance Novels for Feminists (Nov. 2016)
- Sex Doesn't Sell? Wait...What Now? by Scarlettleigh at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Nov. 2016)
- Why Romance Rules by Emma Bryson at Booksellers NZ (Sept. 2016) - Brief article that covers a lot of ground: reputation of romance, the romance community's egalitarianism, its feminist nature and commercial success, including adoption of digital technologies.
- Are Your Keepers Still Keepers? by Scarlettleigh at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Sept. 2016)
- Why Romance Readers Love Digital Books by Jessica Tripler at Book Riot (Aug. 2016)
- Romance Publishers and #Diversity at the Nielsen Summit: 'Uniquely Familiar' by Porter Anderson at Porter Anderson Media (July 2016)
- Notes and Corrections by Alexis Hall (July 2016) - Romancelandia went wild after two so-called LGBTQ+ romances won RITAs for the first time ever. Only, as it turns out, it wasn't the first time ever, and Hall, one of those RITA winners, discusses the dangers of using the broad stroke term "LGBTQ+ romance".
- By Any Other Name: The Secret Lives of Romance Authors by Danielle Binks at The Wheeler Centre (Apr. 2016)
- It Takes a Village to Write A Romance: The Surprising Rise of Collaborative Fiction by Danielle Binks at The Wheeler Centre (Mar. 2016)
- Happily Never After, and the Changing Nature of the Romance Novel by Jane Kriel at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Mar. 2016)
- The Economic Impact of Non-Diverse Romance, Part I: The Quality "Problem" by Alyssa Cole (Mar. 2016)
- Some Like It Hot: The Literary Function of Sex Scenes in Romance by Jessica Tripler at Book Riot (Jan. 2016)
- Inside the Push for a More Diverse Romance Genre by Kelly Faircloth at Jezabel (May 2015)
- How Harlequin Became the Most Famous Name in Romance by Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel (Mar. 2015)
- Does Romantic Fiction Need A "Happily Ever After" Ending? by Ravishly at The Huffington Post
- Romance Novels and Naughty Bits by Sarah MacLean (Oct. 2013) - The author challenges the way The New York Times excluded romance authors and fiction from a special edition on sex.
- A Historical Perspective: Are My Happy Endings Realistic? by Jeannie Lin (Aug 2013)
- Romance Novels, The Last Great Bastion Of Underground Writing by Maria Bustillos (Feb. 2012)
- Dangerous Books for Girls by Maya Rodale - This is the site for Rodale's book of the same name, which deals with romance novel discourses as attempts police women and their sexuality. It's much more interesting than I just made it sound: here, look at this video and these funky infographics.
Romance and Reputation
- 11 Things the NY Times COULD Write About Romance by Robin Lovett (Oct 2017)
- All the Dumb Things You Can Say About Romance Novels, In One Convenient Place by Ron Hogan (Sept 2017)
- Here's How Not to Critique Romance Novels by Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel (June 2017)
- There is So Much to Learn from Romance Novels by Alison Doherty at Book Riot (Nov. 2016)
- Stop Calling Romance Novels "Just" Love Stories - They're so much more by Katharine Ashe at The Mary Sue (Nov. 2016)
- Reboot Your Life Debate: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy (Podcast) by Radio National - A debate between literary fiction and genre fiction folks after research showing that people who read literary fiction are more empathetic (Oct. 2016)
- Romance is Trashy, and Other Things You Need to Stop Saying by Sarah Nicholas at Book Riot (Aug. 2016)
- Real Quick - Why Reading Romance is Brave and Powerful by Sarah Wendell at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (Aug. 2016)
- Literary Tomes Can Make You Weary of the Sound and the Fury by Kat Mayo at Book Thingo (June 2016) - Sick of endless thinkpieces where a writer reads one romance novel/possibly not even that and then massively generalises about the genre? Here's a satirical rebuttal doing the exact same thing to literary fiction!
