Although I’m writing a post for Lost in Romance, I’m a virgin. I’ve been a book blogger for over three years, but I’ve never before written a guest post for a blog. This is my first time. When I was invited to participate in Lost in Fiction’s Lost in Romance event, I could not refuse. Here was my chance, I thought, to spread my wings a bit, to write a piece for a new and exciting site that’s in another part of the world. (Thanks to the miracle of the World Wide Web, our words can be easily read by people across the world; this gives writers a great deal of power and responsibility.) But I was unsure what to write about in regards to romance. In preparation, I read a book, All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorp, inspiring, real life love stories to help get me in the mood to write about romance. I also posed a question on Facebook: What is your favorite romantic novel? I received a wide variety of answers from Facebook friends, which included the Malory Family series by Johanna Lindsey, a play, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, a crime novel, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, Love Walked In by Maria De los Santos, and not surprisingly, a novel I also loved, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.
Although I wouldn’t say that I read a great deal of romance novels, I’ve read about 80 percent of Nicholas Sparks’ bittersweet romances. I never expected to enjoy his books as much as I did, but after I read The Notebook I began to pick up his novels in rapid succession. It was exciting to read about love, even as I came to realize that things didn’t always work out in the end. I was completely up to date reading his books until, ironically, I’d been blogging about books for about a year; then, suddenly, I started to get numerous requests to review specific books on my blog, and it became harder to keep up with my “normal” reading. Anyway, I was never “into” Harlequin romances (although I’m sure they are pleasurable to read) or romance novels per se, but I must admit that I’ve always enjoyed the romances that take place in novels (and movies). I think that’s pretty natural. In fact, the romances are probably my favorite parts of many of the books I read. When I was younger and aspired to have a special someone in my life, the romances I discovered in literature thrilled me, and heightened my expectations about love and romance. Today when I read I’m a bit more realistic and discerning, although I still enjoy reading about romance, whether it’s in a classic Jane Austen novel, a contemporary Jodi Picoult book (where sparks fly in unexpected circumstances), or in a story about forbidden love of some sort, as in novels by Nancy Krikorian, Sweta Srivastava Vikram, or James Baldwin.
When you think about it, what do writers write about? They write about life, they write about love. And readers want to read about love and romance, myself included.
Info about the blogger:
In May of 2008, Susan Ortlieb created her main blog, Suko’s Notebook, as a celebration of books, reading, and writing. She loves many many kinds of music, from Classical to Classic rock and the blues, Beethoven, Mozart, Jack Johnson, Al Green, Van Morrison, Be Good Tanyas, Lucinda Williams, Tim and Jeff Buckley, Stevie Wonder, Mary Lou Lord, Counting Crows, The Strokes, Elvis Costello, Barry White, Rufus Wainwright, The Black Eyed Peas, Damien Rice, Over the Rhine, and many others. Sheis, of course, a VERY strong reader, her favourite books include: Little Women, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Lotus Eaters, Number the Stars, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Cardboard, The Life O’Reilly, Outlander, Pride and Prejudice, And the Pursuit of Happiness, The Rembrandt Affair, We Were the Mulvaneys, The Friday Night Knitting Club series, Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own, Gift from the Sea, The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Stones from the River, The Lord of the Flies, Embroideries, The Metamorphosis, Saffron Dreams, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, The Catcher in the Rye, Out, Shanghai Girls, The Audacity of Hope, and many others.