Saturday, December 31, 2016



Welcome to the 2016 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge


Also the home of Well Educated Mind, A to Z, Dusty and Chunky,
52 Books Bingo and various mini challenges. 


The rules are very simple and the goal - read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks.



  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. 
  • Our book weeks will begin on Sunday 
  • Except for our first week which will run from Friday Jan 1 through Saturday Jan 9 
  • Participants may join at any time. 
  • All books are acceptable except children books.** 
  • All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc. 
  • Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2016 
  • Books may overlap other challenges. 
  • Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  • Sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" in the sidebar
  • You don't have a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post. 
  • Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your reads. 

All the mini challenges are optional. Mix it up anyway you like. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you.




**in reference to children books. If it is a child whose reading it and involved in the challenge, then that's okay. If an adult is doing read aloud with kids, the book should be geared for the 9 - 12 age group and above and over 100 pages. If adult reading for own enjoyment, then a good rule of thumb to go by "is there some complexity to the story or is it too simple?" If it's too simple, then doesn't count.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

BW17: Darwin's Bards

Darwin's Bards





Seeing as April is National Poetry Month, figured I'd highlight one of the Poets mentioned in Darwin's Bards written by John Holmes: 

Darwin's Bards is the first comprehensive study of how poets have responded to the ideas of Charles Darwin in over fifty years. John Holmes argues that poetry can have a profound impact on how we think and feel about the Darwinian condition. Is a Darwinian universe necessarily a godless one? If not, what might Darwinism tell us about the nature of God? Is Darwinism compatible with immortality, and if not, how can we face our own deaths or the loss of those we love? What is our own place in the Darwinian universe, and our ecological role here on earth? How does our kinship with other animals affect how we see them? How does the fact that we are animals ourselves alter how we think about our own desires, love and sexual morality? All told, is life in a Darwinian universe grounds for celebration or despair?

Holmes explores the ways in which some of the most perceptive and powerful British and American poets of the last hundred-and-fifty years have grappled with these questions, from Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning and Thomas Hardy, through Robert Frost and Edna St Vincent Millay, to Ted Hughes, Thom Gunn, Amy Clampitt and Edwin Morgan. Reading their poetry, we too can experience what it can mean to live in a Darwinian world. Written in an accessible and engaging style, and aimed at scientists, theologians, philosophers and ecologists as well as poets, critics and students of literature, Darwin's Bards is a timely intervention into the heated debates over Darwin's legacy for religion, ecology and the arts.



Still 

by 

A.R. Ammons

I said I will find what is lowly
and put the roots of my identity
down there:
each day I’ll wake up
and find the lowly nearby,
a handy focus and reminder,
a ready measure of my significance,
the voice by which I would be heard,
the wills, the kinds of selfishness
I could
freely adopt as my own:

but though I have looked everywhere,
I can find nothing
to give myself to:
everything is
magnificent with existence, is in
surfeit of glory:
nothing is diminished,
nothing has been diminished for me:

I said what is more lowly than the grass:
ah, underneath,
a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss:
I looked at it closely
and said this can be my habitat: but
nestling in I
found
below the brown exterior
green mechanisms beyond the intellect
awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up

and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe:
I found a beggar:
he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying
him any attention: everybody went on by:
I nestled in and found his life:
there, love shook his body like a devastation:
I said
though I have looked everywhere
I can find nothing lowly
in the universe:

I whirled though transfigurations up and down,
transfigurations of size and shape and place:

at one sudden point came still,
stood in wonder:
moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent
with being!


Find out more about A.R. Ammons  in The Paris Review interview as well as with Philip Fried of the Manhattan Review.  Meanwhile continue your voyage following in the HMS Beagles wake.


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Sunday, April 17, 2016

BW16: Following in the HMS Beagle's wake

Courtesy of About Darwin.com


I thought we'd do a bit a armchair sightseeing along with Darwin while reading Voyage of the Beagle.   Our first port of call is the Madeira Islands to explore their vineyards and do a bit of wine tasting. 




Then we'll sail through the Canary Islands and stop off at Tenerife for a walking tour and visit the 16th century town of La Orotava before doing a bit mountain climbing, or golf and/or whale watching if you prefer.




Then we'll cruise around Cape Verde, and visit the birth place of Eugenio Tavares and Pedro Cardoso, fathers of the island's poetical literary movement and popular for its music called morna.




We'll stop to do some snorkeling or skin diving in Fernando de Noronha for a bit, 




before weighing anchor near Salvador and exploring the tropical rain forests of Brazil and the Abrolhos Shoals.





