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Do I Really Have To Read The Romance Novels?

Sadly, the answer is yes. If I want to finish this list, I’ve got to read ‘em all, romance novels included. Well, crap.

So in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d make a short post to honor the great romance novels of all time, while I’m preparing my review on Book #9: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I know as much about romance novels as I do about Greek architecture, which is absolutely nothing. Though I love to read, I’ve never been one for sappy romances. I’d rather run a few miles or watch a football game.

But, unfortunately, there are romances on the list, so I’ll be expanding my horizons before this whole deal is over. See ya later, comfort zone. I’ve already been through Gone With The Wind. After a quick view of the list, I also see Possession and The French Lieutenant’s Woman–two more romances.

So, tell me, which romance novels should I read first? Take a look at the list and let me know which ones you have read and whether or not I should be looking forward to reading them. You’re going to have to convince me, because I’ll probably be putting these off for quite a while. Do your best.

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think you should read Possession first. Mainly because it’s more of a literary adventure and less of a romance. I mean, the romance is there, sort of. But I would not classify Possession as a romance novel. It bears no resemblance to the tawdry, bodice-ripping, bulk of the genre. I haven’t made it all the way through this book due to school reading, but I’ve enjoyed it so far and not once gotten a hint of “smooshy romance”.

    February 14, 2011
  2. Besides “Gone With The Wind” I am not sure any of the others qualify as ‘romance.’ I am also not sure what you are classifying as ‘romance.’ That said, I would go with “Atonement.” I think that is close to romance but really it is a mystery, just better written than most.

    February 14, 2011
  3. the French Lieutenant’s Woman is chock full of post-modern goodness. Not precisely a romance though you might not know it from the title. It’s great, put it near the top of your list.

    February 14, 2011
  4. Sounds like the general consensus is that these aren’t really “romance novels” as in the crappy genre of novel that is in grocery stores everywhere. I knew the Time editors wouldn’t pick books like that anyway, but, still, anytime I see that a book is about “romance” I think of those types of books. Good to know that’s not the case.

    February 14, 2011
  5. I struggled to see anything which you could truly call “romance” – you’ve already tackled Gone with the Wind. The advantage of the list seems to be that you’ll be avoiding anything which would appear in the romance setion of your local bookstore. At the same time stories like The Great Gatsby have huge worth beyond any romantic content. I’d start with that – at least it’s short!

    February 14, 2011
    • Great Gatsby–awesome book. Probably my favorite of all time. I think I’ve read it about 5 times. I agree–a lot more going on there than just romance.

      February 14, 2011
  6. My husband just recently “broke out” of his favorite genre, and I was so excited about it. He typically reads only science fiction and fantasy, so when I saw his interest in a thriller, I was more than encouraging. Fact is, branching out of your “comfort zone” can open your eyes to more than you expect. I’m not saying you will become a fan of romance novels, but I think by reading the ones you’ve committed to, your scope will widen. And that, for writers and readers anywhere, is a great thing. Good luck!

    February 14, 2011
  7. deirdrefield #

    since you are having to force yourself to read some romances, why don’t you check out my prologue for Sassenach, and see how it compares? ;) x

    February 14, 2011
  8. I have just finished reading Possession two weeks ago. You should read it! I agree that it is less of a romance than an adventure. However, you might stumble on the Victorian prose and poetry. There are a lot of them, even whole chapters dedicated to them.

    February 18, 2011
  9. I think what makes most of the books that are on this list is that they defy genre. They are not merely mystery or romance or young adult but a combination that makes the book richer and deeper.

    February 18, 2011
  10. Possession is a great book, but I’d agree not necessarily a romance. Romances are great though, and it’s a MUCH wider genre than you’d think. Read them quick and just enjoy the emotional ride.

    February 21, 2011

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