Sunday, August 28, 2011

What I Read Other Than Romance

For a while I read romance. Exclusively. Probably beginning in high school, other than required reading for English literature classes, I didn't go far without a Harlequin American Romance in my hand. I eventually branched out into historicals and single titles, but for me, romance was queen.

In time I expanded my horizons further. A group of friends started a social book club, and we read a plethora of types of books: historical fiction, women's fiction, chick lit, best-sellers...but no real romance.

As I've gotten older, I still enjoy my romance, but my main fare these days is Young Adult Fiction. Ironic, isn't it? As a teenager I read adult romance and as an adult I'm reading fiction for teenagers.

The thing is, there's so much good writing out there for young adults these days. Perhaps not good in a 'classic' literature sense, but good as in a 'I can't put the book down' kind of way.

For me, it all started with Harry Potter. I was hooked on those books from the moment I picked the first one up. I've found that I have a taste for the paranormal in teen books. I fell totally in love with the Twilight series. (I think I've read them all seven or eight times by now.) I've always loved romantic vampire stories, so this was right up my alley. Recently I read the available books in the House of Night series. (Again, more vampires.) A friend just gave me the first in The Immortals series. (Not quite vampires, but close enough.) This summer I read all of the Alex Rider (He's a teen-aged James Bond) adventures. Another favorite series is The 39 Clues.

Even in adult books I like series more than stand alone. Perhaps it's once I've found something I like, I want more and more of it. I really like the Sookie Stackhouse books. (More vampires, plus HBOs True Blood is my guilty pleasure!) The Chocoholic Mysteries are a fun read. And I really enjoyed Lois Greiman's Chrissy McMullen books. When I need some hard core adventure, I turn to Dirk Pitt or Kurt Austin novels from Clive Cussler.

Most of these are "keepers" and go on the shelves of my personal library, to perhaps be read again and again.

My girlfriends and I share book suggestions, so I'm never without something waiting in the pile to be read. I've also discovered that it's hard to read other romance when I'm writing a romance myself. Things tend to get all tangled in my mind. Still, I have quite a large collection of romance in my library.

So, how about you? What's on your list these days besides romance?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. I stick mainly to romance unless David Morell or Robert Ludlam has a new one out. I'm thinking of writing a shapeshifter story, so am devouring weres and other shapeshifters to see how other writers handle them.

  2. I didn't read an romance until ten years ago. I'd devoured science fiction since high school, and realized I re-read the ones that had strong romantic elements. And lots of open door sex. (Robert Heinlein surely sits near the feet of the literary god.) I meandered to fantasy, and then discovered historical romance writer Bertrice Small. (Her seat near the literary gods is saved.)
    I love reading romanc, but don't have a stack of books at my bedside. When I read, my romance 'fix' is satisfied and I put off writing. In no small part because I'm easily convinced I'll never be as good as the authors I'm reading and I shouldn't bother trying.
    Still, a re-read of a favorite Heinlein or Small classic is never a bad idea.

  3. I love the 39 Clues series--I started reading them to my daughter and I hope we get to the end before she's no longer interested! I've always read romance, although my mom would direct me more towards sweet romance (lots of books set in small English towns, authors I can't remember, but loved) while I snuck the Harlequin in whenever I could (usually too shy to read the sex scenes at the time!). I love mysteries and currently I seem to be reading a lot of "book club" type books (you know, the ones with the questions in the back). Now I just need to find a book club! :)

  4. is good to read up on what you want to write to get a taste of what's out there.

    Ana...yep, I need the open door sex part of a romance.

    Jennifer...I do like the books with questions in the back. Even if I'm not book 'clubing' at the time, it's fun to look at the questions.

  5. Wow! You have an amazing library, Debra!
    Morgan Mandel

  6. I read anything and everything that finds its way to my hands and holds my interest, even if the story is poorly written. I tend to enjoy contemporary, historical and paranormal (especially time-travel), some YA, mysteries and suspense. As much as I love a strong romance woven into the story, it's not a necessity. Love what I learn from historical fiction too (i.e., Philippa Gregory, etc).

    Joanna Aislinn
    Dream. Believe. Strive. Achieve!
    The Wild Rose Press!/JoannaAislinn

  7. If I only read romance, I think I'd get hardening of the arteries - no, that's for fat. Well, I'd be hyper with all the sugar. I NEED to read other genres to keep me grounded, and my favorite is gritty thrillers like Tess Gerritsen's and especially Lee Child. Well, who doesn't love Jack Reacher?

    The reason I read thrillers is because basically I write them, but they get segued into the 'romantic suspense' bucket when submitted to publishers. Sigh. So then I have to take out multiple points of view and tone down the dark grittiness.

    I love reading romance, I really do, although HM&B doesn't do it for me, but sometimes I get fed up that it seems to be taking over every other genre.

  8. Thanks, Morgan. It's one of my favorite rooms in the house! nice to 'see' you here! I do like Philippa Gregory, too.

    Vonnie, I totally agree about the sugar...sometimes I just crave something different than romance.

  9. I'm late to the party, life has been busy! I read romances when I was younger and then again when I decided to get back into the romance world again (and boy, what a difference between romances in the 60's and today's romances!)
    If, however, I look round my bookshelves, it's very apparent that my real reading love is historical novels. Not romances (although some may contain a romantic element). I've never been into what I call 'modern stories in fancy dress'. What I really like are the novels which centre around real people and places in the past, Sharon Penman's medieval novels are, for me, the best example of this. Her research is meticulous and she brings to life the real people of history. Anya Seton did the same in "Katherine" (and I'm still in love with John of Gaunt as a result!)
    I'm not and never have been into sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy or horror. And as for werevolves and vampires - for me they're the stuff of nightmares, not of romances.

  10. Historical fiction are great reads, too. I like Philippa Gregory. Orson Scott Card has a good series focusing on 'The Women of Genesis'.

  11. Hi,

    Always a thriller/adventure buff I read all the kiddy classics and started reading adult classics from an early age but soon graduated to historical bodice-rippers because they had it all: thrills, spills, adventure and romance.

    By late teens I was reading across the board genre wise, and even today my reading tastes are eclectic. I've read twelve romance novels (all reviewed) and five thrillers since January 2011. Of the latter three were Stieg Larsson doorstops of 500 pages plus. Some people say his books are tough reading material: too literary. Me, I love a chunky book, something to really keep me satisfied. It's the difference between a quicky thrill trip and that of extended pleasure. Yet, more and more readers are seeking shorter and shorter reads. I'm happy about that as an Indie author because my Kindle novella is selling extremely well with little or no promotion. That said, I worry my novel due out in July 2012 with WCP will no where near match the sales of my historical novella. Why? Because contemporary romance seems to be lagging behind historical novels, and paranormals are taking up the slack of the former.

    Tough times for authors!


  12. Interesting info, Debra! Maybe my time travel will be in sync with the market when it's finished.

  13. Paranormals really are the big thing now. I read about 40 books this summer and about a quarter of them were paranormals.

    And I do like a good time travel, too.