What Wouldn’t You Read?

Our friends, Bob and Carol aka crime-writing team RC Bridgestock

28 Calls for Submissions in April 2020 - Paying markets

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Paul Whybrow

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Jun 20, 2015
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With dark days ahead of us, as restrictions bite about wandering, we’re all going to be reading more. Perhaps now is the time to widen our reading tastes, try something new.

I read about 365 books annually, about half of them in my chosen writing genre of Crime, as I revealed in an old thread

If any of you shun Crime stories, I specifically recommend Kim Zupan’s The Ploughmen, which is one of the most unusual crime stories I’ve read:

If you can’t get your hands on that, try any of Walter Mosley’s street smart private eye stories. Devil In A Blue Dress is the best known, filmed starring Denzel Washington.

You’ll learn a lot from Mosley’s writing technique and I recommend his This Year You Write Your Novel as a common sense guide to being a writer.

I rarely read Romance stories, so can any of you recommend titles to me?

Which books in your writing genre do you admire?

And, which genre do you dislike, but which Colony members could suggest a title to change your mind?

iu
 
Romance suggestions

Norah Lofts. Not too many people these days know this writer, which is a pity; she is so acute and wry and intelligent, 'To See A Fine Lady,' by Norah Lofts is a genre defying romance. Look at the garish cover on some of the second hand paperbacks, you might think it's a bodice ripper. Nah. It really isn't. But it's a great study in people. And there is a psychopath for the heroine to contend with....her social superior at a time and in a place where it really counts....a woman.

Also 'Lady Living Alone' by the same author, about a very shy writer, Penelope Shadow who to her own utter astonishment writes a romance and makes it big. And then, just as she has given up on any thoughts of marriage she meets a pretty boy on the make. Oh dear oh dear.
 
I don't read romances so I'll give Norah Lofts a go and see if she can change my mind :) My sister loved Georgette Heyer but I never got into her either, apart from Simon the Cold Heart, which apparently Heyer wasn't very proud of and thought one of her poorest novels. I think it was one of her first and she was in her 20s when she wrote it so it wasn't perfect. But what is? I liked that it was character-led and told from the pov of Simon, rather than some fluffy maiden looking for a spouse.

I admire Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere is fab), Terry Pratchett and Ursula K Le Guin. They write good characters and plots.
 
Norah Lofts wrote another interesting not-romance. A ghost story, The Haunting of Gad's Hall. Not a kiss in sight, well, barely. It's really about the ghosts in all of us. Ancestral. Though it does feature an exorcism and a displaced Devil.
 
I'm generally not a fan of crime procedurals - too much bleakness and dead bodies (but I love horror - go figure)

Having said that I did find "Helter Skelter" (about the Manson murders - nonfiction) fascinating. @Paul Whybrow your suggestions sound interesting.
 
More romance
Classic: Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (of course), My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn (set Cornwall), and maybe Frenchman's Creek.
Historical romance: Jean Plaidy -- Madonna of the Seven Hills (Borgia), The Royal Road to Fotheringhay (MQ Scots), etc....
Fantasy romance: Mary Stewart's Merlin books, The Crystal Cave, etc
Any Mary Stewart is worth reading.
Romance + sex (AKA bonkusters): Shirley Conran -- Lace (famous for the goldfish*), Jilly Cooper Riders, etc (famous for Rupert Stonkingly-Sexy, believed to be based on someone once close to two of our own dear female royals).
*No hints. Read it for yourself.
Both Conran and Cooper put new immediacy into the saying: Start things off with a bang.
 
Romance + sex (AKA bonkusters): Shirley Conran -- Lace (famous for the goldfish*), Jilly Cooper Riders, etc (famous for Rupert Stonkingly-Sexy, believed to be based on someone once close to two of our own dear female royals).
*No hints. Read it for yourself.
Both Conran and Cooper put new immediacy into the saying: Start things off with a bang.

I LOVED Riders and I don't read loads of romance. I really admired the way how although it's such a long book, she just keeps you turning the pages...
 
An oldie is the Australian author, Colleen McCulloch, The Thorn Birds, or British author Barbara Taylor Bradford, A Woman of Substance. More sagas than pure romance, but still centring around romance.

@E G Logan, Lace was one of my first ever reads when a teen :)
 
Paul, you have to read Lace. Even the Kindle version can't cost much now, as it's so old. When the charity shops are open again, I'm sure you could find it almost free.

You never know, you might be an undiscovered romance writer.
 
Paul, you have to read Lace. Even the Kindle version can't cost much now, as it's so old. When the charity shops are open again, I'm sure you could find it almost free.

You never know, you might be an undiscovered romance writer.
Not so much undiscovered, as hidden away! I'm a born-again virgin. I'm either celibate or chaste...but, definitely not chased.
 
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Our friends, Bob and Carol aka crime-writing team RC Bridgestock

28 Calls for Submissions in April 2020 - Paying markets

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