“Thoughtful Ramblings” is a feature where we discuss bookish subjects. These posts are just our own thoughts about certain topics that may get us hot under the collar and we need a good rant or just things we want to share with fellow bloggers and readers.
Genre Misconceptions – Have You Ever Been Wrong?
Have you ever been so wrong about a genre, you just wish you could take it all back? Well, that’s just happened to me, a few weeks ago actually. Let’s start from the beginning…
When I was 10, after reading lots of Judy Blume and Nancy Drew, I felt I was grown up enough to start reading adult books and the first I plucked from my mums bookshelf was ‘Liverpool Daisy’ by Helen Forrester. I loved it, it was so very different from Judy Blume (as you can imagine) and read all her novels back to back, (if you haven’t read her autobiographical trilogy then do!) I then moved on to Catherine Cookson and other authors in the same genre, which is more ‘saga’ than ‘romance’ and Agatha Christie. It took me a year to read most of their back lists and then one day my mum placed Jane Eyre in my hands… well, I fell in love! The romance, the time period, the writing…
I proceeded to read all the novels by the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen and devoured as many classics as I could. Then in my mid-teens I picked up my first horror: Dracula by Bram Stoker, (which is still one of my favourite books, ever!). This lead me to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice and about ten years ago, urban fantasy, and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake. I hadn’t read anything like it before and I fell in love… again.
Now, I am a reader who gives anything a go, whether it be genre, subject matter, writing style. I’m up for new experiences. So, it surprises me that there is one particular genre I have stayed away from: Romance. I think the reason I avoided this genre was mostly due to the fear of leaving the kick-arse chick I loved so much in UF to be confronted with a weak and pathetic heroine who can’t live life without a man – no thank you! But where I obtained the idea that all romance heroines were victims I can’t honestly say, but it was strong enough to keep me away. It was also enough to make me negative about the genre, to others, even though I’d never read it, which I am embarrassed to admit, and so sorry now.
To be honest, the more I think about it, the more I am perplexed why I had misgivings for the romance genre. I am SUCH a romantic at heart – I adore Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, two of my favourite books and I love watching romance movies. Where was the young girl who’s heart broke for Catherine and Heathcliff, who swooned over Mr Darcy?
Having read a lot of Urban Fantasy and Horror over the years, I have wanted to try something different for a while. Since blogging I have seen how much the ‘Romance’ genre is loved, even by book bloggers I completely respect. So, was I just not ‘getting it’? Was I missing out?
So I decided to put my doubts aside and try a romance novel. I sent out a twitter request asking for the best romance authors, as I had absolutely no clue where to begin, and I received lots of recommendations. The main book that kept coming up was Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase and was vehemently recommended by Ana (aka books smuggler). So, I bought it. And to my utter amazement, I *LOVED* it!
Since then I’ve been book buying like a crazy person and have read nothing but romance! I have been reading mainly historical romances as I just love the time period and the way the characters speak. I can honestly say that I am enjoying the experience. I’m sure at some point I will come across a heroine who is too stupid to live, but disappointment happens in every genre. I just can’t believe I waited so long – now I am finding that I have to read every single romance book in sight! At this rate we are going to have to move – to give me more room for all the new books of course!
What I have also realised is ‘Romance’ is not ‘Chick-Lit’, which is another misconception of mine, and, after a chick-lit “phase” in the summer 2008, have pretty much exhausted my interest for this genre, so this didn’t help matters. Romance I now realise is different because it’s the actual ‘romance’ that’s the story; it tugs at the heart strings, makes my heart flutter, causes me to sigh longingly and make sounds like “Ahhhh” and “Awww”, then look at the hubster through narrowed eyes thinking “hey, why d’you not do dat?” Let’s just say, I am in love… again.
So, have you ever been completely wrong about a genre? Have you tried a genre you thought you would hate only for it to become one of your favourites?