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Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  473 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Take a dashing hero with a heart of gold and a mullet of awesome. Add a heroine with a bustle and the will to kick major butt. Then include enough contrivances to keep them fighting while getting them alone and possibly without key pieces of clothing, and what do you have? A romance novel. What else? Enough lessons about life, love, and everything in between to help you wi ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan 09, 2012 Audrey rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
3+ stars. A good, quick, humorous read, but only a few things that will remain memorable.

The book covers a variety of different romance novel- and love-related themes, to varying degrees of success. For example, I only skim-read through the chapter on heroes, titled "We Know More Than A Few Good Men." Why? Well, I know what I like in heroes, and I don't necessarily need analysis on why or what others like. I found that this section just didn't hold my interest, to be honest. Also, there are a l
Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels has left me rather conflicted. A week ago, I would not have believed anyone who told me that I would own and read this book, let alone that I would have bought it full price. That was before I met Sarah Wendell and heard her on a panel about love in literature.

I loved both Sarah's personality and her passion for the subject of romance novels and what they can teach. These things came through incredibly clearly both when she spoke and in
Sep 08, 2011 Holly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-completed
I picked up my first romance novel at the age of 12, and just like that I was hooked. By the time I was in high school, I read romance almost exclusively and, during a productive week, could read (or re-read) 5-7 books. And yet, I was made to feel ashamed. My guy friends would grab them from my hands and flip through them until they found a sex scene and attempt to read it out loud. I get it. They were 16 and it was sex and boys pick on you to show their affection at that age. Yet, it still hurt ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Angelc rated it it was amazing
Don't you love it when a book reinforces what you already believe? Over and over during this book, I found myself saying "That's what I always tell people!" and "See, I knew what I was talking about!" Many of you may know Sarah Wendell from her blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and her new book is a must read for romance novel addicts like me.

This book is all about all of the positive things about romance novels, including contemporaries, paranormals, and my romance of choice-historicals. There
Nov 08, 2011 Meredith rated it really liked it

Originally published on The Librarian Next Door:

Romance novels, and the readers who love them, tend to get a bad rap. I can’t tell you the number of times my stepmother would bemoan my choice in novels, telling me I “could do better than a romance novel.” Better than a romance novel? Surely you jest! Sure, not every reader will gravitate towards a romance novel, but then again, not every reader will want to read science-fiction, crime thrillers or Nicholas Sparks novels (*gag*). Romance novels a
Sep 08, 2014 kris rated it liked it

It felt like a lot of circuitous comments about the genre, basically? Like, too much of each of the chapters was simply looping back and stating the same idea in slightly different language?

But I do love the fact that YES, the romance genre is IMPORTANT and opens up discussion about what women want / desire / dnw / etc, and explores what a relationship can mean and how a HEA can exist in this moment instead of some nebulous future moment.

And I recognized so many of the recs! I FEEL SO ACC
Mar 02, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
Relationship advice and book recommendations in one funny package-- who can go wrong with this? If you're a reader of romance and DON'T yet know who Sarah Wendell is, shame on you. No, really-- she's the person behind the "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books" romance blog, and she's here to take the "guilty" out of romances as a "guilty pleasure."

I was a latecomer to the romance genre. In my teen and college years, I didn't have a lot of respect for the "trashy novels" my female relatives gobbled up so
May 02, 2013 Aoi rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
How fine is it to re-iterate reading romance novels (is not only fun), but a learning experience for romantic relationships!

Smart Bitches Trashy Books co-writer Sarah Wendell embarks on an exploration on the benefits of spending the day reading about billionaire oil tycoons and rugged cowboys. The book covers a variety of themes, and how romance readers have been influenced through their lives- allowing teenagers to tentatively explore sexuality, but not necessarily giving in to peer pressure;
Sarah Morgan
Nov 06, 2011 Sarah Morgan rated it it was amazing
I knew I'd laugh. I didn't expect to cry (the bit about the purses....sniff...)
Dec 14, 2011 Lesa rated it really liked it
What gives Sarah Wendell the credibility to write a book called Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels? Wendell is “Smart Bitch Sarah” from the romance novel website, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. For six years, she’s been reviewing romance novels, discussing them with thousands of readers, and evaluating readers’ likes and dislikes. Now, she’s compiled lessons learned from the books and authors in a fascinating book containing life and relationship skills.

