Summertime, and Romance is in the air!
- RENEE BASHOR
- The Bee - Features
Did you know that the most popular type of paperback fiction sold in America today is romance? Although most romance readers are women, there are quite a few men who also enjoy the mostly upbeat, often humorous, and surprisingly diverse tales. In today's stressed and busy world, romance takes the reader into another life--often an exotic place or time--to experience someone else's struggles to make a relationship work. Multnomah County Library owns many such novels to satisfy a broad range of romance readers.
Award-winning contemporary romance writer Jennifer Crusie writes some of the best novels featuring modern women with modern values. Her complex plots, unusual characters, hilarious dialog, and steamy sex, along with some of the genre's spunkiest heroines, intriguing men, and plots full of mysterious elements appeal to a large audience. 'Anyone But You' features a 40-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man, a basset hound who loves Oreos, and a very active elderly neighbor, making for a delightful romp.
'The Shop on Blossom Street' begins Debbie Macomber's series of knitting novels set in a small town. Cancer survivor Lydia Hoffman opens a yarn store called 'A Good Yarn'. Her beginning knitting class brings together women from different backgrounds eager to knit a baby blanket. As they work together, they become close friends and find fulfilling lives. Macomber writes sweet, well-told stories of friendship and comfort among women.
Contemporary romances featuring women seeking professional as well as personal success vary widely in character types, as well as sensuality--although the ultimate goal is usually marriage. Set in small towns and big cities, and at all income levels, the heroines are almost always determined and honorable, with common sense and humor. In the past, this category was exemplified by writers such as Grace Livingston Hill or Faith Baldwin. Nora Roberts, LaVyrle Spencer, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Jayne Ann Krentz are among the most popular today.
Historical romances also continue to be popular, set in almost any time or place. The Multnomah County Library owns many inspirational and Christian romances as well, both contemporary ones and reprints of classics. Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock, Janette Oke, and Bodie Thoene are popular examples, and there are new titles all the time.
'Romantic suspense' is now very popular. Mary Stewart was the beloved author of the 1950s and 1960s, now replaced by authors as diverse as Sandra Brown and Elizabeth Peters, Iris Johansen and Nora Roberts. Even 'The DaVinci Code' could be categorized here.
There are many more subgenres of romance than we have space for here, but the staff of the Multnomah County Library can help you find the perfect summer romance, new, old, large print, CD, or cassette.
And by the way, Multnomah County Library's book group, the Pageturners, welcomes local romance author Shirley Karr to its August 15 meeting, to discuss her recent novel 'What an Earl Wants'. The Earl of Sinclair's efficient new secretary turns out to be a woman, not the man 'he' first appears. This could create quite a scandal, as well as a distraction for them both!
For more information about Pageturners, visit the your local branch of the Multnomah County Library.