You may scoff or roll your eyes when you pass by the aisle of your local bookstore that is littered with bubblegum pink and hearts and ribbons. But don’t lie.
We’ve all done it.
Every girl has her romance novel phase. I think I started reading them in high school, and for a while, they were pretty much the only thing I purchased at Borders.
You may be able avoid the embarrassment of clutching a paperback with Fabio ripping some voluptuous woman’s bodice on the cover these days thanks to online shopping, but don’t hide your love of the romance novel.
There’s a new club in town that is promoting and discussing these ribald novels with hilarity and highjinx. The club in question is Vaginal Fantasy, the online hangout on Google+ that is run by geek-girl celebrities Felicia Day, Kiala Kazebee, Bonnie Burton and Veronica Belmont.
The club “meets” once a month in a Google+ hangout with the four ladies, usually the last Monday of the month. You can watch the video stream from their Google+ pages, participate with questions and comments through a variety of online mediums like twitter hashtags, comment threads on Google+, and an IRC chat room I have yet to visit. The ladies chat about the book of the month with wine in hand and lots of laughs for about an hour starting at 8 PM PST.
This is not your grandmama’s book club, girls. The ladies of the chat discuss everything from the quality of the literature from a more traditionally “academic” perspective to the balance of narrative and sex in the story, and everything in between. Nothing is off limits. And readers, when I say “nothing”, I mean nothing. This is not something to listen to or watch from your office cubicle or with your small children. Discussion is frank and sometimes bawdy in the best possible way. Plus, there is wine.
Thanks to the geeky background of the Vaginal Fantasy team, we’re not just talking about your stereotyped Fabio-heavy romance novels. The books will range from regency era to sci-fi to fantasy and back again in the months to come. Next up will be Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh.
There was talk this month about the possibility of inviting the writers of the chosen book of the month to participate in the Google+ hangout but that’s still undecided. Right now, it’s just the ladies. And they are hilarious.
Honestly, sitting in my bed at midnight on the east coast last Monday night, I felt like I was part of the discussion, hanging out with girlfriends I’d known – and laughed with – for years. It may only be the four ladies above on the screen right now but I still felt like I was part of the conversation.
Bonnie told me: “Most of my friends are in the Vaginal Fantasy closet when it comes to admitting they read these kinds of books, and I think we’re doing a public service by making this kind of book club accessible to other women (and guys) who love reading these books. Hopefully, Vaginal Fantasy Hangout will inspire others to start book clubs online to get their friends chatting about zombies in love.”
We’re all reading these books. We should definitely be talking about them. And what better forum than an online book club where we can laugh and joke and have fun? Maybe we’ll even be inspired to start our own!
So far, Vaginal Fantasy has met twice but I’m looking forward to seeing more of it. I’ll be reading the books, laughing about the sex, and drinking the wine right alongside the hangout and having a blast!
Image is the Vaginal Fantasy Logo (see the book??) and the lovely ladies of the hangout merged by my mad, self-taught Photoshop skills.