Don't get me wrong--I love the diversity of my blog-readers. But I also have a weird sense of fun, so I'm going to challenge you holdouts to read a romance novel.
C'mon, just one. It won't kill you.
Yes, I know. You'd rather be tied up and made to listen to Vogon poetry than read a romance novel (or be seen reading one). But unlike Vogon poetry, romance novels are loved by an awful lot of people. And if you have never bothered to wonder why, maybe it's time you did. After all, over half of all softcover fiction sold in the U.S. is romance.
So here's a new game, kids. I'm calling it The Romance Novel Challenge. I'm going to list a few fiction genres and romance subgenres that I have studiously avoided reading. Anyone who is willing to read a romance novel (or an inspirational romance novel if you've never read one of those) for the very first time (and you're on your honor here--please don't lie to me) can choose one book or author from my "never gonna read that junk" list and make me try it.
I'll read my assigned books and then come back here and recount my agony in lurid detail. Or maybe I'll admit to having been surprised and delighted by your selections.
I'm not big on rules, but we're going to need a few for this game, so here they are:
1. If you have never read a romance novel by a contemporary author, you may take the Challenge. You need not, but are encouraged to tell us which romance novel you have chosen to read.
2. If you don't qualify under the first rule, you may still be able to play. If you have never read an inspirational romance, you may take the Challenge by reading one. Again, I'd love to know the book and author you've chosen, but you don't have to spill any details if you're really that embarassed about the whole thing.
3. Those who have read inspirational romance can't play, but they may suggest romance novels and authors and are
very welcomestrongly encouraged to heckle the players.
4. The Challenge will end when I can't take it anymore.
Okay? Let's get started. Right off the top of my head (which means this is by no means a comprehensive list), here are some of the things I've never read:
Stephen King novels. Honestly. I haven't even seen any of the movies made from his books. The movie trailers for stuff like Carrie and Pet Semetery saved me from wasting money at the bookstore. I've read King's nonfiction book, On Writing, and loved it. But tell me which of his horror novels I "must" read. Or pick another horror author. I've never read anything in that genre. Ick.Ready to accept The Romance Novel Challenge? Tell me that you're reading a romance novel (or an inspirational romance) for the very first time. Then pick a book or author from one of the groups listed above and order me to read it. I'll sigh and grumble and then make an honest effort to find the book.
Scottish romances. I love Celtic music, so I know all about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites and such. But if you want to hear me squeal, order me to read one of those Fabio-in-a-kilt books.
Paranormal romances. What's appealing about a toothy guy who wants to drink your blood? Or some warrior dude who wants to drag you back with him to the days before indoor plumbing? I sincerely hope nobody expects me to read one of those books.
Novels set during the Civil War or any war after that. Apart from Gone With the Wind (which wouldn't count, anyway, because it's not by a contemporary author) I've never read one. But how bad can they be? I probably wouldn't suffer all that much if you made me read one. Unless one of you sadists out there assigned a book or author you knew to be awful.
Graphic novels. Sure, I chewed Bazooka bubblegum and read Archie comic books when I was twelve. But I've never read a graphic novel. Please don't make me. Oooh! They look so stupid!
My husband's favorite, the slash-and-dash novels. You know the books I mean--the ones where somebody gets offed in the first chapter and then some brilliant but underappreciated lawyer tries to get the accused freed by finding the real killer. My hunk o' burnin' love is particularly fond of Lisa Scottaline books. If you want me to read one of those, I could probably find one in the wicker basket on his side of our bed. But I really hope you won't make me look.
I'd ask you to be gentle, but I'm not stupid enough to believe you'll miss an opportunity to see me squirm. But, please--no obscure authors or out-of-print books. If I can't find your recommended read at my town's (pretty doggone good) library or at Booksfree, I'm not promising to scour five different bookstores for it or to drop thirty bucks on an Amazon.com order. Thanks for understanding.
For those of you who will be taking the plunge and reading an inspirational romance novel, here's a good one that got fantastic reviews and actually won a couple of big-deal awards.*
*Oh, come on. You had to know I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to plug my own book.
U P D A T E
Sunday, 8:05 PM
Jeepers, did a bunch of you rush over to Amazon this afternoon and buy my book? I was just over there looking for another series romance book and was very surprised to see that mine is #2 right now on the list of hot sellers (#1 being a Nora Roberts book, natch). Gotta be a mistake. Nothing means anything on Amazon. Tomorrow it'll probably be back at ASR 300,000 like it was last week. But it gave me a little thrill there for a second. Whee.