Risky Regencies

Doh! I could’ve been reading romance…

At the end of February, I started back on my balloonist story and curtailed my reading of romance. Even though I see non romance books as “secondary food” as Megan described in an earlier post, I can’t read and write romance at the same time. I like to get emotionally involved (identify with the heroine, fall in love with the hero) and I can’t do that with two couples at once. So I save reading romance for vacations, breaks between drafts, etc…

Anyway, in February I stocked up on non-romance reading including self help books with a Buddhist persuasion (since I’ve been taking meditation classes) and popular books recommended by friends.

Then March hit, with the seemingly endless snows and the Dumb Stuff I Have to Do that I blogged about last weekend. I wasn’t managing more than an hour or two of writing a week, which meant I kept reopening the same scene until I got sick of it. I decided to hold off until I’m through the logjam.

But it was only recently that I figured out I could have been been reading romance. Doh!

So here’s what I have been reading.

In the self help line, I’ve enjoyed books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron and a gem I’d like to share: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The latter is the guide to a stress reduction program including yoga and meditation that was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. I’m just starting to blend elements of this program with things I’m already doing, but so far I am finding it is stress management GOLD.

In the fiction line, I read Bangkok 8 by John Burdett, which features a Buddhist cop in Bangkok. It’s witty and funny and it was kind of surreal to be reading this at the same time as the above serious books on Buddhist topics.

I also read The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, being probably one of the last literate people on the planet to do so. It’s definitely a page turner. There are critics who complain that Brown’s prose is uninspired. Personally, I don’t care about plain writing when the focus is on the action. It’s only a problem when he tries to do something more emotional, i.e. “She looked beautiful in the moonlight” from one of the final scenes. That sort of writing doesn’t fly in romance, but for this sort of book, no big deal.

Unfortunately, the time crunch seems likely to continue through spring break. So I will console myself by reading romance and trying to catch up on books by the Riskies. 🙂

So what do you read when you’re not reading romance? If you read any of the above books, what did you think of them?

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11 years ago

I haven’t read “The DaVinci Code”, because I read Angels and Demons. Brown knows how to move a story along, but it was really over the top. That might have been okay, if he hadn’t tried to throw in “the facts,” that weren’t facts at all.

I’m currently reading “The Sacred Romance,” and it’s about our relationship with a loving God. Thought I cheated, huh? I’m also reading “The Red Suit Diaries,” which is so incredibly heartwarming.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Add me to the list of those who have not read DaVinci Code. Saw the movie, though.

I avoid Regency Historical Romance when I’m writing, which means I don’t read much of it.

I recently read Mary Jo Putney’s YA, Dark Mirror. First YA I’ve read.

Now I’m reading The Warmth of Other Suns, which I highly recommend. This NYT best-seller tells the history of the Great Migration of African Americans from the Jim Crow South, from WWI to the 1960s. The author focusses on three individuals to tell the story; one of them is the father of a former coworker of mine. It is a marvelous work, though disturbing at times.

I also love self-help and dieting books!! Someday I’m going to figure out how to lose 25 pounds

Elena Greene
11 years ago

Judy, I don’t take information from novels seriously because one can’t generally tell where they are actually interleaved.

Diane, I heard the movie was disappointing though perhaps I’ll Netflix it. As for losing weight, I’ve lost a little lately and think the meditation and daily mindfulness practice is helping. It is really true that if you pay attention while eating you are less likely to overdo it. Though I still have a way to go…

Jeanne M
11 years ago

When I’m not reading historical romance I usually hit my husband’s bookshelf so I have read The DaVinci Code. Another book I picked up from his shelf was New York by Rutherfurd. I enjoyed them both (and it took some presure off me buying so many of the books I adore.

I’m currently reading Any Wicked Thing by Margaret Rowe (aka Maggie Robinson). No matter the name she uses I love her books!

PS: Re: DaVinci Code – the book was better than the movie!

For April the book I’m looking forward to reading the most is new author Kieran Kramer’s Cloudy With A Chance of Marriage (don’t you love the title). It’s her third book and besides all of them having great titles the stories are terrific too!

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

I read lots of Buddhist texts, and love Thich Nhat Han, they really help me to focus. But right now I’m reading something much less profound–“What French Women Know” 🙂

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

I read Regency research books when I don’t read romance. I know, I’m hopelessly boring!

I’ve also gotten hooked on medieval mysteries. I’m reading a series by Mel Starr and another one by Jeri Westerson.

I recently read Elizabeth Edwards book Resilience. She was brutally honest and I have to admire that. The one thing I took away from it was to stop worrying about the things I can’t control and to concentrate and the things that I can. She calls it “adjusting your sails.”

Janet Mullany
11 years ago

I’ve just read Kate Atkinson’s “Started Early, Took My Dog,” which is brilliant.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a self-help book or Dan Brown.

11 years ago

When I am not reading romance, I will usually pick up a suspense/mystery novel, a Western, or some YA fiction. For non-fiction It is usually history, archeology or some science related book.

I tend to tie what I am reading to what is going on in my life. Whenever we travel, I read up on the area, but I also find fiction that takes place where we are going. We just spent a week in New Orleans. I read Jennifer Blake’s Master of Arms series set in 1840 New Orleans. Good books, lots of historical detail, well drawn characters, and good stories. I was able ti finish 2 before we left, 1 1/2 while there and finish the rest of the 6 after getting back. It made both the visit to the French Quarter and the books much more real. It makes the story that much more real to be able to say, “I know where that garden is and exactly what it looks like.”

I had Stella Cameron’s Court of Angels trilogy which is a paranormal series set in modern day New Orleans, but never got to it.

Susanna Fraser
11 years ago

When I’m not reading romance, I read lots of science fiction and fantasy–most recently Lois McMaster Bujold’s marvelous Vorkosigan saga, which I’ve been trying to push on just about everyone I talk books to lately. Also a fair amount of mystery. I’m eagerly awaiting Julia Spencer-Fleming’s new release this month, for example. And always plenty of nonfiction, research and otherwise. I’m reading up on the Battle of Salamanca for one of my current WIPs.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Susanna, I love Bujold’s Vorkosigan series!! So do my friend (and sometime Risky guest) Mary Blayney. She makes it a point to give away copies of Cordelia’s Honor in order to get friends started.

Worked for me!!!

Elena Greene
11 years ago

Thanks, friends. You’ve given me more titles for both the romance and non-romance TBR lists. 🙂

11 years ago

When I’m not reading romances I’m reading all sorts of things, but a good bet would be either a mystery or a travelogue.

I haven’t read any of the books you mention, but Bangkok 8 is on my TBR list.

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