Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Discoveries While Shelving Romances

This will be the first in a series of posts on the romance genre. Be excited. More later on why I'm doing these posts.

It's possible I get more enjoyment out of shelving the romances at work than I should. I love it, really. And I don't even read romances. Yet.

OK, I've read 2.5 romance-genre books in my life. Here's how it started: I felt it was important for me to read a bodice-ripper at least once before I die. As a joke. So I got a cleavage-covered book, read it, and was confused. It seemed like low-quality chicklit. I do read chicklit. What's the difference between romance and chicklit? So I got another bodice-ripper, Beloved Embrace, and this was a proper one. It had pirates. And manly cravings.

The pirate romance switched between being disgustingly bad and hilariously bad. For some reason I decided to read a third romance, but it, too, was bad, so I stopped reading it half way through.

Anyway. I love to shelve romances. To organize the Nora Roberts. To wonder what appeal Debbie Macomber has. Just to see what subjects romances actually deal with. Other than heaving bosoms.

For instance, vikings. Yeah, vikings. I couldn't help but giggle when I found Dark Viking by Sandra Hill. Though when I read a blurb that mentioned "erotica and drop-dead humor," I had to wonder if it was any good. I like humor. I like the erotic. Not so hot on vikings. But would it have proper erotica, or that wishy-washy pseudo-sex romances try to give us (you know, the stuff that has members and bulging manhoods)? Well, I'll let you know how the vikings fair if I read it.

Another fun fact I learned while shelving romances is that Scottish guys are in. Who knew there was a big market for tartan romance? Here are some of the titles I've come across:

Beware a Scot's Revenge
Devil of the Highland
An Original Sin 
Sleepless in Scotland
Highland Hearts
The Border Lord and the Lady
Secrets of the Highlander

And I'm amused by the titles of paranormal romances like You're So Vein and Tall, Dark and Fangsome, but especially Eat Prey Love.

The romance Milkrun by Sarak Mlynowski caught my eye, amidst all this shelving. It doesn't look like many of the others, and on the back it says something I can get behind: "I need a man who wants to rip my clothes off, feed me pizza, then have stimulating, intelligent conversation." Mmm. Yes, please. In that order.

And then there's Nora Roberts. A prolific romance writer, but she also writes mysteries under the name J.D. Robb. I find this fascinating, that Roberts writes both in a genre men won't be embarrassed to read (mystery) as well as a genre men can't go near if they want to protect their reputations (romance). The J.D. Robb covers are all in hard lines, in sans-serif fonts, in red and black and intense colors, signals to men that this is something they'd like to read.

I have decided that I should read some Nora Roberts. I think it's important for someone in my business (ze book business) to know both their genre and their literature, to have a bit of an idea of all that goes on between various covers. So: Nora Roberts, one of the biggest names in romance. And there's something appealingly feminine in the covers of one of her latest series:

Thus, I got a copy of the first in the Bride Quartet to bring with me on a winter vacation to the mountains. Will soon let you know how it went.


  1. =) Love the illustrations, always wanted to draw something like that as a joke. There is also that one bulging mexican guy that shows up on like 80% of romance covers O_o. I wonder who is he.
    like here
    and here

    The last one looks nice though. Very stylishhhh.

  2. That guy is even in the same pose in both pictures! Thanks for sharing. And welcome to my blog.

  3. Thanks =) I like reading your staff. It's so outside my regular headspace I never know what you might bring up next O_o if that makes sense.