Friday, February 12, 2010

Angela's Romance Novel Five Step Program: admitting that, yes, you are are romance reader

Hi! My name is Angela, and I am a Romance reader! This admission feels liberating. For years I have been made to feel frivolous, trivial, and unintellectual because of my choice of reading material. I have suffered the smirking glances of my coworkers at the library as I load and unload my book bag. I have been taunted, teased and called the girl who reads “trash”. I have been exposed to ridicule because of the book jackets of my favorite reads and staff picks. But, no more will I blush. No more will I turn my book around in order to hide the cover.

This is a brave step for me! I am so use to being beat down that it has taken me YEARS to come to terms with my romance preferences. I know many of you are not yet at the point that you can be open and proud about your romance reading. Perhaps some are only part-time romance readers—using romance as “fillers” between your more weighty reading. Whatever the reason you pick up a romance book, do so with pride. I have devised a few steps to help you come to terms with the romance genre in hopes that you will read openly and honestly.
1. Admit that you do indeed love and read romance literature. Take an inventory of the books you have read or are currently reading. Are there ANY that fall in the romance genre? If so, you are indeed a romance reader.

2. Recognize that you are not alone. According to the Romance Writers of America, over 78 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008 with 29 million being hard-core romance readers. Go ahead, take a sneak peek around you. Chances are the person right next to you shares your love of romances. They may not be as evolved and open about it.

3. Forgive the teachers, professors, librarians, fellow travelers on airplanes who have looked down their noses at your reading choices. Just as you want others to respect your reading choices, you must accept theirs (however misguided they may be).

4. Do not be afraid to suggest your favorite romance titles to your friends and acquaintances. You may inadvertently find that you will provide the impetus for them to realize and accept their inner romance reading tendencies. Then take it a step further and welcome them into the fold with open arms. Continue to feed their growing need for romances.

5. Try new and unfamiliar romance authors. Romance readers in general are a loyal bunch. We stick to our beloved authors like glue. But with over 7,000 new romance books published in 2008 alone, there is a lot of new material to choose from. Embrace and encourage new authors. Your find may become the number one romance writer of the future.
So how do you know if what you’re reading is Romance? Here are some characteristics of the genre according to The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction by Joyce G. Saricks to help make the distinction .

The plot follows the formula of boy meets girl, boy loses girl (or some conflict occurs), boy gets girl back. A happy-ending is required.
The characters are stereotypical. Tall, dark (or blonde, or even red headed) and handsome is the preferred male character. The women are usually independent, smart, and of course, beautiful (or at least interesting and unconventional).
Romances are “fast” reads. You can stop reading and pick it back up easily. They are perfect for the chauffeur parent who is always waiting for their kids to finish extracurricular activities (that would be me).
Romances use very descriptive language to set the mood, define the characters, and convey the action in the story.

Whether you are a current romance reader or new to the genre, hold your head high! Here are some of my favorite authors (feel free to post some of your own!):
Contemporary Romance
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Linda Lael Miller
Carly Phillips
Romantic Suspense
Suzanne Brockmann
Linda Howard
Elizabeth Lowell
Alternative Reality Romance
(aka Paranormal Romance)
Jayne Ann Krentz
Charlaine Harris
Katie MacAlister
Historical Romance
Diana Gabaldon
Stephanie Laurens
Gaelen Foley
Judith McNaught

Written by Angela J.

1 comment:

mark dellenbaugh said...

I love this post! And I've never read a romance novel. I promise!