Saturday, December 08, 2007

Giving Up on Romance

No, not in my personal life, although that's pretty much a desert too, but on the bookshelf.

Although I read my share of Anya Seton and my babysitting charges' mothers' copies of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss when I was a teenager, I never cared much for Romance. I like a good love story as much as the next chick, but in my experience most of those books are heavy on the love, light on the story.

Nevertheless, I was haunted by the possibility that in dismissing an entire genre, I was missing out on some great undiscovered talent. That fear was reinforced when I was introduced to the work of Jennifer Crusie, who's now one of my favorites. I like her because there's usually something else -- a mystery, or at least, dare I say it?, a plot -- going on besides the boy-meets-girl. So I was wondering, was there somebody else like her out there I was missing?

Then I discovered the fabulous Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books website. Their reviews (and the comments from their readers) are so smart, so passionate, and so funny that I was dying to check out their recommendations. Through BookMooch, I acquired an assortment of their favorites and proceeded to indulge.

But alas. To me, no matter how adoringly recommended, these books have ranged from, at best, moderately entertaining (Mr. Impossible, Loretta Chase) to cringingly bad (Goddess of Spring, P.C. Cast).* I still don't want to diss the whole genre, but I guess I just have to accept that I'm never going to get out of Romance what its aficionados do.

At least I can keep reading the website. Whether we agree on the books or not, those are my kind of bitches.

*Of course, as soon as I made this determination, I encountered an absolutely wonderful, well-written, emotionally engaging work: For My Lady's Heart, Laura Kinsale. Kinsale may be the great undiscovered talent I was looking for.

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