It's going to be a long voyage so fill your backpacks with books set in Brazil. A booklovers guide to Brazil's Best Reads, as well as Books set in Cape Verde,

Happy travels!

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

BW15: Edith Wharton

Courtesy Edith Wharton.org

Our female author of the month is Edith Wharton, who was born January 24th, 1862 in New York.  She was the daughter of aristocrats and educated at home through tutors. She also learned through reading the classics from her father's large personal library.  Her mother supported her writing and had her poems published for private readings by family and friends. 

During her marriage to Edward Wharton,  her first full length work The Decoration of Houses was published through a collaboration with architect Ogden Codman.  




After her divorce from Edward in 1913, she was in Paris when World War I started.   She organized charitable organizations to help refugees and due to her work with french and Belgian refugees charities, was decorated with the French Legion of Honor.

In 1921 she became the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her fictional story, The Age of Innocence. 




In 1923 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Yale University for her literary works and humanitarian efforts.

In 1924, the American Academy for Arts and Letters awarded her the gold medal for her fiction.


Over her lifetime, she wrote many novels, short stories, books of poem, as well as non fiction books about architecture, interior design, gardening and travel. 

Find out more about Edith's legacy and her home The Mount here, the Wharton scholarship through the Edith Wharton Society and check out her fiction, nonfiction and short stores on line through the Literature Network as well as Gutenberg.org 


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Sunday, April 3, 2016

BW14: The Voyage of the Beagle

The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin 


Welcome to the 52 Books voyage aboard the HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin and company.  Rose will be our Captain and guide for this trip.  

Charles Darwin: his name evokes as broad a range of responses as any figure in modern times. I’ve seen descriptions and characterizations of his life, his work, and his intentions in publishing it that seem like they can’t possibly all be about the same person.   How can you get a handle on the real Darwin? Who was he, what motivated him, what did he feel about the development of the theory of evolution, and what did he believe its legacy would be?  I’m going to suggest three books that will help an interested reader get a handle on the real Charles Darwin.  These books don’t specifically focus on the theory of evolution, but on the man behind the theory.

First: to understand the man, read his own words.  Start with The Voyage of the Beagle: May I recommend this lovely illustrated edition? 



It is slightly abridged, but it is also enriched with maps, photographs, line drawings, botanical illustrations, portraits, and very interesting excerpts from Robert Fitzroy’s Proceedings of the Second Expedition, the book he published about the expedition. This is the book I'll be reading this month, and I look forward to discussing it with anyone who'd like to join me!

The main thing that strikes me as I read Voyage is the wide range of Darwin’s interests, and the incredible breadth of his knowledge. He seems to be equally at home speculating about geology, botany, zoology, anthropology, and most other bio-related -ologies, and can theorize equally comfortably about algae, unique rock formations, and tortoises.  I keep thinking as I read, “Man, is there anything this guy didn’t know about or think about?” 

It’s fascinating to consider what his education must have been like, what kind of mental preparation and training he had in order to be able to observe, catalog, and think about all the things he saw on his remarkable voyage. Though we may have much more information at our fingertips today than Darwin could dream of, I imagine that few of us would consider ourselves as knowledgeable as he was – and at a remarkably young age: He was just 22 when the Voyage began.  This amazing voyage, and the thousands of observations and drawings he made and specimens that he collected gave him the raw material he needed to formulate his theory.

Ok, but how did Darwin get from The Voyage to The Origin of Species?



The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of his Theory of Evolution by David Quammen (a wonderful science writer! I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him) is, well, a fascinating and intimate portrait of Darwin’s life and work in the years between his return to England in 1836 and the publication of his paper on Evolution in 1859 – a remarkable 23 year lag which would certainly have been even longer had Alfred Russell Wallace, a young naturalist who had traveled to South America and Southeast Asia and who had independently developed the idea of evolution by natural selection, not sent Darwin his own manuscript to review.  Darwin saw with horror that this manuscript articulated many of the ideas he’d been developing, but sitting on, for so many years, and this prompted him to finally share his theory with world – ready or not.

Why did Darwin wait so long to publish his theory? Quammen’s discussion is enlightening, but for an even more intimate portrait from a different perspective, read Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman.  



