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Reading Challenges > 2017 February Reading Challenge

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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Hello guys,

February makes me think of Romance. So, the reading challenge for this month is to read a Romance Novel, or a book with romantic themes.

I love romance, I'll post some suggestions tomorrow.

Have fun!


message 2: by Debbie (last edited Jan 31, 2017 10:14PM) (new)

Debbie (dashforcover) | 903 comments Well crud. We did romance for last February challenge. Me does believe me will pass. Me was hoping we would avoid the romance stuff by having poetry, which gets associated with romantic, but isn't necessarily romance.


message 3: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (dashforcover) | 903 comments Actually I've decided to raise a protest. We did romance last year. Yet February has many other events other than hearts and roses. February is Black History Month. Given the national movement Black Lives Matter, learning more about Black Americans would be a good topic. Abraham Lincoln was born in February as was George Washington bringing us President's Day holiday this month. Both of these Presidents brought fuller meaning to the word Freedom. So I'm protesting doing Romance two years in a row when there is so much else to broaden our reading.


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 51 comments I wouldn't mind reading something romance in it I read paranormal romance all the time so i'll actually be able to participate in this month I participated last month to . there's certain themes I don't think I could read . but some of them I'd read.


message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 157 comments Trying to read a full-on Romance novel usually leads to massive eye rolling. Thankfully I found an Urban Paranormal with romance in it that was already in my TBR list: Dead Witch Walking


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky | 276 comments Debbie wrote: "Actually I've decided to raise a protest. We did romance last year. Yet February has many other events other than hearts and roses. February is Black History Month. Given the national movement Blac..."

In light of the current climate, it seems apropos to protest! But seriously, Debbie is correct about February Reading Challenges. If you look back to the beginning, February has always been about romance or anti-romance, or relationships, or a book you love. It is probably time to mix it up a bit. I like both her ideas of reading about presidents, but am personally leaning much more toward reading books about or by Black Americans. Debbie, hope you can work in poetry to what you choose, as well! :)


message 7: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 313 comments Debbie wrote: "Well crud. We did romance for last February challenge. Me does believe me will pass. Me was hoping we would avoid the romance stuff by having poetry, which gets associated with romantic, but isn't ..."

LOL. Maybe we need an anti-Romance support group. I've read several that aren't too bad:

Garden Spells
Bliss, Remembered
The Rosie Project

or good classics like Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, The Woman in White, The Scarlet Pimpernel


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 51 comments Audrey I read the rosie project last year only because my job coach recommended it to be I didn't like it some much.


message 9: by Elizabeth (last edited Feb 01, 2017 05:19PM) (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
What great comments guys, I love the discussion that has popped up. I'm not changing the challenge though. Since the challenge is a romance novel or a book with romantic themes, you are more than welcome to read a book of poetry, like Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne, or Love: Ten Poems, or try these poets Walt Whitman, Robert Browning, or Robert Frost.

Other books with romantic themes could be The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Last of the Mohicans, Lonesome Dove, Their Eyes Were Watching God or Robinson Crusoe.

Here's a list of books on Goodreads called Popular Romanticism Books. https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/...

So, there are lots of options, and poetry can totally be included!

p.s. My favorite romance authors, for those of you who like romance novels are Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Grace Burrowes, Jaci Burton, Mary Balogh, andCourtney Milan. My coworker says her favorite author is Tammara Webber.


message 10: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Ooh, for those of you who would like to honor African American History month at the same time as fulfilling the reading challenge, try reading books by Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, or Rochelle Alers.

And here's a link to some different lists on Listopia
https://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/af...


message 11: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Teresa wrote: "Trying to read a full-on Romance novel usually leads to massive eye rolling. Thankfully I found an Urban Paranormal with romance in it that was already in my TBR list: Dead Witch Walking "

Just looked it up, it sounds fun.


message 12: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Audrey wrote: "Debbie wrote: "Well crud. We did romance for last February challenge. Me does believe me will pass. Me was hoping we would avoid the romance stuff by having poetry, which gets associated with roman..."

Those are all great suggestions. I love Garden Spells, but my favorite book by that author is The Sugar Queen. She writes Magical Realism, and one of the main characters has a special relationship with books. They just APPEAR for her to read, which is frankly, the dream. Good times.


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "I wouldn't mind reading something romance in it I read paranormal romance all the time so i'll actually be able to participate in this month I participated last month to . there's certain themes I ..."

Lisa, I like paranormal romance. Have you read First Grave on the Right or Dragon Bound?


message 14: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 313 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Lisa wrote: "I wouldn't mind reading something romance in it I read paranormal romance all the time so i'll actually be able to participate in this month I participated last month to . there's cert..."

Those were pretty good -- just be aware that they get kind of erotic.


message 15: by Brittany (new)

Brittany | 47 comments Audrey wrote: "Debbie wrote: "Well crud. We did romance for last February challenge. Me does believe me will pass. Me was hoping we would avoid the romance stuff by having poetry, which gets associated with roman..."

