February Genre Challenge: Romance
As you might guess, February's theme in the 12 genres in 12 months reading challenge is romance.
What Is Romance, Anyway?
Think you know what a romance novel is? I thought so, too, but once I started looking at recommendation lists, I realized that not everyone agrees what should be in this category other than it should include a love story. Romance Writers of America says that the second characteristic that romance novels share is a "emotionally satisfying and optimistic" ending. Some of the books I found listed as romances fall into what others might term "chick lit" or "women's fiction" categories. Romance is genre that seems especially suited for pairing with other genres, so it's easy to find blends with science fiction and suspense. See the Romance Subgenres if you're interested in the full list.
As I've mentioned before, romance is one genre where I've read little, so it's difficult to make strong recommendations in this category. In my twenties, I did read some romantic suspense by Jayne Ann Krentz (also known as Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle) that I remember enjoying. (By the way, if you're wondering about why she writes under so many different names, you might enjoy her article "The Pen Name Pickle.")
Last month I recommended The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern as a "magical realism" title and was surprised to see it on the list of 12 Romance Books For People Who Hate Romance Novels. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy are listed on 21 Romantic Books You Can Absolutely Lose Yourself In and of course I've read them. (I was an English major, after all.) I can highly recommend them as well as other romantic classics such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
What I Might Read
Here are the few romance books that made my short list:
Possibility #1: The Fault Is In Our Stars by John Green
Why this interests me: I've read other young adult books by John Green and enjoyed them. This one has been recommended to me multiple times, but I've always hesitated knowing how sad it's supposed to be. (When the author himself says in this IndyStar article, "I'm sure everybody in Starbucks thought I was a very strange person to walk in each morning, open my computer, cry for three hours and then leave," you know it's going to be a sobfest.)
Recommended by: 12 Romance Books For People Who Hate Romance Novels and 21 Romantic Books You Can Absolutely Lose Yourself In
Possibility #2: The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter
Why it interests me: I looked for books that were described as romantic comedies to read this month. I was drawn to this one by the tie-in to actress Bette Davis and the 50-something main character. The author died in 2013; this was her only book.
Recommended by: 14 Funniest Books About Finding Love
Possibility #3: The Guy Next Door by Meg Cabot
Why it interests me: I find Meg Cabot very funny, so this title looks promising. She is best known for The Princess Diaries, which I've actually never read. I do like her Heather Wells mystery series which she's said was inspired by Britney Spears. The first book in that series is Size 12 Is Not Fat.
Recommended by: 100 Must-Read Romantic Comedies
I'll be reading one (or possibly more) of these books this month.
For other book ideas, check out my Book Recommendations board on Pinterest. I'll be adding book lists throughout the year as I come across intriguing ones.
Next Month (March): Biography, Autobiography, & Memoir. This is one of my favorite categories of reading, so I'm sure I'll have lots of book suggestions!