I have a hard time finding new books to read. Maybe you do too. If you’re anything like me, you’ve used your Amazon account to purchase weird things: wiffle balls, magnetic puzzles, children’s toys, cat calendars, etc., and now Amazon has no idea what to make of your taste. My Amazon recommendation list looks like this: an obscure french novel, another obscure french novel, yet another version of one of Sophocles’ plays that I already own in the Loeb Classical Library edition and have no interest in replacing, a Florence & the Machine album, a Deathcab for Cutie album, another obscure french novel, a romance novel that has something to do with a Duke (‘Dealing with the Duke’ or ‘The Dastardly Duke’ or ‘Touch Not the Duke’ or some other such nonsense… I don’t get Amazon’s Duke fetish, but whatever), more wiffle balls–because it’s not enough that I already bought 100… obviously I need more–gift tissue in ugly colors, etc…. So I don’t use Amazon to find new books to read.
I have a Nook, so I often shop for books through Barnes and Noble. Unfortunately, my recent purchases seem to have convinced Barnes and Noble that I have a thing for bad writing and/or characters with serious psychological issues. I suppose I must, but I hate having to admit that fact to myself.
Here’s a recap of my more messed-up reading over the past 6 weeks, some of these I’ve already discussed in other posts:
In One Week as Lovers by Victoria Dahl, Lancaster, the main male character, was seriously abused in his late teens, and Cynthia, the main female character, was pretty much raped… you get those two together, and you’ve got a whole lot of issues and baggage. In To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt, both the male and female main characters are carting around a hefty amount of emotional baggage. In To Beguile a Beast, also by Elizabeth Hoyt, it’s the male main character who’s got the issues, having been tortured during a past event. Reynaud from To Desire a Devil has a nasty case of PTSD from being held captive and repeatedly tortured for a period of seven years. Frankly, Ian from The Duke’s Captive by Adele Ashworth (he’s the Duke, by the way) also suffers from PTSD, and Viola, the female main character, doesn’t fare much better. Colin from A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare watched his parents die when he was young from a violent carriage accident that he alone survived (that’ll mess you up). Finally, Nicholas from Love’s Magic by Traci Hall was captured, drugged, and sexually abused for over a year before the story starts.
Is an intervention needed? I mean, I pretty much read romance novels because (1) they are very easy reading, (2) I adore love stories, (3) I have a very hard time expressing my own emotions, but I recognize the need to feel them, and romance novels help me to vicariously lead an emotional life (does that make any sense at all?), and (4) they’re frequently funny, and I like funny. But my recent crop of romance reading has tended more towards the very serious (Well, not A Week to be Wicked… I snorty-laughed all through that book…), with all these big, weighty emotional problems, and I’m a mite concerned about the idea that I find both entertainment and catharsis in these stories. Then again, in addition to the 7 books I mentioned above, I’ve read at least 15 others in the past 6 weeks that are the more standard romance fare (or are just straight up terrible, come to think of it). And, hey, at least I’m not into The Bachelor, right?
Maybe Amazon’s not totally wrong about me…I would totally buy and read “Touch Not the Duke,” if such a book existed. Just saying.