- How to Ruin a Romance in 5 Easy Steps by Elizabeth Vail at Heroes and Heartbreakers (May 2016)
- How Romance Novelists Got Such A Silly, Sappy Rap by Kelly Faircloth at Jezabel (Aug. 2015)
- Dear Columnists, Romance Fiction is not your Bitch by Kat Mayo (Apr. 2014)
- Defeating the Critics: What We Can Do About the Anti-Romance Bias by Jennifer Crusie (orig. pub. 1998)
Romance, Gender and Feminism
- Turning Pages: Romance and the influence of #MeToo by Jane Sullivan at the Sydney Morning Herald
- The Reason Your M/F Historical Romance Broke My Heart by Margrethe Martin at Love in Panels
- Hey Book Industry: "Women's Fiction" Is Not A Thing by Trisha Brown at Book Riot (Feb. 2017)
- Romance Passes the Bechdel Test--The Stories are About Love, But Not Always About Men by Elizabeth Davis at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Feb. 2017)
- How Romance Novels 'Imagine a World in Which Women can Win' by Eleanor J. Bader at Rewire News
- How Do We Know Twilight Sucks? Looking at Taste Cultures, Gendered Viewing, and Arbitrary Ideas of Good and Bad Taste by Marianne Eloise at The Learned Fangirl (Oct. 2016)
- Reading, Self-Care and Guilt by Elyse at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (Sept. 2016) - On how society doesn't allow women to be ill, and how books - particularly romance - can function as self-care.
- Mills & Boons romances are actually feminist texts, academic says by Mark Brown at The Guardian - Up next, academics confirm what fishermen have been telling them for decades. Water is, in fact, wet. (Aug. 2016)
- Women's Bodies in Speculative Fiction by Danielle Binks at The Stella Prize (July 2016)
- The Fifty Shades Revolution...Or Why I'm Grateful for E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey by Jennifer Proffitt at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Aug. 2016)
- Stop with the misogyny plot point by Ainslie Paton at Book Thingo (May 2016)
- Nigeria's Thriving Community of Female Romance Novellists by David Rosenberg at Slate Magazine (Mar. 2016) - A photo essay based on Glenna Gordon's exploration of Muslim Hausa romance novelists. She writes: "none of this looks to me what I think feminism looks like, but maybe I need to change what I think feminism looks like."
- Is Feminist Romance an Oxymoron? by Rhyll Biest at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Jan. 2016)
- Gender-flipping and Twilight by Danielle Binks at The Stella Prize (Nov. 2015)
- On Pandering by Claire Vaye Watkins at Tin House (Nov. 2015) - This isn't specifically about romance, but it's very relevant in that it's about how women's writing is classed differently to men's, and white men as literary gatekeepers and 'proper' writers. (Also, Kavita Das' response On Parsing, about her response to Watkin's piece as a WOC).
- The F Word: Romance by The Wheeler Centre (video) (Jul. 2015)
- 7 Reasons It's Actually Totally Feminist To Read (And Write) Romance Novels, Thank You Very Much by Maya Rodale at Bustle (May 2015)
- Waistcoat Ripper: When Heroines Rape the Hero in Romance by Megan Frampton at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Dec. 2014)
- Some (Further) Thoughts on Feminism and Romance by Cecilia Grant (Mar. 2013)
- Beyond Bodice-Rippers: How Romance Novels Came to Embrace Feminism by Jessica Luther at The Atlantic (Mar . 2013)
- Romance and Rape Culture: A Modern Reader Read Whitney, My Love by Elizabeth Vail at Heroes and Heartbreakers (Nov. 2011)
- "Men Conquer the World and Women Save Mankind": Rewriting Patriarchal Traditions through Web-based Matriarchal Romances by Jin Feng at Journal of Popular Romance Studies (Mar. 2011) - A study looking at the phenomenon of Chinese online romances and their exploration and subversion of gender identity and sexuality.
- This Is Not Your Mother's Cinderella: The Romance Novel as Feminist Fairy Tale by Jennifer Crusie (orig. pub. 1998)
Diversity in Romance and Publishing
NB: many articles that touch on diversity in romance appear in the 'Romance Genre and Industry' section
NB: many articles that touch on diversity in romance appear in the 'Romance Genre and Industry' section
- Romance Novelist Beverly Jenkins Talks Normalizing Diversity in Her Genre by Gina Mei at Shondaland (Oct. 2017)
- The Lack of Black Characters in Time-Travel Romance by Jessica Pryde at Book Riot
- Disability and Romance Project by Dr Ria Cheyne at Pink Heart Society
- On Romance and Pre-Existing Conditions by Cat Sebastian at Open Ink Press
- How to Recognize Racism and Microaggressions in Books: Diversity Pandering, Cultural Appropriation and "Savages" by The Bookavid at the Bookavid (Jan. 2017)
- On White Fragility by Justine Larbalestier at Reading While White (Aug. 2016)
- Writing While Indigenous/Writing While Chinese: Intersectionality in Oz YA - A Conversation at Book Wars (Aug. 2016)
- Race, reviews and children's literature: some reflections on recent developments in the US by Ambelin Kwaymullina at Alphareader (Aug. 2016)
- Lets Talk About: My Problem With the Word Diverse (Aug .2016) - on the use of the word 'diverse' as a form of Othering, or a way of saying 'not white-cishet'.
