Guilty Pleasures…Romance Novels

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by Nancy on August 12, 2010

Come on, admit it! You’ve read a romance novel at some point in your life. Maybe you’re reading one right now :-D. And that’s okay because I recently learned you are in good (and numerous) company.

So why am I writing about romance novels?  Last Saturday Joan and I attended the TEDxBoulder conference. Ever heard of a TED conference? Me neither (but leave it to Joan to know about it.) TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading (learn more about it here.) At a TED conference various speakers are given the opportunity to present an idea in a fixed time frame. At this event, speakers were given 6, 9 or 18 minutes to share information, an idea, or something they had learned. At one point back-to-back speakers talked about the evidence of water in the universe (there’s lots more than you think) and an argument for 11 dimensions of space. By the end of those two talks my head was about to explode so it was a great relief that the next speaker, business writer, Carmel Hagen, got up to spend 6 minutes telling us everything she knew about the business of romance novels.

Did you know romance novels are the most scientifically researched genre in literature? That there are top ten lists for the occupations of characters in romance novels (doctor, nurse, rancher, cowboy, boss, knight…to name a few?) There’s also a top ten list of words to use in the titles of romance novels. Did you know the number one download on the iPad is a Nora Roberts romance novel? And that romance novels account for 46% of the print publishing market? It’s so fun, so enticing and much easier to understand than 11 dimensions of space.

Turns out people are talking about romance novels all over the internet. Today, The Week, an international news aggregator, posted The Appeal of Amish Romance Novels. Apparently they are soaring in popularity. On the 50+ women’s community, Vibrant Nation, there is a long thread on Can You Recommend a Good Novel About 50+ Romance?

Do you have a favorite romance novel? My just the right any-kind-of-novel is long and preferably has more than one book. There are two long, involved series I love. One is the Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. The setting is Scotland and America in the 1770s and the series is a combo of historical fiction, time travel (sci fi) plus romance and you can find it in any one of those categories at the bookstore. The other is the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. Challenging, delicious to read, every word has import and the most seemingly innocent phrase can be a key to something that happens two novels later into the series. Set during the Renaissance, you will learn much of what there is to know about the countries of Europe, Russia, the middle-East and Africa during that time with romance to boot! (Money-saving hint, these books are popular and easy to find in used bookstores.)

So go for it, there’s still a few weeks left of summer. Indulge yourself in a romance novel, it might be just the right thing!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary August 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Be prepared to re-read the Lymond Chronicles for many years. And at some point you’ll discover the House of Niccolo series, also by Dorothy Dunnett.There is always something new to discove in Dunnett’s books.
Love Diane Gabaldon, too, though I have not quite forgiven her for ending the latest novel with several nail-biting, cliff-hanging scenes–and then taking her 2-3 years to produce the next book!!

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