Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Romance Novels

Not for me, thanks.

Did it take me all this time for figure that out?  Well, not really.  It's not the genre I make a bee-line for when I want something to read.  Actually I don't read all that much fiction anymore because it makes me all schpilkis.  I did buy 2 books from Amazon this week and running true to form they are cookbooks, pastry.  By Sandra Bullock's sister.  Who knew she HAD a sister, not I.  One's about sugar work and I know nothing about that so I thought now's the time to learn a little bit since as soon as I finish Bad Apple 3, I want to finish "Not Low Maintenance 2".

I've been on the Nook since I got it.  It's a wonderful thing and makes reading for me so much more pleasant.  I acquired some books by Jill Mansell so I've been reading those.  They're not traditional romances--I like the covers a lot better--actually they're hardly romances at all.  If the prime directive of a romance is that you must concentrate solely on the lovers, then the Mansell books don't fit at all.  There was one where the guy showed up sporadically, they fought, he'd disappear for another 100 pages, rinse, repeat, until the last few pages where they declared their undying love.  (Scratches head here.)  I don't think you could get that published in America.  Yes, it's published now because it was published in England.  But if you put Chrissy Barker down as the author and switched the details so it would be America and not England, I don't think an agent would be interested.

Yes, they're all very Bridget Jonesish.  The girls drink--a lot--and they have sex with quite a few men who they don't know (which is always a good policy in real life if you want to get an STD, raped, beaten up or perhaps murdered and left in the pine barrens of Long Island, or just simply very disappointed), lead lives without consequence or meaning and generally bemoan that fact without having a clue what's wrong.  At this point the reviews shriek "Bridget Jones is me!"  (Attendant peals of laughter and pride that I suppose there are others who are as fill in the blank as you.)

Romance novel covers look so similar.  That's so potential readers can identify them.  (Note to self--see, that's where you're going wrong, your covers are all over the place.  Even Konrath warns against that.)

Who wrote the first romance novel?  That's a good question.  We know about the gothics--Jane Eyre.  That's never been topped.  Here's the answer from Wikipedia

One of the earliest romance novels was Samuel Richardson's popular 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, which was revolutionary on two counts: it focused almost entirely on courtship and did so entirely from the perspective of a female protagonist. In the next century, Jane Austen expanded the genre, and her Pride and Prejudice is often considered the epitome of the genre. 

P&P, yeah, it's on my Nook.  Does it really focus solely on Lizzie and Mr. Darcy?  What about the whole plot about Jane and Mr. Bingly or whatever his name was.  And that awful awful sister, Lydia going off with that soldier guy.  And Jane Austen didn't pull any punches with Lydia, it was made quite clear she was sleeping with him.

Here's the wonderful Lesley Gore from the 60's (this is from the 80's but I wanted you to see her).  And I like this song.  For once, listen to the lyrics.  I always get yelled at for listening/making sense of the lyrics "Who cares?!  Why are you talking about the philosophy of the lyrics?!!!" 

Hootenanny.  Oh geez, one of my favorite disparaging words of all times.


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