Thursday, June 3, 2010
Romance Books You Didn't Know Were Romance Books
Last year, I was fortunate to be on a committee which judged romance books (among other genres) in order to come up with the "best" one of the year. This was my pick for "Best Romance": Chemistry For Beginners by Anthony Strong. You'd never know it was a romance book by the title or by the marketing. It's a trade paperback -and if you find it in the bookstore at all, its going to be in the literary section. Shame that. The market for this book is romance readers not the literary types at all. And it's telling none of the big romance sites (AAR, Smart Bitches, Dear Author) have picked up on it. It's really too bad. This book is the best contemporary romance I have ever read and, as I have detailed before, I do not like contemporary romances for a plethora of reasons. And when I tell you about this book, you are going to grimace and role your eyes because it sounds like a bunch of pretentious literary crapola. But its not. Oh no, its not. And I totally mean that as a compliment.
I wish I could link to a great, well thought out review done by an independent blogger, as reviews are not my forte and I like it better when someone else does all the work. The best I can do is point you the Amazon page and invite you to read the first review. It actually is quite a succinct summary of the book and gives you a fairly good idea of what it is all about. But don't let the reviewer's snarky attitude toward romance turn you off! The reviewer doesn't understand romance books, or readers and thus cannot comment intelligently on this book as a romance. He is to be pitied. I am a romance reader who has read the book, and I am telling you it has all the traditional elements of a romance and an amazing HEA. The reviewer sees these things as detriments and he is annoyed that true love conquers all. But because we are all romance readers here, we like this kind of stuff. I blame the marketing of this book. If you pick it up and expect it to be "literary" you are going to be puzzled. But if it was marketed properly as a romance, you would have the expectations of a romance book and wouldn't expect the litery stuff.
A little about the book...yes, the book is in the form of a scientific paper. There are footnotes. It is about scientists. It is about academia. It is about female Viagara. It is about a Cary Grant type handsome nerd who falls in love with his research subject. It is also about sex. And fun. And what happens when you try to study sex in a scientific way. It is also about bonobos. They have a lot of sex, don't ya know.
This book was nominated by a woman who confessed to me she had never bought a romance book in her life. Just doesn't care for the genre. But she couldn't put this book down. So when she told me about it, I had my doubts. And I was deeply sceptical. And I thought, how good could a romance be, if its reccomended by someone who doesn't like romance. Boy howdy, I was wrong!
So try it. Trust me. You will like it.
And then let's storm his publisher and demand they put this book in the hands of romance readers everywhere and market the hell out of this book to the romance blogs, etc., Its that good. And romance readers deserve to know about it.