I do hope all you romance fans have had a chance to read most of the essays at Read-A-Romance Month. So many great insights into romance and the romance genre, and why we fans love it so much. (You can find the full calendar of authors here.)
In case you haven’t read any of them, I’ll tell you that each author was asked to respond to the same three questions (in the spirit of James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio), and one of them was: “Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)”
It’s very hard for an avid reader to answer this question. How do you pick just one? For an eclectic reader, how do you choose which genre to focus on? Or even fiction over nonfiction?
Some of the authors mentioned their “gateway” romances. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander came up more than once. It’s very timely since the TV series based on the book premiered in August to great excitement. Many of the authors mentioned books by the legendary dames of early romance—Judith McNaught, LaVyrle Spencer, Jude Deveraux, Kathleen Woodiwiss, etc.
Eloisa James, a literature professor in her “day job,” mentioned the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Nina Lane praised A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Who Moved My Cheese came up (Lisa Renée Jones), as well as The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (Jennifer Ashley). There was The Lord of the Rings series (Laura Florand) and the Nancy Drew mysteries (Jayne Ann Krentz), On Writing by Stephen King (Meljean Brook) and A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson (Lisa Kleypas).
Grace Burrowes noted that The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) by Thomas S. Kuhn “is a small and very readable book that looks at...the historical ‘breakthroughs’ in science and [finds they often aren’t] breakthroughs at all. The truth is usually staring us right the face.”
This is my truth, which I think is fairly well supported by the above list along with the hundreds of other books mentioned and recommended during Read-A-Romance Month: Romance fans are smart, engaged and eclectic readers. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the bottom of the virtual To-Be-Read pile I’ve created after RARM ’13 and ’14, both romance and nonromance, fiction and nonfiction.
Of course, there are so many great romances coming out right now, I suppose I have to spend some time on them. Don’t miss Connie Brockway’s The Songbird’s Seduction—truly sigh-worthy romance from a master—or Christina Dodd’s intriguing step into true thriller territory, Virtue Falls. Contemporary favorites Rachel Gibson (What I Love About You) and Jill Shalvis (It’s In His Kiss) never disappoint, and the heroes in their recent releases are especially compelling.
Definitely a September to remember, and a great time to “Fall” into romance.
So what about you? Romance or other genres, fiction or nonfiction, is there a book that changed your life? Tell us about it!