sábado, 13 de febrero de 2016

Reluctant Romantic: It's Complicated



Have you had a bad experience reading this genre before?


Last year I tried my first romance novels and it went quite well, but I'm still trying to find my footing in this genre. As in any other there are indeed flops, clichéd and badly written books. My problem is twofold: romance writers are very prolific, y'all, and I don't know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, as I'm not familiar with the writers. 

Do you have any negative perceptions of the genre you’re reading? If so, have you had any experiences so far this month that have challenges those perceptions?

I'll be completely honest: I'm also kind of ashamed to be seen reading romance. People think all sorts of wrong things about romance readers and the covers don't help! I'm fighting hard against those prejudices, since what I've read doesn't really support what I though I'd find. While the love interests are all too good-looking to be believable (can't fat people fall in love?) and the writing is never going to land a Pulitzer, the novels are quite more than fluff. They explore the breadth of human feeling, and that's no easy task. We should give more credit to romance.

8 comentarios:

  1. I guess I've never read a romance with the steamy front covers - and I don't expect that I ever will. I mostly stick to the classics and Christian to avoid the ridiculous sex scenes. (Though the Christian books can be ridiculous for other reasons.) It's not that I think poorly of people who read romances (why is it any of my business?), but I simply don't expect to like the books. I guess I have a preconception that they will be plotless with ridiculous sex scenes and flat characters, but maybe that's not true.

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    1. That's exactly what I thought I'd find in romance novels: ridiculous sex scenes, flat characters, and boring books. It turns out we are wrong in our preconceptions! Which is awesome, and that's why I'm loving this challenge. It's pushing me out of my comfort zone.

      There's sex, of course, but all of it is meaningful and tastefully described. And I wish I could say the same things about modern lit fic! Have you read Philip Roth? Just ugh. Characters aren't flat either - they can't be, or it would be impossible to form a connection with them, which is something essential in romance. You need to be invested on the characters and their relationship, because it's the main focus of the novel.

      I'm sure there are books that are true to the clichés, though. But it doesn't seem to be true for the majority of romance novels.

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  2. I loved the romance genre during my teens years, but haven't picked up one since....except of course, I love a good romantic movie and so many of the books I read could be described as being romantic - The Time Traveller's Wife was time-travelling romance after all! And there's always Jane Austen and Bronte and Shakespeare and even Dickens who all wrote romantic characters and tales - is there a distinction between literary romances and light romance?

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    1. Actually, I think that boundaries between genres are not so defined as I once thought they were. But I'd still say there's a difference: none of the classics you mention (except maybe Shakespeare, I haven't read him enough) had love as their main focus. Austen and Dickens both did social commentary first, love second. And the Brontës are a whole different thing, I think. Maybe Austen's novels are more romance-y than the rest, but they still don't feel so light and fun as modern romance novels do.

      Modern romance, on the other hand, is fast-paced and focus on making the reader feel, not so much as think exactly. I don't think that's bad, for the record, it's just a different reading experience than what I've had with literary romances. I have to do more brainwork with the classics and they feel less heartwarming. Maybe it's just that time have passed and things have changed?

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    2. Sorry for the typos - English doesn't come easily when coffee hasn't kicked in yet!

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  3. Yes I agree that the authors I mentioned wrote a much bigger story than the romantic elements in them, whereas 'romance' novels focus on the romance - the feelings as you said. Everything revolves around the romance and it is the main reason for the story being written.

    There you go! Between the two of us we've coming up with a working description for romance novels :-)

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  4. I'm also having a hard time sorting out the good from the bad in this genre! I feel too uncertain of what I like and what to expect to do a good job selecting books for myself. I share your concern about what people will think if they see me reading romance novels. And I just don't think it's appropriate for me to be carrying around a picture of a topless man at work, even if it is a book cover :) But I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that we need to give romance more credit. The books I've picked up weren't the best writing I've ever read, but for the most part, they were far from the worst. I've also been very pleasantly surprised by how much they've made me think.

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    1. Huh! I haven't been thinking much while reading romance - I'm surprised by how much they've made me feel! It's not something I'm used to getting from literature, so it's a completely different experience. But it's not a bad one, not at all.

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