Per un mese, il "read a romance month", che è ovviamente agosto, ogni giorno sul sito saranno presentate tre autrici di romance (contemporaneo, storico o paranormal) che metteranno a disposizione alcune copie dei propri libri per chi partecipa al contest. Le autrici si autopresentano - di solito con descrizioni molto piacevoli, umoristiche e profonde insieme - e rispondono ad alcune domande. Partecipare è molto semplice, anche se purtroppo non tutti i contest sono aperti anche internazionalmente (occorre leggere bene la scheda sotto ogni pagina dell'autore).
Non tutto il romance mi piace, faccio molte distinzioni, ma spesso si incontrano autrici e libri che sono davvero di valore, ed è un peccato che accada che vengano snobbati solo perché appartengono alla categoria del "romanzo femminile".
Se leggete in inglese, è un'occasione da non perdere! Serve anche a conoscere nuove autrici e libri. Senza contare che alcune presentazioni delle autrici sul proprio scrivere romance sono davvero interessanti.
Ne riporto qualcuna, che sembra cogliere bene il perché io leggo romance. (Se avete bisogno della traduzione, ditelo e la faccio).
Big dramatic gestures – what many people consider the hallmark of romance — are like the effervescence in sparkling water, ultimately unsustainable. It’s the tap water, the regular, day-to-day stuff that quenches the real thirst.
My mother, widowed at sixty-two, told me that what she missed most about my dad were the little things; the way he’d drape her coat around her shoulders, the way he’d sit at the window waiting for her when she worked late; the way, when she started to go grey, he’d shampoo in her hair color. And how, after all their years together, he’d still call her, ‘my girl.’
It’s the same with my own husband; it seems the real romance is in the small, kind gesture, repeated again and again. The garden bouquets he makes me every summer. The dumb stuff we do together, like read movie credits backwards, or bet on how much time is left in the parking meter at the dog park. Our private jokes. (My husband will look deeply, lovingly in my eyes and say, ‘You are so beautiful,’ only he says it with an odd little accent so ‘beautiful’ sounds like ‘pitiful.’ It makes me laugh every time.)
Can romance novels be unrealistic, or too good to be true? In some cases, yes. But to me, the best romance novels are like myths, the sorts of stories that were once told to teach people a better way to live, a way to teach women to stand up for themselves, to be individuals, to be strong. The very best romance novels make readers want to reach for the stars and not settle for less.
Linda Francis Lee
When she was in a small bookstore, she picked up her very first romance novel. The cover was bright red, the couple was sexy, and she read through the blurb on the back page as a shiver of excitement raced down her spine. She bought it. Went home. And read it in three hours.
Life exploded from black and white to Technicolor. Suddenly, the veil of what a relationship could be, should be, lifted, and she saw past the hormonal awkwardness, past the limitations of school and cliques, past the frustrating levels of boyfriend/girlfriend crap around her in the school hallways. No, this was much more, this was passion, and independence, and hope.
She raced back to the store and bought every romance possible and read them all.
And she learned some important lessons.
Did she believe the perfect man would suddenly swoop into her life, rescue her, and make everything happy and pristine?
Did she believe great sex meant great love?
What did she learn?
The heroines taught her to be brave. Lift her chin and fake it when trembling inside. Believe in yourself and that you’re meant for more and shouldn’t settle.
The heroes taught her about respect, and that there was something deeper behind the face of some random hot guy. There was depth and soul and pain. She learned to look past the surface and be more patient of what could be discovered there. The story taught her happy ever afters were the beginning of a long journey, but it was damn satisfying to have hope and happiness after a painful struggle.
Romance is a dream. If we don’t dream, we don’t grow. And whether in real life or my books, growth is what I’m about.
We all know that the romance genre occupies the lowest rung of respectability among all literary genres. And perhaps that is because life in the “real” world can soon turn us into cynics who can see only the bad things that go on around us. It is perfectly understandable. Just tune in to any news channel or any reality-type show or pick up any news magazine. And we all know that divorce rates have skyrocketed in the past half century if people even make it as far as marrying. The idea that two people can fall in love, commit their lives to each other, and expect to live together in a happy, fulfilling relationship for the rest of their lives is ludicrous, farcical, naive, silly.
But IS it? Don’t you know any people who simply love? Any couples who are still happy together after a year? Ten years? Sixty years? Don’t you know ANY? I certainly do. And all around me, when I take off the cynic glasses and set aside preconceived ideas bred into me by the news media and those who take it too seriously, I see people who have decided or learned that love is all that really matters and that being happy is all that really matters. Love is possible, and love stories are possible. They are no more unrealistic than the horror stories that fill our screens every day. Oh, the horror stories happen right enough and sometimes deserve our attention and sympathy, but they are not nearly as prevalent as we can come to believe. Love-filled stories happen at least as frequently and probably many times more so.
I believe that to be happy, well-balanced individuals we must learn to love ourselves, warts and all. And we must learn to love others and–often more difficult–allow ourselves to be loved. These three components of love can come together with beautiful effect in a well-told love story in which two lonely and/or wounded souls heal under each other’s influence and develop a friendship and a love that are rock solid and soul-deep. Love stories can be life and literature at their very best. They can be worth writing and worth reading, and while they can be a form of escape–for they do offer a sure happy ending–they can also lead the reader into reality, into a deeper understanding of what life ought to be and can be.
I write love stories because I believe in love and because love matters.