Welp, the original topic of this blog entry went out the window. I was going to post about not making my Goodreads reading goal, only to find out there were books I’d read in 2016, for which I did not record a date finished, so my count went over and above the goal. This surprises me. I didn’t think it was that many, but pretty decent showing.
My reading has been almost evenly split this year, between historical romance and realistic YA, with a handful of contemporary romance/women’s fiction thrown into the mix, and some grace notes of general fiction and graphic novels along the way. My goal for 2017 is to go back to my first love, and have historical romance comprise the majority of my reading for this coming year. We’ll see how that goes. I feel kind of funny about that, and kind of funny about feeling kind of funny about it.
The YA binge I’ve been on for the last year or so has brought a lot of new voices into my reading experience. I love the intense emotions I find in these novels, which often deal with serious changes in the life of the protagonist. I love that the genre has a good amount of standalone novels, which I have been sorely missing in historical romance. One story, complete in one volume, has always been my favorite, and I’ve been reading long enough to hazard a guess that things are not going to change in that regard. So, finding another genre in which I can get that sort of story is a good thing.
Historical romance, though; that’s still my first and favorite, and I feel guilty that I haven’t been reading as much of it as I would like to be. Right off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of reasons. If I am going to read linked books, which can seem like the only choice when shopping in mainstream markets, then I have to start at book one. This is not negotiable. That’s how I roll. To me, it’s one story, in multiple volumes, and skipping around is not going to do it for me. It’s like walking in during the middle of a movie. I’d be all “who’s that guy?” and “what’s she doing here?” and “why does everybody keep talking about how they’re not going to discuss XYZ?” If I have no idea what XYZ is, I also have no idea why it’s a big secret; I’m not intrigued, only annoyed. I also think I was born without the Regency gene. I checked. It’s not there. Go figure, most popular setting in my favorite genre, and I don’t get it. Sure, I’ll read books with this setting, but my heart is most firmly lodged between the end of the Wars of the Roses and the end of the American Revolution (Oh, Hamilton, you came at the right time.)
Not that this doesn’t mean there aren’t other settings out there. Did I put a double negative in there? I am not going to backtrack and check, because burning daylight here, and I want to get some of that actual writing into the day. Long story short (pun totally intended) what I’m planning on doing for my 2017 reading is to find and join a historical romance reading challenge (if you know of any, dear readers of mine, please point me in the appropriate direction in the comment section, or drop me an email.) and make a conscious effort to hunt down books with the elements that make me do grabby hands at the mere mention of a book’s existence. Such as:
- standalone story; no prequel, sequel, spinoff or companion, complete in itself
- historical setting between 15th-18th centuries
- historical verisimilitude: characters need to be people of their time
- darker rather than lighter tone
- authorial voice that grabs me; I’ll know it when I hear/read it
None of this means I’m going to eschew books that don’t meet the above criteria (but, again, if a book ticks every box on that list, give it to me, and give it to me, now. I need it.) I remember a time when I used to blaze through 400+ page books in a day. That seems like another life, but, then again, why can’t it be this one? Historical romance is what I love the very best, and yet I feel a disconnect. That means I need more. It has to be a priority. Hence the search for a challenge, because I am competitive like that. If I set a goal, then I am going to reach that goal, thankyouverymuch. Plus, I get to read books.