I love The Woman in White! It is a great book to fit the romance category for those of us who don't usually read in the "Romantic" genre. It is a great suspense / mystery type as well. Plus, I think that Count Fosco is the BEST literary villain I have ever read. He is so unique - you can't help but love him and hate him.


message 16: by Brianon (new)

Brianon Sheffield | 27 comments I love books with a good romance in them! I am currently reading a YA historical romance called The Reluctant Heiress, by Eva Ibbotson. It's set in Austria at the close of WWI. So far so good!


message 17: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 157 comments Sugar Queen and First Grave were great, imo.
There's also Grave Mercy, the Sookie Stackhouse series, Mercy Thompson series, the All Souls trilogy, some of the Liaden series, the Black Wings series. I guess I do like romance, as long as it isn't the main focus


message 18: by Britt, Book Habitue (last edited Feb 02, 2017 08:18AM) (new)

Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Seriously, though, there are hundreds of books in any given genre that happen to have a love story, so just about anything fits.

I just finished Rebel Mechanics. It has some romance to it. Great steampunk/alternate history.


message 19: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (dashforcover) | 903 comments OK, I'll bow out this month as my full on protest. But next year, let's broaden. Libraries are, after all, supposed to be the base of expansion and learning. Not about leaning on the same old same old easy choice -- a masked theme and variation. And suggesting something about the presidents or black history that has some theme of romance or poetry in it is entirely missing the point. My suggestion of poetry initially was based on the obviously strong glutivity to romance themes, hoping to break that intense pattern. so next year, please, Black History Month. Because Black Lives Matter, as much as do all lives.


message 20: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (jackie123) | 263 comments Although I am in the midst of a romance novel, I have to admit that I would also like to see us celebrate something else in February. Maybe next year???


message 21: by Alyson (new)

Alyson | 86 comments This is an interesting thread, I have to say. I find it interesting that romance as a genre feels so safe to denigrate in our society--we can even feel superior while doing so. There are eye rollers in every genre, friends, and this is a fun challenge. If you don't like romance, this IS broadening. If you like it, fabulous--it's a freebie. As a woman, I can't help but appreciate that this is possibly the ONLY genre out there written (as a whole), FOR women, BY women, and ABOUT women. Here's a couple of quick reads on that thought...

https://www.bustle.com/articles/80350...

https://www.bustle.com/articles/17515...


message 22: by Alyson (new)

Alyson | 86 comments Why make this challenge a topic of contention rather than a fun local activity? If you object strongly enough to the choices here, you could always do your own. If I have a book that applies to your chosen theme, I could always participate in yours as well.


message 23: by Debbie (last edited Feb 02, 2017 11:19PM) (new)

Debbie (dashforcover) | 903 comments Alyson wrote: "Why make this challenge a topic of contention rather than a fun local activity? If you object strongly enough to the choices here, you could always do your own. If I have a book that applies to you..."

Because in January Elizabeth said we would be doing something different for February. Those of us who had trekked though the annual February theme and variations surrounding Romance were exited and counting on something truly different. And the dismay that it is not is pretty deep so we are letting that be known. To quietly grumble to our individual selves means, to us, that next February will be yet another theme and variation on Romance. And we are saying this year that, for next year, "please not" in a way that will get noticed.

Furthermore, as you look at the past topics of other months, they have wide ranging variations of topics. So why not February?


message 24: by Alyson (new)

Alyson | 86 comments Elizabeth said we'd be doing something a little different from your suggestion of poetry, not something a little different in general. I suppose I'm having trouble understanding why, again, a fun local activity is such a cause for dismay.


Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Technically, it looks like Elizabeth said it would be "something a little different" in direct response to your comment about maybe doing poetry-- meaning it would be different from your suggestion.
I think Alyson's point was more that this is a fun thing that Elizabeth (or the library system generally) is under no obligation to provide and no one is required to participate, so why be abrupt bordering on rude when the monthly theme isn't what you'd prefer? Maybe it's only coming across that way because online communication can make things harsher than they were meant, but it seems like a simple 'Okay, but maybe next year we could do something that isn't valentine-related' would suffice.


message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 51 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Lisa wrote: "I wouldn't mind reading something romance in it I read paranormal romance all the time so i'll actually be able to participate in this month I participated last month to . there's cert..."

No I haven't read those 2 books but I've read Nicholas sparks books some of them and am going to read lots those this year and I've Cassandra clades books and other young adult paranormal romance books


Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Maria Snyder's "Study" books and Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares books should count. Both are fantasy series and I discovered them through Reader's Choice. :)


message 28: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 313 comments Britt, Book Habitue wrote: "Maria Snyder's "Study" books and Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares books should count. Both are fantasy series and I discovered them through Reader's Choice. :)"

Same here -- I really like those. And the romance is a subplot, not the main plot.

