Andi Winter

Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Category: reading

Romance novels: sappy or empowering?

I grew up with historical romance novels*, and then read a ton of Harlequin Silhouette romance novels in college**. After graduating and becoming “an adult,” I started reading “real” books***, and saw no need to ever read a romance novel again. They were mindless brain candy, and I was more mature than that.

Apparently I’ve regressed.

I can’t remember why, or how, I started reading romances again—too many YA dystopian novels? too much violence against women in Game of Thrones****?—but I found an escape that felt good and hadn’t realized that I had missed.

Still, I felt embarrassed to be seen reading romance novels, regardless of how well-written they were (or even if their covers did NOT scream romance) because, well, they’re romances. Chick lit. Silly fantasies. Definitely not something that an educated, intelligent person should read*****.

Then I came across this post by fellow author Alex Kourvo, and I began to rethink some things:

The Novels We Need Right Now

Maybe it’s okay to read something that makes you hopeful, that makes the world seem a little brighter, and that brings a smile to your face. And what’s wrong with a happy ending? After all, Much Ado About Nothing is a classic, and as Nora Roberts points out, everybody ends up happy.

If you haven’t read a romance novel, give one a try. I recommend Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for those who want a “real” book (it’s a classic for a reason), but who also want to dip their toes in the romance genre******.

Looking for more suggestions? I’ll give my romance recommendations in an upcoming post.

Are you a romance reader, or a romance avoider? Let me know in the comments.

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*Like Kathleen Woodiwiss (A Rose in Winter was my favorite book in high school and Ashes in the Wind formed my understanding of the American Civil War.)

**Instead of the gigantic chocolate chip cookies they sold at the campus store, I would reward myself with “just a chapter” from a Harelequin Silhouette romance novel. Which usually turned into two chapters, then three (they were so short!), until I had finished the novel and found myself having to finish my term paper at 1 am.

***Like Sophie’s World (amazing) and Outlander (stayed up all night with that one).

****FWIW, I loved the first novel, and I enjoyed the first season of the TV series, but after awhile the violence against women just depressed me, as much as I adored Tyrion and Arya.

*****To be fair, I have read a considerable number of classics in recent years, including War and Peace and Moby Dick (both of which I enjoyed).

******For more of a paranormal mystery, give Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte a shot. But at all costs skip Wuthering Heights by a disturbed Emily Bronte (unless you’re into abusive relationships, and that’s not romance).

Three for Thursday

Here are a few of my favorite things for this Thursday:

  • What I’m reading: Romance novels by Stephanie Laurens – I stumbled across her books on the shelf at the library the other day, saw that they were set in the Victorian era (which I’m currently saturating myself with), and checked two out. I then promptly devoured both of them. Intelligent, funny, emotional, passionate. Too good to miss.
  • What I’m watching: Thor: Ragnarok – This was the first Marvel movie in awhile (and the first Thor movie ever) that I truly enjoyed. It’s a different, funnier side of Thor, which will I take as the result of his association with Tony Stark. And a fight match between Thor and the Hulk? AND Valkyries? What’s not to love?*
  • Exercise program I’m loving: Classical Stretch – Sure, the instructor is Canadian and a former ballerina (i.e. super flexible), and it’s kind of quirky, but the exercises are scientifically researched** to increase strength and flexibility, the show is filmed in beautiful locations (Mexico, Jamaica), and the best part: just 20-ish minutes! These are the first workouts I have done in I can’t remember, where I don’t constantly clock watch from the beginning; I’ll start to wonder how much time is left, and discover there are only 3 minutes left! Just watch out for the pliés, though — they are killers.

What is delighting you this Thursday?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
-Andi

 

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*Okay, Cate Blanchett once again as a villain didn’t thrill me, but at least she was better in this than the dreadful Indiana Jones Film That Shall Not Be Named.

**The exercises use the same principles as what I studied in massage school, which won me over.

Today’s haiku

"Discipline Equals Freedom" by Jocko Willinkread Jocko Willink

‘fear doesn’t get a vote’ now

back to the writing

 

-on reading “Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual” by Jocko Willink

Today’s haiku

"Rebel Mechanics" by Shanna SwendsonYoung Adult novel

“Pride and Prejudice”-inspired

predictable fun

 

-on reading “Rebel Mechanics”

Summer reading program is on

Summer Reading Bingo Card for adults

This summer’s Reading Bingo Card for adults

It’s summer*, which means it is time for the Summer Reading Program! My love of the SRP dates back almost 40 years** when my local public library had a Reading Bingo Card*** and I was so excited to read books that fit the different categories. I can’t remember exactly what I read, but there are proud X marks on some of the categories.

Well, in my current mild-mannered day job, I get to put together the summer Reading Bingo Card for adults, and every summer I still get excited about reading the books to complete the card. However, this summer I did something slightly different—the card is not just about reading, but also about exploring library services and “Building a Better World”****.

So of course I started strategizing and creating reading lists for the 14 different book categories, and of course I looked at how many squares I could finish ON THE FIRST DAY. Because I just could not wait.

Yeah, kind of sad.

<sigh>

At any rate, as of Day 2, I am in progress on six (6!) squares. And that’s me being restrained.

Yeah, I like to read. A lot.

<another sigh>

So what’s on your summer reading list? Anything you can’t wait to try?

 

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*Summer in Oregon apparently means 60 degrees and drizzle. It’s starting to look like Juneuary again.

**Okay, I’m definitely starting to feel old.

***Yes, I still have the 1980 Reading Bingo Card from my childhood library. And no, I am not ashamed.

****That’s the SRP theme this year. FWIW, the theme was decided two years ago.

Children of the 80’s and geeks unite!

cover of "Armada" by Ernest Cline

“Armada” by Ernest Cline

I have discovered a new guilty pleasure: listening to a delightful audiobook at home with a glass of wine. And the first audiobook to receive this treatment? Armada by Ernest Cline.

If you are a child of the 1980’s, or a geek, or even better BOTH, this book was made for you. Pop culture (heavy on the sci-fi) references abound as an alien fleet comes to attack Earth, and it gets even better with the reading by Wil Wheaton.

Yes, Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Wil Wheaton. Gaming nerd Wil Wheaton. Geek Extraordinaire Wil Wheaton.

I can’t remember the last time (any time?) I listened to an audiobook read by someone with so much enthusiasm and love. Wheaton’s reading was infectious and fun. Sure, the story is a bit predictable (especially for readers of Ender’s Game and viewers of The Last Starfighter), but it’s still a joy to listen to Wheaton sing rock songs and do impersonations of Sir Patrick Stewart and George Takei.

While I have only read the print book, I can only assume that Wheaton put the same energy into his audiobook reading of Ernest Cline’s previous book (and soon to be movie) Ready Player One (another fun 1980’s/geek novel).

Now, to find the next decadent wine-worthy audiobook . . .

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