Monday, July 4, 2011

Reading Romance

In 7th Form I was Head Librarian of our school. I love libraries. I love reading. I love books.

I am not into eBooks and prefer to buy the books I love in paperback format; I think it is the new book smell. I always have at least one book in my bag and have over 1000 books that I want to read.

I have just become part of a book club with 2 other women. For the most part we read the same genre’s which makes discussing books easy and it also means that we do not have to set ‘required’ reading for the group. We can also borrow and loan books to each other which is fantastic and totally cost-effective.

Now that all the Auckland libraries are combined there is a massive selection available to read. I request about 5-10 books at a time and they just all get delivered to our local library. It is utter bliss.

What I do want to say is that I think that Stephanie Meyer is a shit author. On the plus side she got people reading, but on the negative side I have tried reading her books and they are awful. Seriously, there are far better authors who have been around a lot longer than Meyer.

What really annoyed me 18 months ago were women being interviewed on TV in NZ and saying that they loved Meyer’s books and loved the paranormal romance genre because it allowed them some escapism and possibly to feel the romance that they were missing from their lives. Suddenly, romance was thrust (pardon the pun) into the limelight with teenagers – middle aged women enjoying these books. True Blood (based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris) have also helped paranormal romance become cool and hip. Seriously people…romance novels have been around for a very, very long time.

My problem is that I have been reading romance novels for well over 20 years and in the early years I was made to feel ashamed of my interest in that genre. However, I know longer care what people think I will read what I want. In addition to romance I read a very wide-range of fiction including mystery, thriller, comedy, chick lit, NZ/Australian fiction etc.

Authors I adore (but not limited to) are:
Charlaine Harris (I started reading her well before True Blood started)
Christine Feehan
Gena Showalter
J.D. Robbs (Nora Roberts)
J.R. Ward
Jane Austen
Janet Evanovich
Jennifer Crusie
Kathy Reichs
Kresley Cole
Larissa Ione
Laurell K Hamilton
Linda Howard
Molly Harper
Nalini Singh
Patricia Cornwell
Sherilyn Kenyon

I really wanted to find some statistics about the romance genre. This is the best I could do.  
For the record I studied New Zealand and Australian literature, 18th Century Literature and Byron when I was at university.

I am always interested in new authors and books. So tell me what books and authors do you love to read?


  1. Are you going to see Nalini next week? I think she's at Whitcoulls in the city on Monday and Takapuna library Tuesday night. I'm going to the Tuesday night one. Details are on her blog.

  2. You might like Freya North... she is a mix of romance / chick lit - more chick lit ish, but her books have a storyline and I find them enjoyable. I cannot stand books that are too mindless (hello Twilight!), I like them to have some obvious thought put into them.

    I also love the local library, I requested a stack over the weekend and I can't wait for them to come in!

  3. p.s. The Women's Bookshop on Ponsonby Rd is a little treasure.. Carol, the owner is amazing and so passionate about books. If you get 6 or more people together for a book club evening she reviews a stack of books for you, along with some wine & cheese etc. It's a really fun night out if you're a book worm!

  4. I read just about everything, but generally have at least once gritty crime novel and a couple of romances on the go (be it Mills & Boon, historical, contemporary, and less often, paranormal). I love the escapism of a well written romance, the conflict and resolution, and yes, the knowledge that there will most likely be a happy ending. :-) I've never ashamed or embarrassed about what I'm reading! I actually did a paper on romance novels for a women's studies paper at uni! :-D Are you on

  5. p.s. Lots of interesting stats here:

  6. Wow thanks gals…I don’t think I have had this many comments before!

    @Rocalisa – That’s exciting about Nalini….I have a gym appointment on Tuesday night so might not be able to see her this time around. Next time though!

    @Kate – I have actually tried Freya North…I did like a few of her books, but didn’t love her. I absolutely love the library it’s the best thing ever! I love that the Women’s Bookshop on Ponsonby Road offers a book club evening. I would love to get a group together!

    @Sarah – Yes, I agree with you. I love the escapism of a well written romance. I think that’s why I really love Jennifer Crusie. She has the perfect blend of romance, strong female characters, mystery and humour…oh and dogs! I used to read romance novels on my lap in our maths class…this might explain why I failed 6th form maths. Yes I am on good reads as Nessoldfield. Thanks for the link for the Statistics! You know…I used Google and couldn’t find anything! Reading through it quickly now that is exactly what I wanted! I just wanted proof that romance was a hugely successful/popular genre.

  7. I probably try almost everything. I must say I'm not a fan of sci fi or fantasy though. Just personal taste, I guess.
    I like Jodi Picoult because even if I think one of her books won't appeal to me, she still sucks me into a story. She's crazy good like that.
    I read a lot of biographies too. Of course there's chick lit and all those types of books as well. I love my library - can't wait to go back and get some more books! =)
    Like you, I prefer paperbacks to e-books. Maybe I'll adapt over the years or maybe I won't. I love the page turning and the scent. I like the peacefulness of it. I feel like reading a book off a screen would not have the same serenity to it.