- Stop Telling Black People to Self-Publish by Justina Ireland (Aug. 2016)
- Dammit, Do Better! by Deborah Mello (July 2016)
- A Whole Lotta Words on Doing Things By Halves by Suleikha Snyder (May 2016) - Lamenting the lack of historical romances set in India written by South Asians, or that don't feature the sanitising of the Other or exoticising of the familiar through the half-Anglo/half-Indian hero or heroine.
- Read Between the Racism: The Serious Lack of Diversity in Book Publishing by Ilana Masad at Broadly (Apr. 2016)
- Hello! You just used "the damned if you do/don't" fallacy! by N. K. Jemisin (Apr. 2016) - A response to people who make "damned if you do, damned if you don't"-style comments in discussions on bigotry, misrepresentation and cultural misappropriation.
- "I Just Don't Identify with the Character" by Kate Sullivan at Children's Book Council (Mar. 2016) - Challenges the reasons (white) publishers give for knocking back books by POC and encourages them (and us) to question why they didn't connect with the book.
- "We've Been Out Here Working": Diversity In Publishing, A Partial Reading List by Molly McArdle at Brooklyn (Feb. 2016) - McArdle has collated many (and I mean many) articles on diversity in publishing, and provides a excerpt from each, so that even if you don't read every (or any) article, one still leaves with a greater understanding of who is fighting for what, and what, exactly, they are fighting against.
- Where is Diversity in Historical Romance? by Laurel Cremant at Romance Novels in Colour (Feb. 2016) - Cremant explores why we are seeing many more diverse paranormal and contemporary romances than historical romances.
- Diversity 101: An Intro to the Diversity Discussion by Justina Ireland (Feb 2016)
- On Being a Racist White Ally in Romancelandia by Jackie C. Horne at Romance Novels for Feminists (Feb. 2016) - For white reviewers, who have spent a lifetime internalising racist assumptions, self-examination can be a fraught and public process.
- The Silent Roar by Melissa Blue (Jan. 2016) - Questions the reasons people give for not reading diverse romance, and for separating it from non-diverse books of the same genre.
- Speaking Up against Systemic Racism in the Publishing Industry by Courtney Milan (Jan. 2016) - After the publishing world gave diverse authors and advocates one of its periodic "Get fucked" messages , Milan shares her thoughts.
- The One Where Wendy Talks about Diversity by Wendy the Super Librarian (Jan. 2016) - To sub-genre diverse romances or not to sub-genre, that is the question.
- Moving Past Octavia Butler by Justina Ireland at Book Riot (re-posted Jan. 2016) - Discusses black authors in sci-fi and fantasy, and why there is so little recognition of them.
- Decolonise, not Diversify by Kavita Bhanot at Media Diversified (Dec. 2015) - Bhanot highlights that diversity itself is a problematic concept that can exist only so long as "there is an assumed neutral point from which 'others' are 'diverse'".
- Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing by Daniel Jose Older at Buzzfeed (Apr. 2014)
- We Need Diverse Books - WNDB focus on children's literature, but they have good explanations of what diverse literature actually means, and they run the #WNDB Challenge.
- Reading While White - I'm not sure how I feel about the premise of the site, but it does contain well thought-out critiques on being a white ally for racial diversity.
- Romance Novels in Color - Reviews a wide range of romance novels with POC leads.
- WOCInRomance - Promotes romance novels written by Women of Colour.
- Saris and Stories - A group of Indian-American romance and women's fiction writers.
- Indireads - Publisher specialising in South Asian stories (with lots of wonderful romances)
- Ankara Press - Publisher of African romances
- #romanceclass - Indie books from Filipino romance authors