Wednesday, May 11

A Born Romance Reader, My Grandmother and a Lousy Reviewer, that would be me.

A Born Romance Reader:

Nicole Blogs about her romance reading Genesis. For me, I think it's genetic. I was born into a family of romance readers. Including my dad, especially my dad.

Both my parents are avid readers. My mom reads just about any type of fiction published (with the exception of horror--though she does have a copy of the Exorcist on her book shelves, but she still has nightmares about it 30+ years later.)

My dad reads biographies (political and historical--no Kitty Kelly--LOL), westerns and romance. He always has a huge pile of books on his night stand. Mixed in with the Louis L'Amours and Zane Greys were always plenty of Harlequin, Harlequin Presents and when I was little, lots of Barbara Cartland. Pretty tame, I know, but to be completely honest I don't want to know if my dad reads anything really "hot", I'd have to file that under "too much information."

I became a serious reader in Junior High School, up until then I read Nancy Drews and anything that had a horse in it. But, in JHS I read "Mrs. Mike," I've blogged about this in the past. I wore out the school's copy of "Mrs. Mike" to the point they gave me the book at the end of the school year. So, it was in JHS that I started raiding my dad's night stand. Which was fine with my parents.

By the time I was in High School I was raiding my aunt's pile of books (she and my grandmother lived with us back then--both were romance readers, grandma is gone, but my aunt still reads romance). In High School I discovered historicals, (Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers) and Danielle Steele. Anything I read got passed onto my entire French class, under the desks, of course, the teacher was a major ^%#*$. For those of you who can't understand anyone reading KW, RR, and DS that was all there was back then, we're talking the late seventies (I graduated in '81). I also discovered Stephen King in HS--Salem's Lot, Carrie, The Shining. A couple of years ago, I admitted to my mom, I lifted "Looking For Mr Goodbar" off her night stand when I was 15. I was a completely clueless 15 year old, after reading it I didn't believe anyone had (whispering) oral sex.

The romance bug stuck, I've been reading ever since.

My Grandmother:

My mother's mother (Big Grandma) lived with us after my grandfather died in 1973, my aunt who was only 19 lived with us too, until she got married. "Big" grandma was a skinny 5' 2", huh, "little" grandma was 4' 10"--LOL, it's all relative especially to little kids, we named them big and little--how these two little women ended up with grandchildren that range from 5' 8"--that's me to 6' 5"--my brother, we will never know--I've completely digressed, sorry).

Big Grandma was a liberated woman, before there were liberated women. She always worked, not because she had to, Grandpa made very good money, but because she wanted to (I guess Grandpa was liberated too). Though she was very independent, Grandpa always thought she was a prude, "Mamie, you should have been a nun--None of this and None of that..." You know something maybe we're all a little odd, how many kids back in the 60's heard their grandparents talking like this--I don't know.

Well, Grandma discovered romance novels after Grandpa died. Like me, she raided my dad's night stand. She used to say "I don't read the sex scenes, they're disgusting"--like there were sex scenes in Harlequins and Barbara Cartlands back in 70's--LOL. But, she must have been secretly reading my aunts' books, because she often said "I wish I knew then, what I know now."

She was a character, I miss her and grandpa everyday and they've been gone so long now. Okay, that was maudlin enough--I'm making myself cry.

On a Lighter Note, I'm a Lousy Reviewer:

I can admitted I'm a lousy reviewer. I can't write a good synopsis to save myself. I'm not really sure I even want to. I break a book down like this:

Did I like:

  • The hero? (that always comes first and to be honest, I almost always like the heros--what can I say, I like all types of men.)
  • The heroine?
  • The story line, plot and writing style?

Was the book memorable and would I read it again? If all the answer's are yes, It's a keeper. If it's not memorable, it's a B- and things kind of go down hill from there.

That's enough thinking for one day.

Have a great day and happy reading.


Wendy said...

My grandmother's name was Mamie too! She lived until the ripe old age of 94, and also could have been a nun :-) Of course, having 10 children and not being Catholic probably would have made that a bit difficult....

Anne E. said...

My mother was a reader of romances, but I do not know of anyone else in the family who indulged. My paternal grandmother was a great reader of the classics and mainstream fiction, according to my dad. "Nana" was 70 when I was born, and by the time I would have been old enough to discuss books with her she was in the beginning stages of what was then called senility. She died when I was 14.

My maternal grandmother, "Grandma [last name]," was not much of a reader. She read the newspaper and the "Reader's Digest." She was much younger than "Nana," not dying until I was over 30 years old. Unfortunately we were never close, something I deeply regret now: it's too long & personal a story to relate here.

My mother loved the little Harlequin romances, the old "Wagon's West" Series, the "North and South" series, Janet Dailey, and Nora Roberts. She was the one who explained to me that romance novels follow a formula: girl meets boy, girl gets boy, girl looses boy, girl gets boy again. She loved soap operas as well as romance novels, so she was familiar with the conventions of both genres. Two days before my mother passed away at the age of 91, I talked to her on the phone for quite a while. She told me that she was sitting up in bed reading a romance novel! Two days later, I received a phone call from my MIL telling me that my mother had been admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery. I called the hospital and by a miracle was able to speak to her for about a minute as she was being moved onto the gurney. My son and I gave her huge collection of romance novels (some were rather rare)to her favorite civic organization to sell during their annual fund raiser. I know that would have pleased her!