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Topic: Take the romance out of a novel and it's a book for men!

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Subject: Take the romance out of a novel and it's a book for men!
Date Posted: 4/28/2008 8:07 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Does anyone realize or understand the correlation of many romance novels and their storylines being of interest to men?  For example, I'm reading Bound by the Heart by Canham and I'm well into half way of the book and the romance is minor at best.  There has been the famous attack scene with her eventually giving in to it, so it's no longer rape, but the romance is just not there.  Basically, I'm reading a pirate story with great detail on the ship and the whole piracy theme and all of the deck hands who speak in their pirate accent. ..... "aargh, shiver me timbers!"  It is, imo, a story a man would enjoy.

Another time I read a J.R. Ward book and the romance was so not there, that I had to put the book down.  There was blood, and cop drama, and science fiction and fighting scenes and sex but no romance.  It would definitely hold a man's interest.

And if you think about many knights in shining armor stories, again the back ground is geared towards a man.....fighting and holding down the castle and throwing people into the moat.  See the connection?  Take out the romance and it's a guy's book.

I kind of think that's why chic lit came about.  There's absolutely nothing to interest a man in those story lines.  Does anyone else realize this? 



Last Edited on: 4/28/08 8:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/28/2008 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2007
Posts: 652
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I've read some like that, and I guess I never thought of it like that.  I'm a big fat chicken now and can't read or see anything scary to save my life, but I used to really like books like that.  Its sad to say, but they seemed like they had more of a plot than some of the more traditional romances I've read.  I still like the regular romances, though.  :)

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Well, in defense of my darling Marsha, Bound by the Heart is a very old one - old school, truly.  It's one of my least favorites of all of her books... well, actually, I didn't much like that one at all.  I just had to read that one because it was one of her old hard to find books.  Probably hard to find because women keep burning them?:P  And that kinda defines old school, IMO.  I can't tell you how many of the moldy oldies I've read that I thought afterward might as well have been written for men:P

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Yup, it's very old school and very well written.......for a story, that is.  It's interesting, well-researched with realistic characters.  There's just no romance.  And when you take the romance out of a sea-faring pirate adventure....it becomes a pirate adventure :)

I have to see what the order is for her havng written Wind and Sea because Wind sets the mark for romance writing, imo.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I loved Wind & the Sea too.  I wouldn't judge her work by Bound by the Heart or China Rose.  I have them in my Canham collection - because they're Canhams', but I'll probably never read either of those again.  I didn't care all that much for Straight for the Heart either.  It's not bad, but it's not up to her usual stuff.  I think I gave it about a C+ rating.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Oh really?  I guess I won't purchase China Rose which was what I was going to do because it hasn't moved on my WL.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
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Yep, Monica, I know exactly.  The JR Ward you referred to, I think about Butch, was one of my least favorites - the female was way to whimpy.  But I've gotten so into her guys fighting, I'm okay with them.  But, the pirate's swashbuckling and the knight's lancing and such I'll often skip over.  Or even put down if the romance isn't interesting.  There've been a few books where the heroine has gotten into the fighting and kicked butt -- wish I could think of examples (actually one of the JR Ward's) -- and I can get into that much more for some reason.

I have some difficulty distinguishing chic lit.  why aren't they referred to as contemporaries, maybe?  Like the new SEPs?  I love them, and the romance is strong.

I'm think I'm finished babbeling.

 

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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guess I'm not finished after all.

Robert Parker writes these books about a PI and his sidekicks, and has an interesting relationship with his woman.  It's not the main theme, but it plays strongly.  That's kind of where I'd put the books we're talking about.

 



Last Edited on: 4/28/08 6:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/28/2008 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Well actually Karen, in chic lit I've found that the romance is not strong enough.  In the few I've read, they really concentrate on her job, friends, guys she goes out with blah blah blah......but they don't concentrate on the romance and very rarely get intimate.  Like Jennifer Greene is really funny and has a strong romance in her books, but you never see her heroine connect with the guy fully and the sex is non descriptive.  It's implied.  I think those authors are trying to make chic lit into romance for the more intelligent woman.  Uh huh.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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Then I'm not a chic-liter.  Except, would you consider the Stephanie Plum's chic lit? 

In the thread about what you can't stand in a book, I was saying that I won't read a book that focuses on the job, and hair, and clothes, and cute girl lunches and such.  Way too boring.  

I was thinking on the way home today that I didn't even read romance until this past year, but I loved gothic mysteries and the mysteries that had a good romance in them.  

I do like books that describe jobs like veterinarians, rachers, and such -- but no danged range wars for half the book.

I've hijacked way too much of this thread, sorry!

 

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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I've never done Stephanie Plum.  I agree, I can do fiction if there's a strong romance in it.   But some chic lit does get annoying with the shoes and the outfits and the shopping.  Alright, already, we get it.  You like to shop. 

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
Posts: 196
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Hmm..see I'm all about a good plot and lots of action - romance added is great but I don't read them for the sex scenes, I read them for the sparring, the wit, the humor of two people getting to know each other and the hell and heaven they go through falling in love.  As long as there is solid character development and a solid plot that goes hand in hand I'm happy.  That to me makes a great romance novel.

I've read a few like you've mentioned - some are good, some are bad.  I don't think I would be able to get my husband to read them, but I have trouble getting my husband to read anything that isn't a video game magazine or epic fantasy.  I'm a historical fiction junkie so if the scenes are accurate and adventure is page-turning I'll most likely like it even without the romance.  :)

I realize those 2 paragraphs are rambling and I'm sorry I'm having such a hard time making my thoughts understood and less-jumbled in my head. 

Date Posted: 5/5/2008 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I read a lot of mysteries and many have a lot of romantic element to them. I've been reading the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben.  There is always some sort of romantic entanglement as a back story.  Myron usually gets some at least once in a book.  His break up with a long time girlfriend went through 2 or 3  books.  There've been sex scenes in a few of the mysteries I've read recently. They usually aren't as graphic as in a romance novel but they're there. Many of the romances I've read have had great murder mysteries, military battles, swordplay etc...,  It's the covers and the titles and the fact that most are written by woman that turn men off to them.  My husband never reads anything written by a woman.  He's not sexist.  He would just never pick one up-not even a classic by Jane Austin or Virginia Wolf.  He likes true crime type books but he'd probably never pick up an Ann Rule book.  

I just read Absolute Fear by Lisa Jackson.  It's billed as a romantic thriller but there wasn't much romance in the book.  I would have billed it as a mystery/thriller.  The romance didn't play any more part than it does in a Faye Kellerman or James Patterson book. It was mostly about finding the serial killer.