This was a lovely book that introduced me to a woman I now deeply admire: Emma Darwin.  As much a biography of Emma as of Charles and their life together, I was fascinated to read about Emma’s quite liberal and open upbringing and education.  The Darwin’s were cousins, and knew each other all their lives. They were aware of their compatabilities, and a marriage between them was natural and expected, but they were also aware of a potential incompatibility: Emma was a woman of deep faith, strengthened after the death of a beloved older sister, while Charles lived with doubt about the existence and the nature of God, and wrestled with the problem of evil his whole life, especially after the tragic deaths of several of his children.  

But the Darwin’s made the “leap of faith” and formed a unique and amazing partnership. Darwin’s reluctance to publish his theory was partly due to his own nature, his perfectionism, and his desire to present an unassailable case, but it also stemmed from a reluctance to cause pain to his wife. He didn’t think her faith would be challenged, but he did worry that she would be pained by attacks on him. 

I think it’s safe to say Darwin wouldn’t have been the man he was without Emma at his side.  She was his first reader and critic, and the example of how they conversed, with respect and love, about their theological differences was inspiring. I loved reading about their home, their children, their parenting philosophies.  And I loved reading about Emma and her life after Charles. I can remember just where I was as I listened to the end of this book: driving, tears streaming down my cheeks, thinking that in Emma, I had a role model I’d love to live up to.

I hope some of you will be inspired to read or listen to either of these Darwin biographies, and I hope you will join me on a read-along of The Voyage of the Beagle this month. I hope to tackle The Origin of Species at some point in the future, but first things first! 



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Sunday, March 27, 2016

BW13 - Book news and links



Happy Easter to all who celebrate!  April is coming quickly and will be a full month as we sail the seas and explore with Charles Darwin in Voyage of the Beagle.  Our very own Rose (Chrysalis Academy) will be guiding our travels and will be guest posting next week.   


The blogosphere  event of the year begins on April 1: the 7th annual  Blogging from A to Z challenge.   If you have a blog and have gotten out of the habit or just need some inspiration, be sure to check it out.  I'm diving in with both feet. 

April 12 is Beverly Cleary's 99th birthday and ALA is celebrating all month long with D.E.A.R. - Drop Everything and Read Month.  


April 23rd is World Book and Copyright day created by UNESCO in honor of Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died in 1616 on this day. Eliana will be leading the charge so stay tuned for more information.


April is also National Poetry Month  and in celebration Bill Murray contributed his favorite poems to O magazine 
 available in the April Issue now.

Have you found your bliss yet? Brianpickings highlights Joseph Campbell with What it Takes to Have a Fulfilling Life.

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.


Book Kids Blog is celebrating National Poetry Month with 26 Inspiring Poems about the Joys and Importance of Books and Reading



I Opened a Book
By Julia Donaldson

I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.

I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.

I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

BW12: Vernal Equinox





Spring has arrived in the northern half of the hemisphere and Autumn has already come out to play at the beginning of the month in the southern half.  Whether you are experiencing flowers blooming or leaves turning all shades of yellow, red and orange, nature is putting on quite a show right now.  It's also time to pull out your trusty thesauruses or thesauri, which ever you prefer saying  and start plotting out your spring or autumn reading lists.  Or maybe take a look at Synonyms.com and see what you can find. Perhaps a book with capriole or galumph or caper in the title!

I think I'm going to take a different tack with Spring this year since the season is all about beginnings, growth, discovery and blossoming. A new copy of  Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way just arrived. I signed up to join a group of folks in my online writing community who will be diving in on April 7th. I read it a few years back and since then my original, very marked up, well used copy disappeared into the garage, boxed up along with numerous other books while we deep cleaned our bedroom. So I splurged on another copy - it is, after all, a new beginning...again.  *grin*  

Also in the offing is the annual April challenge -  Blogging from A to Z - created by Arlee Bird, and is now in its 7th year.  This will be my first time participating and I'm looking forward to it with excitement as well as trepidation.  As of March 21st, My Two Blessings will be nine years and as my posting has become rather sporadic lately, am attempting to get back into the groove.  Come join me and all the riotous fun. Come up with a theme and talk about books, life, homeschooling, clowns, engineering, maps or whatever your clever and intriguing minds think up.  

Still need some ideas for Spring or Autumn -- Check out The Millions Most Anticipated: The Great 2016 Book Review or  for something completely different - The 18 Books that investors will be reading over Spring Break!

Happy Reading! 


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Sunday, March 13, 2016

BW11: Happy St. Patrick's Week!

We'll be celebrating St. Patrick's day all week long and instead of loading your wishlists down with more books, your mission is to find a book on your shelves that has a green cover or has green in the title. 




