A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why I don't read romance novels....

In the past, I have gone on the record to state that while my taste in books is rather eclectic, I don't read romance novels. And last week I was reminded why.

Earlier this year, my favorite local used bookstore closed up shop, and at the final sale I picked up a number of books. I've been on a historical fiction kick lately, so among the books I bought were a couple by a prolific historical romance author (who shall remain nameless, but feel free to guess or email me to ask...). I'd forgotten about them until shortly before my trip, when I rediscovered them while organizing my paperback bookshelves. I had already started rereading Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman, and since one of the books dealt with roughly the same time and place (13th century England and Wales) I thought I'd give one of the romances a try. After all, everyone needs a little brain candy once in a while. So I packed it for my trip to Albuquerque.

As it happens, I finished Here Be Dragons on the flight over, so that evening I picked up the romance novel, intending to perhaps enjoy some lighter fare set in the same time and place...

And it was clear to me from chapter 1 that I wasn't going to be able to finish the book. While some of the names used were historical figures, it was obvious that the author had not done much research into the actual culture at the time. Perhaps I'd been spoiled by having just read Penman, but the romance author was so far off on the Welsh views of illegitimacy, relations with the English, religion, and even just simple character development that it was absurd. I can suspend disbelief in many instances, but this was just beyond unreal.

And then there were the salacious bits. When I was a teen, some friends had gotten ahold of a romance novel, and one could tell from the well-thumbed pages where the naughty parts were. Back then, it was a thrill reading the steamy scenes. Not so this time. The repeated hackneyed cutesy euphemisms for genitalia and such coupled (npi) with the otherwise graphic depictions was practically nauseating. "Love juice"? Ew.

Needless to say, that book did not make the return trip from Albuquerque.

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