Wendell finds it’s w
Linda Banche
Sep 06, 2011 Linda Banche rated it it was amazing
EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE I LEARNED FROM ROMANCE Novels by Sarah Wendell is a joyous celebration of those novels we all love to read, romances.

Contemporary, historical, time travel, urban fantasy--we can't get enough of these stories. And not just because of gorgeous heroes with ridged muscles and large…ahems. Whatever trials the hero and heroine suffer in these courtship stories, the book always ends with a Happily Ever After (HEA). In an imperfect world, romances give us hope that we can so
Jan 11, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-reads
The word of the day is: Derivative.

Wendell brings her Smart Bitches, Trashy Books shtick to the world of self improvement with only middling results, possibly because the majority of Everything I Know seems to have been lifted directly from either her previous book (Beyond Heaving Bosoms) or the SBTB website.

There's nothing particularly offensive or annoying here, but neither is there anything especially illuminating or insightful. Wendell seems to rely on only a handful of romance writers to il
Sep 20, 2011 Leslie rated it liked it
Shelves: own, arc, reviewed, non-fiction
Well, if you're familiar with Sarah Wendell, then you're probably familiar with her website, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Sarah has been an outspoken advocate for the romance genre. She takes it one step further and breaks down the subtle and not so subtle nuances of the romance genre. This isn't a dry, dull text but a fun and insightful look at why romance novels are so popular and have been for decades and how readers can benefit from reading them.

Through interviews of both readers and authors
Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels is more than just a passionate defense of a much-maligned genre. It is a how-to book on achieving happily-ever-afters in the real world. Although it isn't perfect, this little book is full of great advice, affirmation, and hope.

Sarah Wendell's writing style is chatty and entertaining, but sometimes it reads a little too much like a blog. In my opinion, she uses a bit too much slang and internet-speak. She also loves run-on sentences. On
Lizabeth Tucker
Feb 25, 2013 Lizabeth Tucker rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, reference
This is a great defense of romantic fiction that talks about how the books can help, educate and encourage the readers.

Despite what people who don't read romance books claim, it isn't all about porn and the mighty wang and the magic hoo-hoo. It is about communication. It's learning what to expect in a relationship and how to get it. It is what to be wary of and how to recognize what you don't want.

Romance books can teach you what turns you on and what turns you off. The more erotic books can e
Nov 29, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I don't often say this about a book, but dang it's pretty. I was quite disappointed with the e-version of this book then I received a paperback. It feels nice. It's inside covers are gorgeous. I'm in love with the physical version of this book. As much as I love my nook, sometimes you just can't beat the real thing in your hands. Sigh.

This book is a love letter to romances. If you've ever been skeptical about reading romances, Ms. Wendell may change your mind. She makes the case for why reading
Nov 13, 2011 Shelley rated it liked it
"You don't see adult gamers being accused of an inability to discern when one is a human driving a real car and when one is a yellow dinosaur driving Mario Kart, but romance readers hear about their unrealistic expectations of men almost constantly." Word. Of course women are too stupid to know fiction v. reality, right? Haaaate.

Half of my reaction to this book was similar to my reaction to the Glee concert movie - I know fans, I don't need this much focus on them, where's the good stuff? But t
Jan 30, 2012 steph rated it really liked it
This book reminded me that it was okay for me to read romance novels. It was okay for me to like romance novels and it was okay for me to talk about reading/liking romance novels. This book is something I would give all romance readers/writers big or small just to show them how romance novels have impacted our lives for the better and how we have learned to have better relationships with people in our lives from reading romance novels. One of my favorite things about this book however, was how i ...more
May 22, 2016 Tez rated it liked it
Shelves: to-swap
Nowhere near as entertaining as Beyond Heaving Bosoms. Less laughs, and more...well, I think this is strictly for romance fans, to have their opinion reflected, because I doubt this will change non-believers' minds. The only thing I got out of it was the piece about men holding women's purses in the waiting rooms of cancer centres while the ladies have treatment. THAT is romantic, but that was from a real life article, and NOT in a romance novel, so... Yeah, this book didn't work for me. (I stil ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Robyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, non-fiction
I enjoyed this book so much I bought it twice (in print and ebook). ;)

This is a great companion to Beyond Heaving Bosoms, and continues the discussion of the importance and impact of romance novels on readers and authors. It's funny, heartwarming, and inspiring.
Rukhsar (rukhimonster)
Aug 13, 2015 Rukhsar (rukhimonster) rated it really liked it
Embrace your love for romance novels.
They're not simply a way to fill your time.. romance novels exist for many reasons, people read them for many different reasons and it's okay to love the love!
If you read romance novels read this book, if you've ever thought about reading romance novels or wondered why people read romance novels I recommend you read this book too!

