Books, Friends and Memories

An extension of my Kirkus blog post from October 19.

 

THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin    a feminist classic.

The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women’s issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating a mixed reaction from contemporary readers and critics. The novel’s blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern masterpieces of Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.

 

SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

 

JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL

The timeless spiritual classic and international bestseller by Richard Bach—a fable featuring a seagull learning about life and flight and the notion of self-perfection.

This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.

Support Bobbi

Hi friends!

Many people have asked how they could help support my work (thank you!)

A few people have asked if there was some way to contribute to me directly to help expand my programs. (Again, thank you, thank you!) I have a PayPal account that a friend suggested I make available, so here it is:

www.paypal.me/LoveRomance

 

A great way to help me and the page is to use my Amazon links – covers, icons, etc. – to shop.

Below are some 2018 titles I’ve really enjoyed in case you’d like some recommendations.

 

MY OXFORD YEAR by Julia Whelan

DON’T CALL ME CUPCAKE by Tara Sheets

THE SUMMER WIVES by Beatriz Williams

I’LL BE YOUR BLUE SKY by Marisa de los Santos

TIFFANY BLUES by M. J. Rose

NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by  Chanel Cleeton

NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT by Kristan Higgins

THE ART OF INHERITING SECRETS by Barbara O’Neal

THE LOST VINTAGE by Ann Mah

 

A Note for 2018

Hi friends!

If you’re a Read-A-Romance Month regular, you’ll probably notice that Read-A-Romance Month is distinctly smaller this year.

I had considered not doing it at all, for a variety of reasons, but when I ran that idea by a few friends and fans, they were so disappointed that I reconsidered, and decided to simply scale it back.

Then in June I suffered a heart-breaking experience that seems to have sucked the energy straight out of me, a state that was exacerbated by a tragedy a friend suffered that I have been unexpectedly rocked by.

So I apologize that RARM is both smaller and much less organized in 2018. (I haven’t quite sorted out the schedule yet, as of August 1.  The evolving calendar is here.)

Aside from these (I hope) fun Q&As on the website – there will also be daily author visits on weekdays at the Romance of Reading Facebook page.

It has been a very difficult year in many ways, and I have decided that I need to be gentle with myself. I hope you will be too.

Enjoy Read-A-Romance Month, and this different version of a month designed to celebrate romantic fiction.

We can all use #ATouchofRomance in our lives, can’t we?

Happy August. xo

Bobbi

 

Weekdays in August on  The Romance of Reading page:

August

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  TBA

17  –  TBA                             💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)

 

 

 

Lisa Marie Perry

Lisa Marie Perry has asked that her original content be removed.

If you’d like to explore her books, you can find them here.

 

Sonali Dev – Finding Ourselves in Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

How Romance Equals The Pursuit Of Happiness

I’ve always been that girl, neither here nor there. Neither big nor small, neither short nor a change of hearttall, smart enough but not so much that I wouldn’t have to work hard, and growing up in India, I was even too dark to be ‘fair’ and too light skinned to be ‘sultry.’ Then there’s that whole thing where I’m neither a fashionista nor bohemian, where I’m romantic yet practical, where both art and science make me breathless with wonder. All in all, the whole label thing has never quite worked for me, and I learned pretty early on that I wasn’t particularly interested in working for the labels either.

 Throw into that mix the fact that I was a military kid and we moved a lot when I was young. I changed nine schools in twelve years. That means I was the new kid nine times before I was a teen and wanting to fit in got programed into my DNA along with a certain comfort with never really fitting in.

 Okay, so you’re a mess, you say, what does this have to do with romance?

Well, as you can imagine this whole tug of war with belonging caused a raging need to read (there’s no escape like a book bound escape) and an utter dependency on writing (there’s no friend like a diary). And the alchemy between these two forces led me down a winding path to writing romance.

 The path might have been winding, but as with all worthy destinations there was a

Re-Release of Bollywood Affair has a gorgeous new cover.

Re-Release of Bollywood Affair has a gorgeous new cover!

reason I landed upon this genre with a deep sense of homecoming that I could only compare to returning home from a camping trip on a cold rainy weekend after your tent springs a leak. Because, here, amid these pages were all the girls who didn’t fit. But only until they figured out that they didn’t really need to fit.

 As romance readers we get told all the time that these stories we love are about the search for men (or simply a significant other) to make us matter. Anyone who actually reads romance and gets it will tell you that what we’re reading is the exact opposite of that.