Sweetheart I’m bidding you fond farewell
Murmured a youth one day
I’m off to a new land my fortune to try
And I’m ready to sail away

Far away in Australia
Soon will fate be kind
And I will be ready to welcome the lass
The girl I left behind

Must we be parted?! his fairer one cried
I cannot let you go
Still I must leave you, the young man replied
But for only a while you know

Far away in Australia
Soon will fate be kind
And I will be ready to welcome the lass
The girl I left behind

Whether in success or failure
I will always be true
Proudly each day in that land far away
I’ll be building a home for you

Far away in Australia
Soon will fate be kind
And I will be ready to welcome the lass
The girl I left behind

Daily she waits at the old cottage gate
Watching the whole day through
Till that sweet message comes over the wave
And in the new world they’re joined as two

Far away in Australia
Soon will fate be kind
And I will be ready to welcome the lass
The girl I left behind”

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

BW10: Bicycles, beaches and books






As Summer gives way to Autumn in Australia and New Zealand, I have beach reads and bicycle trips on the brain as well as romance.  In my meanderings around the interwebz I stumbled across the Aussie Authors Month, typically held in April, which not only lead me to Australia's Indigenous Literacy Foundation, but also Goodreads Aussie Readers group and their March reads as well as their Autumn Challenge

The Autumn challenge includes reading books to match up with events taking place during the season including today which is clean up Australia day (reuse/recycle) so the task is to read a book from your stacks or a book from the library. Check out the challenge and join in.  

I also stumbled across Romance Writers of Australia which has a long list of Romance Authors, along with their websites.  Surprisingly, I've only read Keri Arthur, one of my favorite urban fantasy - paranormal authors and her Riley Jensen Guardian series. 

And for those who aren't into romance, check out Historical Novels for historical and mystery stories set in both countries, as well as Culture trips literary escape - Top Ten New Zealand Travel Reads and A Literary Tour of Melbourne

I had fun perusing the lists as well as Goodreads and adding a few new to me authors to my wishlists.

Happy reading! 


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Sunday, February 28, 2016

BW9: March Gadabout

Devonport Library, New Zealand 


We are heading into March and will be cruising around the coast of Australia, stopping at a couple ports of call before sailing to New Zealand.   We'll stop in on the Dunedoo Bush Poetry Festival in New South Wales, drop in on Lian Hearn, best known for her Tales of the Otori series as she launches her new Tale of the Shikanoko series with Emperor of the Late Islands.  Plus, we'll be celebrating the 82nd birthday of our author flavor of the month  David Malouf,  I currently have  Ransom in my backpack.





In his first novel in more than a decade, award-winning author David Malouf reimagines the pivotal narrative of Homer’s Iliad—one of the most famous passages in all of literature.

This is the story of the relationship between two grieving men at war: fierce Achilles, who has lost his beloved Patroclus in the siege of Troy; and woeful Priam, whose son Hector killed Patroclus and was in turn savaged by Achilles. A moving tale of suffering, sorrow, and redemption, Ransom is incandescent in its delicate and powerful lyricism and its unstated imperative that we imagine our lives in the glow of fellow feeling.


Once we hit New Zealand, you better put on your walking shoes, because we'll be gadding about the continent, taking one of Auckland's Literary walks. Add to that learning more about the Maori culture, as well as taking the Haiku pathway in Katikati.  We'll be dropping in on our other author flavor of the month - Joan Druett, maritime historian and novelist.  I have Island of the Lost World on board and can't wait to read it.






Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.

In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain Musgrave—rather than succumb to this dismal fate—inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, where they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave's leadership, they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days.

Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island—twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away—the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.


Using the survivors' journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings this extraordinary untold story to life, a story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
Join me as we sail the ocean's blue and check out Goodread's list of books set in New Zealandbooks by New Zealand Authors,  as well as books set Australia, and Booktopia's list of top ten favorite Australia authors

Happy travels! 


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Sunday, February 21, 2016

BW8: R.I.P. Umberto Eco and Harper Lee

Brenda Burke Fine Art 


This is a sad week for the book world as we have lost both Umberto Eco (84) and Harper Lee (89).  