Delphine Dryden
Nov 05, 2011 Delphine Dryden rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this, but thought it lacked both the thematic cohesiveness and the comic punch of Beyond Heaving Bosoms.
Sep 15, 2014 Toni rated it really liked it
This is a must read for any fan of romance or anyone who wants to improve their relationships.
ZaBeth  Marsh
All good stories involve strong emotion; such as love. For that reason, every author can learn how to put emotion and caring between characters into their novels by reading and learning from romance novels. Sarah Wendell, the well-known co-founder of, has put down her reasons for why people should stop criticizing the romance genre and start to learn from it in "Everything I Know about Love I Learned From Romance Novels." And her points are very compelling.

Romance Les
Lisa Birch
Dec 06, 2016 Lisa Birch rated it it was ok
This book wasn't the memoir I thought it would be. It seemed to be a book of lessons, crowdsourced from authors and readers of romance books. I would have been fascinated to read more about Sarah, but I didn't really want to read about readers who would only give their screen names, even if the readers all spoke about the theme of each chapter.

Maybe I misinterpreted this book before buying it, which is fine... it's just not what I expected.

I didn't love the quotes throughout the book which rep
Jul 24, 2012 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win an ebook copy of Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels (hereinafter referred to as EIKAL) on The Waterworld Mermaids' blog. I say "lucky" not merely because it was a random draw with only one winner, and it turned out to be me, but also because as much as I enjoyed reading Ms. Wendell's lively, sometimes caustic prose and nodding to her oh-so-true opinions, I'm glad I didn't actually pay for it. Here's why...

Sarah Wendell is none ot
Apr 09, 2015 Lobo rated it really liked it
A cím már eleve felhívja keringőre a szkeptikusokat, akik a romantikus regényeket elintézik egy kézlegyintéssel és/vagy arról cikkeznek, hogy akik ilyen típusú regényeket olvasnak, azoknak irreális elvárásaik vannak a partnereikkel és kapcsolataikkal szemben. Na mármost ez a kötet olvasók és szerzők segítségével igazából arról szól, hogy miért is olyan népszerű ez a műfaj. Mert ugye a világon ebből a típusú szórakoztató irodalomból adnak el a legtöbbet mégis legkevesebb szakirodalom foglalkozik ...more
Caitlin Trepp
Oct 03, 2016 Caitlin Trepp rated it it was ok
I mostly read this book because I really enjoyed Wendell's last book. However we really don't have the same taste in romantic stories and that kind of killed my enjoyment of this book which is basically a collection of emails Wendell gets from readers. It's basically a celebration of the romance genre which is really cool and not something you see everyday. But as John Green would say a book about ideas is really only as good as its ideas and there was so much that was missing from this book. I ...more
Paperback Dolls
Previously posted at

Hello, my name is Noa and I’m a romance novel reader. I read them on the train, I read them on planes, I read them when I’m happy, I read them when I’m sad, I read them at work… hmm? what? who? ;)

I think by this time everybody on this site knows I love romance novels, I mean, only someone who loves them as much as I do can stress so much about things I don’t like about the genre. I also realize that calling oneself a reader of romance books AKA “bodice ripp
Dec 16, 2014 Yune rated it it was ok
Breezy and humorous, but overall it comes across as something of a pep rally for romance readers, which I don't feel any need for. I am somewhat lucky in that I have very rarely been in any circumstance where my intelligence could be seriously questioned, so even when I admitted to reading a romance novel (slipped in among the science fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), I didn't face serious derision. (My taste is another matter, and was often up for mockery for all of the above, usually good-natu ...more
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Sarah Wendell is a transplanted Pittsburgher currently living in New York metropolitan area. By day she's mild mannered and heavily caffeinated. By evening she dons her cranky costume, consumes yet more caffeine, and becomes Smart Bitch Sarah of
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. The site specializes in reviewing romance novels, examining the history and future of the genre, and bemoaning the enormous pr
More about Sarah Wendell...

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“To quote French author Francois Mauriac, 'Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who your are' is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.” 17 likes
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