Oddly-Specific Genres: Rugged Romance

“Of course, women don’t like Westerns.”

This statement from a stranger probably triggered one of my more embarrassing social interactions in college.

I don’t know about wherever you went to school, but at my undergraduate college, it wasn’t unusual to find yourself at a cafeteria table of mostly strangers. The following incident was relatively early in my college career, before I realized the importance of coordinating meal schedules with friends and arriving early so that I could avoid the awkwardness of small chat with strangers.

But on this particular day, I didn’t know any better and had found myself in this situation and, as an introvert, I responded by developing a laser-like focus on my plate and ignoring everyone else at the table. I was jarred out of this protective social cocoon when I overheard someone confidently proclaim that “Of course, women don’t like Westerns.”

Now, as a woman who happens to immensely enjoy Westerns–indeed, some of my favorite books, movies, and television shows are Westerns–that broad generalization really infuriated me. And without giving it much further thought or even clarifying context or anything else, I immediately blurted out an unintentionally very confrontational, “Well, I like Westerns!”

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Discussion Thread: Poldark

1783 was not a good year for Captain Ross Poldark. A British army officer, he has just returned from their defeat in the American Revolutionary War. He comes home to find that his inheritance is in shambles, that his family thought he was dead, and that his beloved Elizabeth has married another. Well, specifically, she married his cousin Francis. As you can imagine, complications ensue. . . .

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book of Short Stories

Don’t feel like you have the emotional energy to devote to an entire novel?

Still looking for something different but the nonfiction post from last week isn’t really your thing?

Try a short story collection!

Personally, I love a good short story. This may be a form of heresy to many readers, but if I had to pick between a good short story and a good novel, I’d pick the short story just about every time.

To that end, here are a few short story collections released in the last year or so!

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book That Has a Color in the Title

This week is National Color Day! Admittedly, I’m pretty clueless about what celebrating this day involves, but reading a book with a color in the title seems like a pretty reasonable approach.

Here are a few recommendations that have been released in the last year or so.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Graphic Novel

Confession: I used to avoid graphic novels.

I didn’t have anything against them, per se. I mean, I liked fiction and I liked art, but the combination of the two of them just never occurred to me as something I’d want to read.

I changed my mind about graphic novels after reading Art Spiegelman’s classic Maus and also Gris Grimly’s adaptation of Frankenstein.

It’s still not a genre I read widely in, admittedly, but now, whenever I hear that a book is a graphic novel, my first instinct is no longer to automatically assume it won’t be for me.

To that end, if you were like me a few years ago and think graphic novels aren’t your thing, here are some recommendations that illustrate the great variety within the genre.

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Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible

Eligible

Channeling my inner Jane Austen here: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of a retelling of a classic story has one of two reactions, joy at revisiting a tale that is both familiar and new or complete, unmitigated horror at the desecration of a favorite book.

Well, perhaps I exaggerate just a little, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that people tend to either really like contemporary updated versions of old favorites or the very idea is repellent to them. Personally, I like when a classic is effectively brought into a different time and place because I like spotting all of the allusions and seeing what the author changed and what he or she didn’t and pondering why. With all of that in mind,  I approached Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest book Eligible with a great deal of curiosity.

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Discussion Thread: A Book With A Love Triangle

Love-Triangle

One of the challenges for this month is a book with a love triangle. I had contemplated doing book recommendations for this one, but most of the books I found to recommend were ones that people were likely to have either already read or at least be familiar with.

Instead, I decided to revive the “Discussion Thread” idea from when we covered Outlander.

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