Sunday, February 5, 2012

Julia Reviews Everything I Know About Love I learned From Romance Novels

Title/Author:Everything I Know About Love About Learned From Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell
Publisher/Year Published: October 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
How I got this book: From my local library
Why I read this book: I read a lot of romance novels and the title is pretty much out of my mouth
Rating: 5 stars

I read my first romance novel right around the age of 12. My cousin gave me some to read that she had gotten through various ways. She said they were really good books I would like them. 13 years later and I am still reading romance.

As a self-professed bookaholic, people often times give me a lot of condecension for my choice of reading. When I tell people that I read 72 books in 2010 and 49% of them were romance I often get "Well those don't count." or "It's just chick porn."

This really frustrates me. Just because it is a book that is heavily focused on romance means it doesn't count? I picked up Everything I Know I Learned from Romance Novels hoping to get some more amo to throw at these people, but what I found was a group of stories and lessons that were enchanting and eye opening.

Everything I Know About Love was written by Smart Bitch Sarah over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a site I often frequent. She often asked readers while she was writting to contribute anecdotes, as well as other authors and publishers. What she collected was a chain of stories about people and their relationship with romance. It was really interesting because not only did I realize what other people have taken from reading romance, I realized that a lot of that applied to me as well.

What I Learned From Romance Novels:
  • Don't to settle for something less than I am worth.
  • Though men are not romance heros, the romance heroes have qualities (like kindness and the ability to listen) that real men can have.
  • It's not a problem to embrace sexuality.
  • The happily-ever after is not the interesting part. It's how you get there.

I don't expect someone to ride up beside me, sweep me off my feet onto their white horse and tell me they've wait for me forever. I do expect trust and communication, understanding when something happens when life isnt always perfect, someone who will love me faults and all.

For me romance has been an escape, a roadmap to relationships, a way to discover myself to just name a few. What this book really solidified in me is that I don't care that other people may think less of me for reading romance. They dont know what they have taught me. I know that I will be a better friend, lover, woman, and person for reading them.

As for the book, you hear a lot of stories like this neatly divided into sections. If you dont read romance but have wondered why so many flock to it. Pick this up. It is quick and fun to read. It took me one 4 hour flight.

I am not sure how to end my review/personal outpouring. I guess I'll end it with this. Never feel guilty for reading something. A book can mean anything to anyone. :)


  1. True that! I like the title! :) didn't expect it to be an anthology though! I am teen romance reader, I have a weaknness for them. From time to time, I take breaks so as to avoid ODs. lol
    The line I am in total agreement with in your post is: "They dont know what they have taught me. I know that I will be a better friend, lover, woman, and person for reading them." :D Cheers to love! :D

    1. It's not so much an anthology as a collection of annecdotes and related opinions neatly tied into each chapter that has a general theme. It's hard to describe it. It is nonfiction though, and a really good book.

      Cheers to love :)

  2. What a fun book! I have always been a bit embarrassed by my guilty pleasure: romance novels. I think I would really enjoy this! I just bought it for my kindle. $2.99 is such a good deal, and I bet I'll love it like you did. :)

    1. Oh yeah!! I forgot that it was on sale this week! I hope you do love it, too.

  3. At first glance this book looks like one I would never pick up, but your review has me intrigued! I love books that make you reconsider preconceived notions. I've looked at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books a few times and I think its pretty funny. Thanks for the review Julia!

    1. Yay! I love that reviews open us up to books that we may not have picked up by cover/synopsis alone (that has happened to me loads of times)!

      The people at Smart Bitches are really great! It's a great community.

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy it if you do end up reading it!

  4. I have this book on my personal shelf and I can't wait to read it. I loved the first Smart Bitches book.

    1. Me too! I've wanted to read it again actually, because I have forgotten some of the finer points (as I usually do...)

      Hope you enjoy this one :)

  5. Usually I don't read non-fiction, at least not a lot and not really if it's not for university - but this book is non-fiction, isn't it? And it sounds rather interesting and fun. Like a lot of thoughts on reading books and what you can learn from it, exactly what I'm interested in. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks for writing this review :)

    1. Yes it is non-fiction. It has thoughts from a lot of different people regarding romance and certain things that they have learned. Each chapter is centered around a topic. SB Sarah (the author) does a lovely job of interweaving the thoughts of reader, writers, publishers, etc. into a coherent thread.

      I was surprised at how much I didn't realize I learned from romance novels until I read this book.

      I hope you like it!

  6. I cannot get over what a fantastic idea for a book this is, and I am totally going to run off and buy it (thank you Kindle). I've always felt like romance novels are undervalued, and the timing of this post is perfection itself, since I was in one of those "romance novels taught me" situations this morning.

    Actually it was the inspiration I needed to FINALLY post in my own blog that I've been trying to get going for two weeks. *facepalm* Since the timing was so fantastic I hope that you don't mind my referencing this post in my entry. So far as I know I have 0 readers. Ha! But if I ever do then maybe they'll become your readers too!

    Passing on the love,

    1. Yay! Its on sale today too, so super cheap buy. It was a fantastic idea that I think stemmed from a feature that Sarah has at Smart Bitches, which is the same name as the book.

      The funny thing is while she was writing it and would ask for input from readers, I had no idea what they taught me, so I never commented. But after reading it, I too had that, "Ah ha!" moment (as witnessed above).

      No problem on the linking, and I will stop over and take a look at the inaugural post too :)

  7. Oh! As Jana reminded me, the book is on sale right now for $2.99 in eBook form

    B&N | Amazon | Sony

  8. Exactly! This review pretty much echoes my feelings entirely. I get so much crap for reading romance, and this book was fantastic. Oh, and for the record, Beyond Heaving Bosoms is awesome, too.

  9. I only just started reading romance books this past year, but I am glad I started picking them up. I absolutely love them! I don't care what people think about that. I definitely should pick this book up, it sounds amazing!

  10. totally agree with your last sentences in the post - Never feel guilty for reading something. A book can mean anything to anyone. :)
    I started reading romances a little later than many of my friends - around the time I was almost 16 (was reading Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy before then!!)..
    This book sounds perfect for my next read and for Valentine's Day!

  11. You are so right! I agree with you, I think reading romance novels has made me a better person! Or at least more discerning about my feelings. Most people I know in real life don't know I read this many romance novels, mostly because of the reaction you mentioned and I like that with my e-reader I avoid the sometimes embarassing covers ;)
    I'm gonna have to check this book out soon! It sounds really good! Oh, and I bought the Duke and I last week, it should be getting here soon :)

  12. This one sounds brilliant. I did an interview with a M&B author recently about why romance fiction is still seen as "lesser" fiction, and some really interesting discussion resulted. Thanks for the review!


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