The romance books are on the shelves in the far corner from the door, behind the pile of random boxes and collapsible chairs. They are the last group bunched together on the shelves and the second to last group I have to purge. After this is just general fiction and general fiction is scattered all over the place.
Romance is a denial category for me. For some reason I always think I have fewer romance novels than I do. I had every intention of claiming this subject had suffered heavily in the previous purge, along with fantasy & science fiction. But the numbers just don’t bear that out. There are 197 books tagged with ‘romance’ in my Library Thing library. 189 are on the booklist. I stopped keeping up the booklist in 2005, so I have only read 8 new romance novels in about 4 years. That probably accounts for why I think I have so few. Romance novels are just a drop in the book bucket.
I counted the romance books on my shelves. There are 153.
minus the 8 new ones….145
subtracted from the prepurge total of 189….44.
which is… um….x/100=44/189…x=4400 divided by 189…or is it 189 divided by 4400?…either 23% or 42% of the books being purged last time… or some other total entirely because I am completely off on method. I’m inclined to 23%
sooner or later we all regret failing basic algebra.. yes Sister Ethelraeda you were right, someday I would need to know how to figure out percents but you see I was far too busy thinking about Valerie Sherwood’s latest novel Rash, Reckless Love with the dashing buccaneer Van Ryker swashbuckling his way around my adolescent fantasies to give a rap about percentages.
I still have that book and the 3 others in the series – Bold Breathless Love, Wild Willful Love and Rich Radiant Love. All with the required 18 year old tousled blond wearing a slip in a windstorm while a dark handsome, sword wearing, piratically dressed male (oddly, not in a windstorm himself, romance covers being subject to quirky localized weather events) looks down her with longing. I was 13 when I read the first one. I’ve been dreaming about swashbuckling men ever since. (possibly even since I was 10, see Han Solo reference). I loved Jennifer Wilde’s and Rebecca Brandywine’s books as well. Romance in the 80’s was a lot less…PC I suppose. More sweeping off the feet in the literal sense rather than the romantic. Pirates & buccaneers were assertive types, commanding. None of this flitting around at balls during the Season and taking women for drives in the park to let people know this woman is yours. Pirates grabbed their woman and whisked them off to their cabins. Persuasion was not a bunch of distracting touches and witty repartee. It was more insistent and to the point. I enjoy today's more sensitive males but I miss swashbucklers. My formative years were shaped by them. I can’t toss these books. Mostly they are not in print anymore & I’d never find a copy if I wanted to read one again.
Other books from my formative years are Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley series. I loved them for their heroes and heroines, for their Tudor setting and for their sex. Despite all the sweeping, grabbing and whisking the buccaneers did, the sex wasn’t described hardly at all. Skye had SEX, lots of SEX. She was a lusty woman, so were her descendants. She had several husbands and twice ended up in harems. Harems are big in Small’s books. Nearly all her heroines up through the 90’s end up spending some time as a harem slave. Heck, she has an entire book about one, The Love Slave. The women in the Friarsgate series don’t. But those were written after 2000 I think and harems are passé now. Blaze Wyndham didn’t either come to think of it and that was the early 90’s. They still have a lot of fully described torrid sex though.
Sometime around 2000 I discovered Stephanie Laurens and Regency romances. I like her books, they are witty and fun and have mysteries in them, not just kidnapping & relationship complications. Though they have fully described sex too, it’s not as much and it’s less torrid. The heroes are all masterful males and I find masterful males, that are not swashbuckling, a bit irritating over time, especially in their need to protect the not in the least bit helpless heroine. Despite that,I enjoy them enough to buy them hardback as soon as they are released, so obviously they are not too irritating. The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn is similar (only not in hardback)
I think most of the 8 romance books I have bought in the past 4 years have been Laurens’. She has two series going right now. I think there might have been a couple by Victoria Alexander in there as well.
I found a dozen or so books by about 9 different authors I had probably set aside during the last purge, intending to either reread or get rid of them. I seem to have done neither, so they are going out now. I could probably let go of some of the Amanda Quick hardbacks too. She settled into a set of characters the last few books I bought and I’m not that fond of the characters. They are in the library if I want to reread them.
14 books to go out, that’s not too bad. I’d try working out the percentage but then I’d start thinking about buccaneers again.