What is the best romance novel (or series)?
It's time to start a new conversation (remember we are not doing polls anymore). We've never done romance here on Writing About Writing and with Singles Awareness Day/Hallmark Holiday so close that I thought with EVERYTHING that's been written in the genre, it is time to recognize that even though a Harlequin Romance with a triple digit number on the spine might not, in a manner of speaking, be the literary event of the century, there's still some good stuff there over the years that deserves to be celebrated.
For those still getting used to NOTpolls or who remember the years and years of more traditional polls we ran here, there are still rules (below). But instead of trying to figure out what more people think is the BEST (which usually turns into which book has the coolest movie adaptation anyway), we're just going to have a good chat about good books and all come away with some suggestions for our To Be Read Pile™. We'll still have the system of seconds (and "thirds" and "fourths"), but all that will determine is which goes to the top of the list when I post the results. And I'll link out the original nomination post for folks who want to go see what people are actually saying about the book. Eventually these posts listing the results will be compiled in a massive "book recommendation" post.
One thing to note is that much of the romance genre (and a lot of the best of it) is cross genre. So while I won't police this, it's up to you to keep an eye on whether you're nominating a Romance Sci-Fi or just some Sci-Fi that happens to have a strong romantic subplot.
- Make two recommendations. Obviously, I can't stop anyone from making fifteen, but nothing beyond the first two will make it onto the master list.
- TELL US ALL A LITTLE ABOUT WHY YOU LIKE THE BOOK (or series ) although obviously do so without spoilers! If you just drop a title name and it gets all the seconds, I'm still going to list it, of course, but the whole point of this is to have a "conversation" and gush a little about the books you think are great, exciting, well written, or unforgettable.
- For each recommendation, let us know if you're nominating it more as a BEST book in the genre or an UNDERSUNG HERO in the genre. Basically "undersung hero" is for books you think are great, tragically overlooked, NEED to be read by everyone (like…yesterday), but are maybe not necessarily the besty bestest best. They'll all end up in the list I compile, but I'll put them in different places.
- As always, I leave the niggling over the definition of genres to your best judgement because I'd rather be inclusive. If you want to nominate The Thorn Birds as romance (even though it's probably better placed as family saga), you should show your work if you desire those sweet, sweet seconds (or thirds....or fourths) and there might be a discussion thread after your comment with a lot of people writing out the "If I may…"
- You get to mention two (2) books. That's it. Two. You can do one BEST and one UNDERSUNG HERO. Or you can do two BESTS. Or you can do two UNDERSUNG HEROES. But two is the total. If you nominate three or more, I will, with unimaginable cruelty, simply ignore the third and any subsequent books. I'm sorry that I'm a stickler on this, but it's just lil ol' me compiling this list by myself and it's a pain when people drop a spinosaurus list of every single book they can remember in the entire genre. However, you list more than two books and your third or later choice gets a second, I'll consider everything. (Even though that matters a lot less than it did when I was counting seconds to see which titles made the poll––see below.)
- Did I mention two?
- You may (and absolutely should) give a second shout out to AS MANY nominations of others as you wish. There is no more poll, so this will not be a cutthroat competition to see who makes it to the semifinals. It will simply dictate which titles I list first, and it may influence which books someone considers a good recommendation. ("This one got six seconds, and that one only got two, so I think I'll start with this one.")
- Put your nominations HERE. I will take nominations only as comments and only on this post. (No comments on FB posts or G+ will be considered nominations.) If you can't comment for some reason because of Blogger, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) stating exactly that and what your nomination is, and I will personally put your comment up. I am not likely to see a comment on social media even if it says you were unable to leave a comment here.
- You are nominating WRITTEN fiction, not their A/V portrayals. If you thought Bridgerton was a great Netflix show, but never really could get through Quinn's written version, please nominate something else. (I love film, but it's a different medium.)
- Have a conversation, but check the typical internet assholery at the door. If someone likes something you think is terrible, it's okay to let them enjoy it. And if someone has one tight and polite bit of criticism about your recommendation ("I was not a fan of the X plot arc or the way that author writes women."), it's okay that they didn't care for it and there's no need to defend it like they have impugned you honor for seven generations. I **WILL** delete shitty comments, and I absolutely know that's highly subjective, so better to err on the side of nice.
Hopefully, we all get some great book recommendations out of this new format.