We’re reading explorations of ourselves, of our needs and wants. We’re searching for stories about ourselves that don’t line up with the stories about us that surround us. Ones that tell us we have to be a certain way to get certain things. Romance novels turn those standards on their heads with heroines of every shape, size, ability and aptitude. And no matter what they look like on the outside, the one thing they struggle with is fitting inside their own skin. When was the last time you read a romance with a heroine who did everything the world tells her to do and got what the world promised bollywood affairher she would get?

 Now consider for a moment that a successful relationship (or a happily ever as we love to call it) is only a metaphor for happiness. And in romance it always comes only after you have grown enough to let it in. Sometimes that growth has to do with finding the courage to pursue dreams no one thought you could achieve— not even you yourself; sometimes it has to do with finding the courage to overcome trauma and to forgive yourself for all the things that were or weren’t your fault. Often it is finding the courage to own your own body, your individuality, your freedom, your voice. But across the genre these stories boil down to the pursuit of the real you— the you you have to become to let happiness in.

If I had to pick what I love most about romance, this is what I would pick— the fact that it treats happiness as not just a definitive possibility but as a conscious choice that often times takes work. And if that’s not real life, I don’t know what is.

Sonali recommends:

Kishan Paul         kishanpaul.net     (at Amazon)

Alyssa Cole         alyssacole.com     (at Amazon)

Jeannie Lin        jeannielin.com      (at Amazon)

Regena Bryant       regenabryant.com     (at Amazon)

Kate Meader       katemeader.com    (at Amazon)

These authors have the most amazing voices and write smart stories with the kind of worthy protagonists we don’t see nearly enough of.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

Having grown up in Mumbai, the two things that will always define romance for me are the monsoon and the beach. The Mumbai rains are hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced them. The raindrops are actually warm and the smell of wet earth is almost unbearably tender and fresh. And it’s unfailingly unpredictable, going in the span of a moment from a soothing drizzle that you can amble in for hours to a torrent that could blow you away. The only time I ever hated being single was during the monsoon. That craving to squeeze under an umbrella with someone special surrounded by the beat of raindrops and the smell of soaking earth, and getting drenched anyway because the Mumbai rains laugh at umbrellas— that’s possibly the most romantic thing I’ve ever experienced.

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

That would have to be my best friend. Naturally we’ve shared every detail about every crush we ever had since school (amazingly enough, only one on the same boy). But we’ve also mooned over every book and movie boyfriend for days and months, long after no one else would listen. Now she makes films and I write books and we have a lifetime of research to dip into. And just to be sure, we continue to discuss every detail of all the things we love and hate long after no one else wants to listen.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

I think I’d have to say Scotland. It was the first trip my husband and I took by ourselves after having our kids (thanks, doting grandparents!). It was our ‘oh look, we’re still young and we still actually like each other’ trip post parenthood. And what better place to rediscover such a precious thing than amid those ramblings hills, idyllic villages and castles, and scotch, unending amounts of scotch!

 Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

I think it’s my parents. For the strangest reasons. Yes, they’ve been married for almost Sonali's parentsfifty years. Yes, they grumble at each other and laugh at each other and drive each other crazy, but even today, my dad can make my mom blush with a compliment, and awful as this is to admit as their child, you can still see in his eyes how hot he thinks she is. And for all their quirks and accomplishments and failures, in all their words and actions, it’s clear to anyone with eyes that they essentially see the strongest most beautiful parts of each other even when no one else can. Especially when no one else can. It’s a friendship, a partnership, a grand love affair that I’ve seen stay rock steady my entire life and there’s nothing more romantic in the world.

Tell us about your dream date.

Henry Cavill.

Kidding. Okay, not entirely kidding.

Coming back to real life. I’m not much of a date person— they’re too orchestrated for me. But the things I find insanely romantic are the things that happen by serendipity. A conversation on a bench in the middle of a walk, sneaking in a drink and a movie when an unexpected free moment miraculously shows up, driving by a sushi place when in a rare alignment of the stars we’re both craving it at the same time, and finally my favorite: that perfect song playing on the radio so we can dance in the kitchen in the middle of cooking.

Sonali is generously giving away two print copies of the reissue of A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR  to US readers, and one ebook of THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE for an international reader.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Sep 5, 2016. Good luck! ***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing.  Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading


SonaliAward winning author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after.

Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post and Kirkus Best Books lists. She won the American Library Association’s award for best romance in 2014, is a RITA Finalist, RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.

Learn more:

sonalidev.com    |     Facebook     |     Twitter @Sonali_Dev

 

Buy Sonali’s books:

availableon-amazon    availableon-nook   availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!