Thursday, February 15, 2007

Romantic novels

Oops! Yesterday I meant to blog about romantic books, but I was too busy perfuming myself and stuffing dates with goat cheese for my own romantic evening that I didn't get around to it. I spent a lot of time thinking about what was the most romantic book I ever read. "Romance" novels were right out - I don't find those particularly romantic. As a teenager I used to read them very quickly, just in search of the sex scenes, which, as you may know, are usually at the end, involving a "nobleman" and some sort of "wench" and something that could easily be called date rape. Once I read this story that blew my mind for a long time about a dude who, in the course of "love making" inserted a GOLDFISH in this woman's vagina and then sucked it out again. (!!!)

Eventually I decided that Jane Eyre was the most romantic book for me. I haven't read it for a long time, but I must have read it 20 times when I was a kid. Actually, I have a feeling that if I read it today, I'd find it less romantic and more Daphne du Maurier. Somewhere around college I found British fiction (the Bront√ęs, Warton, Austin) completely unbearable, but I've been thinking of picking it up again to see if my tastes have changed.

I think The English Patient, the movie, is very romantic, but I don't find the book romantic at all. Parts of other books are quite romantic to me, like the bit with the sheet in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (you'll know what I'm talking about if you've read it). I found parts of Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose romantic. I suppose it's probably becoming clear to you that what I find romantic is a long and tortured unrequited love that lasts decades and is finally resolved with two people holding hands about 10 minutes before they both fall dead.

And here's the most romantic song I know, and although it has nothing to do with books I can't help but include it here:


Kathy said...

Oh, I found this so relentlessly hot when it was first released but upon further consideration, I find it quite dark.

Longing, desire, uncertainty are certainly powerful underpinnings for romance but there has to be some reciprocity, eh?

Although now that I think of it, this is surely how Rob felt about me until I finally gave in and married him...;-)

Sonya said...

I LOVED the sheet scene. I read it Midnight's Children back in college, when I wasn't sleeping much and reading way too many books and writing way too many papers, so I have this sort of vague collage in my mind of what the book was about, but the sheet scene sticks out really vividly.

SJKramer said...

As a kid I'd also read Jane Eyre and I recently re-read it. I must say that it improved with age (my age). Maybe you'd have the same experience.