Saturday, 9 February 2013

Feel the love

If you ask me about my first love, I would probably tell you I first felt that deep, passionate longing for...a book.

Yup, it is true. From the first moment I realized all those jumbled letters and marks actually made up sentences, pages, stories, even, I have been a passionate and not-at-all secret admirer of books. When I'm feeling blue, I retreat to books. When I'm ill, you can find me tucked up in a quilt with my nose stuck in a book. A book is the last thing I see before I go to sleep (okay, I DO see my husband as well although probably not as clearly as he would like).

In university I majored in English because I thought that would be the best way to feed my habit of reading by creating a purpose for all that book-lovin'. And we all know how terrifically valuable an arts degree is in the real world. Ahem. But, hey, it let me read through a four-year degree, well actually I stretched it out to 5.5 years just because I LOVED to read so much, among all the other things I loved to do at university.

Anyhow, I married another book lover, and now we have two dear little book lovers of our very own. Passionate library users and used-book-sale-browsers we are. I almost drove into the ditch one day last summer as we toured the winding seaside road near Ingonish, Cape Breton..."Hey, that sign says book sale!!"

With Valentine's Day coming up, that ridiculously sentimental Hallmark holiday that's trying its best to become the second coming of Christmas, I thought I would spread a little book love. Forget the chocolates, over-priced roses, and hideous pink stuffed monkeys holding hearts. Don't forget the red wine, though. You can enjoy that with a good book.

Happy endings

Don't be ashamed to read romance novels. Some of them are quite well-written, and who doesn't want a happy ending in their reading lives at least? Think of it as candy for the mind. I once would not be caught dead reading a bodice-ripper. Now I, I mean you, can read whatever you want on an e-reader and no one will ever know. Yippee! Of course if you buy them in my amazon store at the right of your screen (shameless self-plug here) I get a commission. Is that tacky to mention? Oh well.

Mary Balogh's Bedwyn series is a good one to start with. Slightly Married starts off the saga of six brothers and sisters who live in Regency-era England. Each book tells the story of one of these sparky siblings who buck traditions while falling in love with wildly inappropriate people, perhaps having some juicy bedroom scenes and eventually living happily ever after. What's not to like? My favourite was the last in the series, Slightly Dangerous, in which the snobbish eldest brother, Wulfric, finally succumbs to his romantic destiny. Sexy and delicious.

Nora Roberts generates more text possibly than anyone in the universe, except maybe James Patterson. I find her a bit trite, but when desperate I'll read one of hers. Out of her many dozens, I find the trilogies are best. Born in ice, Born in fire, and Born in shame were a good summer weekend read, with lush settings in Ireland and spunky heroines which are surely the bread and butter of every romance writer.

Other bearable romance writers

Susan Wiggs (especially the Chicago fire trilogy, The hostage, The firebrand and The mistress)
Lisa Kleypas (the Wallflower series, like The devil in winter)
Debbie Macomber (a little precious for me, but a safe bet, not a lot of sex)

In the raunchy romance department, well, I tried the Fifty Shades trilogy and it left me kind of cold. I can see why so many people find it hot, but the profoundly horrid writing and lame plot lines just distracted me from all the hot stuff going on. But hey, the author is a huge hit so what do I know? You could always try the board game.

Romantic music

(to play while you eat Thai takeout because you don't have a sitter and can't go out for V-day)
Royal Wood
Jill Barber
Jesse Cook
Sade Lovers Rock

Kid's stuff (because we love them, too)

My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
The I LOVE YOU book by Todd Parr
Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy Secret Admirer by Jane O'connor
Splat the cat: Funny Valentine by Rob Scotton
Wherever you are, my love will find you by Nancy Tillman
Ramona series by Beverly Cleary

1 comment:

  1. Love to read your blog, Stephenie. Will check some of these books out. Haven't got into E-reading yet.