I'm also seeing a trend in Romance that features women in abusive relationships (falling for a kidnapper sort of thing, over-domineering male love interest) in a favorable light. Personally that's disturbing to me.


message 29: by Teresa (last edited Feb 03, 2017 11:27AM) (new)

Teresa | 157 comments To add to your comment Audrey, I stopped reading the romance genre because there is soooo much sexual assault described as romance. For example: She said no, so he caged her against the wall with his arms on either side of her, leaned over her, then kissed her until she decided she wanted to be kissed.
In leiu of much stronger, possibly offensive words, Barf!


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
I am glad that people are comfortable enough to voice their opinions in our Reading Challenge group. It's like a real book club! ;) One thing I enjoy about the group is hearing about how you make the challenges work for you. We will have an opportunity to read in a lot of different areas this year. I love that we all have different reading interests. Keep sharing what you're reading, it's fun to discover new books.


message 31: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "Lisa wrote: "I wouldn't mind reading something romance in it I read paranormal romance all the time so i'll actually be able to participate in this month I participated last month..."

As a head's up both of the books that I recommended are more explicit than your average Nicholas Sparks. Probably 4s on a 5 point scale with 1 being sweet and 5 being explicit.


message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Britt, Book Habitue wrote: "Maria Snyder's "Study" books and Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares books should count. Both are fantasy series and I discovered them through Reader's Choice. :)"

Ooh! I love Lisa Shearin (found on Reader's Choice too!) and Poison Study is great, I didn't love the rest in the series though. Did you like the rest of them?


message 33: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Alyson wrote: "This is an interesting thread, I have to say. I find it interesting that romance as a genre feels so safe to denigrate in our society--we can even feel superior while doing so. There are eye roller..."

Ooh, interesting articles. Thanks for sharing them. I think you'd enjoy this one as well.

http://www.courtneymilan.com/rambling...


message 35: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
Teresa wrote: "To add to your comment Audrey, I stopped reading the romance genre because there is soooo much sexual assault described as romance. ..."
It's true, this can happen a lot in books. I'm not a fan of it either. I like books where the characters are respectful of each other and their boundaries.


message 36: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (bethsmash) | 772 comments Mod
De wrote: "I don't normally read romance (with the exception of Mary Balogh's The Survivor's Club series, which I found delightful) so I went out searching --
Love Medicine [book:Mount Vernon Lov..."


What an interesting list. Some of those are going on my reading list.


message 37: by Alyson (new)

Alyson | 86 comments "Seven Daughters and Seven Sons" is a delightfully romantic Middle Eastern folktale, by the way.


message 38: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 157 comments I loved Seven Daughters and Seven Sons. It was stolen from the library so I haven't had access to it for years.


message 39: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn (jladybug) | 107 comments Black History AND romance ideas?

Anything by Zora Neal Hurston or Toni Morrison. I have loved many these amazing female authors works.


Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Britt, Book Habitue wrote: "Maria Snyder's "Study" books and Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares books should count. Both are fantasy series and I discovered them through Reader's Choice. :)"

Ooh! I love..."


I haven't read the newest Study trilogy yet, but I've enjoyed the others. I love the characters.


message 41: by Alyson (new)

Alyson | 86 comments If you loved the Survivor's Club series, you should look into Grace Burrowes. She's slightly racier than Mary Balogh, but she's got the same sort of depth and family connections going on.


message 42: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 43 comments I found Josi Kilpack's The Lady of the Lakes an interesting, non-sexy romance. It's not preachy and it isn't abusive. It's based on the true story of Sir Walter Scott's love for Mina Stuart and later for Charlotte Carpenter.


message 43: by Linda (last edited Feb 05, 2017 07:06PM) (new)

Linda | 164 comments I read Petticoat Spy. It takes place at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Historical fiction with a romantic secondary story line.


message 44: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 157 comments So, Dead Witch Walking is not a romance. I guess I read the genre wrong when I looked it up. Still enjoyable.


Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Finished The Winter Witch-- it had a sweet romance. Opposite of what y'all were saying about abuse; it was an arranged marriage and Cai (husband) was determined to be gentle and bide his time until Morgana (wife) settled in and wanted his attention.
The writing style didn't really work for me though.


Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Just read Ronit & Jamil, which is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet done in verse. The titular characters are an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy, respectively.
Publication date is later this month, but if someone is looking for a super fast read at the end of the month it's a good option. ;)


message 47: by De (new)

De | 12 comments Summerlong by Peter S Beagle is a modern retelling of the Persephone myth.


message 48: by Tiffinie (new)

Tiffinie Adams | 18 comments I read the song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.


message 49: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 157 comments I read Project ELE, downloaded for free from Google Books. It's YA Dystopia Romance. The beginning and ending were great. The rest of the book was horrible.


Britt, Book Habitue (britt--bookhabitue) | 377 comments Just finished Volonians: Mysteries of the Vondercrat.... which has a love story in the middle.... for no discernible reason. ;)


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