Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If I tell you my secret, will you think less of me?

We all have our little secrets, don't we. I know I do. In fact, one of my favorite books of all time is called Can You Keep a Secret. It's about a girl who, in the midst of a frighteningly turbulent plane ride and thoughts of death, tells all of her secrets to her seat mate. She then discovers he's the boss. Now, I have fewer secrets, I suspect than most gals in Jordan. I talk openly about the fact that my kids are fertility kids. Imagine. I'm fine with people knowing my real age (38 in case you're interested). There's not a lot I feel like I need to keep secret. And, in fact, the secret of my title line isn't a secret either, unless it's the world's worst kept secret. Ever. So, here it is. Prepare to be shocked and disappointed.

I am a romance novel junkie. Whew. It feels good to say it, teehee. Seriously, I'm not a closet romance novel junkie. Most people who know me well are aware of this. In fact, visit my house and you'll be hard pressed not to find at least one visible romance novel, either one I'm reading or one I've just read or one I haven't managed to get put away... But, there really is a stigma attached to romance novels. People tend to perceive them as something that bored, none-too-intelligent housewives read. Alternately folks think of them as female porn (although my preferred ones never have anything more racy than a kiss, and usually not even that).

Now, I have widely varied reading tastes. I read probably 15 romance novels a month and intersperse with them business books, historical fiction, best sellers that El 3atal brings home, professional development books. You name it, I read it. I also get a few professional magazines out of the US and periodically grab Jordanian ones to peruse. So, clearly I'm a voracious reader. But, when I want a simple easy book with a guaranteed happy ending, I pick up a romance novel.

And my favorites, my real favorites are historical romances set in the Regency period of English history. It's funny, I don't either way about English history. I've never visited and never really wanted to visit England, but I love those novels. Especially when you find the ones written by really great writers. These would be the writers who can write a compelling story about ANYTHING and choose romance novels as their genre. They are by turns funny, sad, and always engaging. So, I came across an article about Romance writers that I thought was fascinating.

It talks about women who left promising educations at top name schools (think Harvard) and tenured professors at well known schools who write romance novels. Imagine, choosing this career over more scholarly, more serious, more... boring? It also talks about a gal who rather has my opinion on this topic... Here's a quote.

When Tan tells people she reads romance novels and blogs about them, "I can see
it in their eyes that their opinion of my intelligence is just being revised downwards."

Today's twist: "I feel embarrassed for them."

So, it was refreshing to see someone take a look at romance writers and discover, as I've known for a while, that there are some excellent ones out there. There are some mediocre ones as well, but of what genre is that not true? Hope you enjoyed this peek into my secrets, teehee.

Happy formula fiction!


At 1:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for this post

At 3:00 PM , Anonymous Ola said...

Interesting post, I have always been discreet but recently I'm finding it increasingly hard to keep a secret. I once wrote a short story about this, that was long time ago but I love this story, here's the link if you'd like to take a look at it: http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2006/12/128219.html

About romance novels, I'm not really a fan, in fact I tried once to read a novel for Danielle Steel and I felt like I was watching a Hollywood movie, and not exactly a blockbuster. But maybe I chose worng, perhaps I could give it another shot

I have a friend who's addicted to English classics, especially Jane Austin's work. We wanted to buy her a farewell gift since she's leaving work and I found the perfect thing, a book called: confessions of a Jane Austin addict. You might want to check it out, it seems good.

At 1:30 AM , Anonymous kinzi said...

I must confess I have had contempt for romance novels. But, must clarify by saying those I used to read were not the innocuous tales you described, and worthy of contempt.

You are not one who lives through the heroine, you write your own novel in your real life living.

My confession is that I've recently discovered some Christian 'romantic fiction' that has really touched my heart and helped me examine my own tendencies toward fail. Happy to share!


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