Umberto Eco studied medieval philosophy and literature at the University of Turin and his thesis about Thomas Aquinas earned him a Laurea Degree in philosophy. He was a cultural editor for Radiotelevisione italiana, italy's national public broadcasting company and a lecturer at the University of Turin.  He has a 30,000 volume library in his apartment in Milan and a 20,000 volume library in his vacation home near Rimini,

Nasim Talab who wrote The Black Rose says in Brainpickings Umberto Eco's Library: Why Unread Books Are More Valuable to Our Lives than Read Ones:  
The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

Harper Lee studied law at the University of Alabama and wrote for the school newspaper, but never finished her degree.  She moved to New York City and worked as an airline reservation agent while pursuing writing in her off time.  After completing To Kill a Mockingbird, she became Truman Capote's research assistant.   She accompanied him while he traveled and helped him conduct interviews and wrote up all the notes for his novel In Cold Blood.   Capote minimized her role in the creation of the story, thus destroying their friendship.  To Kill a Mockingbird was published to great acclaim.  Interest in Lee declined when no further books were written or published. In 2015, Go Set a Watchman was published.  The book was  a sequel to Mockingbird, a story Lee had written first, but had been held back by the publisher.  


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”  ` To Kill a Mockingbird

I currently have  Eco's Foucault's Pendulum on my nightstand which I'll be reading this week. Join me in honoring both authors by reading one of their books this year. 


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 Please link to your specific post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment telling us what you have been reading. Every week I will put up Mr. Linky which will close at the end of each book week. No matter what book you are reading or reviewing at the time, whether it be # 1 or # 5 or so on, link to the current week's post.



Sunday, February 14, 2016

BW7: Be my valentine!







Happy Valentine's Day to all my bookish peeps.  Check out the History channel's what you don't know about Valentine's day, then enjoy a bit of chocolate while reading all about romance, brought to you by Karen, our 52 Books queen of romance.  I've already added quite a few to my wishlist! 

Jeff Nebeker 

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Due to my great fondness for romances, I've been asked to do a post on the topic.

I read voraciously and widely growing up.  Between the ages of ten and fourteen, I can remember reading:

Cherry Ames as well as The Godfather.
The Hardy Boys as well as Mary Renault.
Agatha Christie as well as Valley of the Dolls.
Georgette Heyer as well as Sherlock Holmes
The Bobbsey Twins as well as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.

My reading was not censored other than when my mother found me reading Sergeanne Golon's Angelique when I was eleven. She told me that I could read it at age 16.  Being the obedient child that I was (and I was!), I promptly finished it the next time I was home alone.  By fifteen, I still read widely, but I had a definite fondness for romances and had amassed a hundred plus collection of Harlequins and regency romances which my parents teasingly called Literary Junk.

That teasing is something that romance readers frequently encounter.  It's curious, but readers of other genre fiction such as mysteries, science fiction, fantasies, and suspense thrillers do not seem to encounter the same disparagement.  Romances are often accused of being poorly written, formulaic trash.  Yes, I've encountered my share of poorly written romances; however, I've also encountered books in other genres that were poorly written.  I'll agree that romances do follow a formula.  The organization Romance Writers of America defines a romance as being comprised of “a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” 

 I'll deny that all romances are trash; as with other categories of fiction, what one reader may love, another may despise.  In spite of these and other criticisms, romance readership thrives and is responsible for some twenty percent of all adult fiction sales according to a January 2016 Publishers Weekly article.  Romances outsell each of the other genre fictions as well as Classics; only General Fiction has a larger share of the market. For some enjoyable defenses of romance as a genre, see A Spirited Defense of Romance Novels by Grace Danielson Perry, In Defense of Romance by Amanda Deadmarsh, and In Defense of Romance Novels or Imma Read What I Want by Elyse. 

Had you asked me at fifteen to describe a romance, I'd likely have answered, “A woman (usually young and innocent) meets a man (generally older, more experienced, and frequently a nobleman, sheik, or successful businessman); complications ensue; they fall in love and live happily ever after.” It's that triumph of love and that happily ever after that keeps me reading romance; in a world with dark places, I'll take all the love and happiness I can find.  

I like what romance author Courtney Milan says, “I love romance novels because they are about big things and small things: about politics and life and cancer and war, and about home and hearth and making a perfect cookie, sometimes in the same book. They’re a reminder that not everything important is front page news—and, in fact, some of the most important things are details. They’re about the importance of building community.”

My concept of a romance has broadened considerably since I was fifteen.  The main characters do still meet, complications do still ensue, and they do still fall in love; they might live happily ever after or happily for now.  A big difference is that the main characters might include:



The above list includes many of my personal favorites.  If you're looking for a romance recommendation, let me know.  And happy Valentine's Day!



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