29 December 2006

My 2006 Reading in Review

My mother got much sicker but now she's better. I hope she's passed her genes onto me! And I hope you all had a great festive season.

I keep a diary of what I read in the year. I usually put a one word description next to the title to remind myself what I thought of the book. This year, not surprisingly, I read a lot of romance but more surprisingly, not much erotic romance. What I did read, I didn’t like much. There is a sameness about erotic romance and not much risk taking. I mean risk in relation to story and characterization not in relation to unusual sex. When I read a book like Judith Ivory’s Black Silk or Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Fancy Pants, which are romances full of complexity and interest, with well depicted characters full of human flaws, I go looking for those stories in the erotic romance world and don’t see them. It makes me think about what I'm writing and I see I'm not taking many risks either.

There is a belief that erotic romance is about fantasy and readers don’t want reality, but that’s been said about romance too. But in fact there is a wide range of types of romances out there from sweet category to more realistic slice of life romances. I think it’s time erotic romance started to get more diverse and interesting. Alpha males with washboard stomachs and big cocks start to all blend into each other as do feisty dames who suddenly develop the desire for anal sex and submission. Where’s the humor? Where are the interesting plots? Why can't erotic romance engage with the real world in the way that good romance does? Not that I have anything against fantasy but when I hear over and over again that only alpha males have a place in erotic romance, I know it's becoming stale and moribund.

The following books are ones I put an excellent or very good against. I read a lot more that I thought were good, but these ones, for me, were just that bit better. You can see that 2006 was a catch up year for me. I read a lot of romances that were published in the 1990's and early 2000's. And I seem to like historicals more than I thought I did.

Black Silk, Judith Ivory
Beast, Judith Ivory
Untie my Heart, Judith Ivory
The Lions Daughter, Loretta Chase
Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase
Flowers from the Storm, Laura Kinsale
Passion, Lisa Valdez
Fancy Pants, Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Devil’s Waltz, Anne Stuart
The Diamond Secret, Ruth Wind

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Brooklyn Follies, Paul Auster
Unless, Carol Shields
Bell Canto, Anne Patchett

The Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
The Compass Rose, Gail Dayton
Daughter of the Forrest, Juliet Marillier
Shadow Touch, Marjorie M Lui
Lynn Viehl's Darkyn Series

Rubdown, Leigh Redhead
Monkeewrench, PJ Tracey
Black Ice, Anne Stuart
Origin In Death, J D Robb

Erotic Romance
Almost a Gentleman, Pam Rosenthal
Ice Queen, Joey Hill

And a small book that probably fits into the horror genre "Come Closer" by Sara Gran.

What did you like?


At 30 December 2006 at 12:16 am , Blogger Laura Bacchi said...

Ah... Judith Ivory and Loretta Chase. Ivory's The Proposition and Chase's Lord of Scoundrels are in my all-time top five.

As an epubbed erotic romance author, I have to admit you're right. I think because we can write short (and we need to get the next thing out there), we tend to sacrifice depth for zing, if that makes sense. And when you create a not-so-Alpha hero, the reviews can be lukewarm. To me, a guy who's a Gamma is interesting, but ebook readers who want the Alphas may say a Gamma is too wishy-washy. Maybe we shouldn't worry about reviews and just give our characters the story they deserve.

Happy New Year, Keziah! And thanks for giving me something to think about as I start to write in 2007.

At 30 December 2006 at 9:31 am , Blogger Keziah Hill said...

I even hate the words alpha and gamma! Why do we slot characters into these straight jackets? Happy New Year to you too Laura!

At 30 December 2006 at 9:52 pm , Blogger Nonny said...

I'm with you regarding the erotic romance... I've seen more than a few that I would classify as "porn" not "romance," because there isn't a story beyond the characters getting off. >_<

My favorite books for this year (in no particular order; etc indicates series):

His Majesty's Dragon, etc, by Naomi Novik
Touch the Dark by Karen Chance
Ill Wind, etc, by Rachel Caine
On Fire's Wings, etc, by Christie Golden
Dark Lover, etc, by J.R. Ward.
Magic Study by Maria Snyder
Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

Ironically? J.R. Ward is the only romance author on that list--and I've read a lot of romance this year.

At 15 January 2007 at 3:33 pm , Blogger Lillian Feisty said...

Judith Ivor and Loretta Chase are my two favorite romance writers. Hands down.

And I understand your feelings about erotic. I'm right there with ya.


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