bookofawesome3dIntroduction first: In case you were unaware of the 1000 Awesome Things blog, Neil Pasricha was at a down point in his life a couple of years ago, and decided to cheer himself up by blogging about the good, often unnoticed, things in life.  When gas prices go down just as you need some gas.  When you turn a pillow onto its fresh side.  The fact that we exist.  When a cashier opens a new cash line.  You know – awesome things.

1000 posts and 3 bestsellers later, the blog is over.  In (belated) honour of the 1000th post, I decided to write about the awesome things in romance.  It’s been a good exercise, because too often I focus on the annoying or tedious in romance novels.  But despite the bad stuff, there are many reasons I stick with romance novels, and they’re all awesome (in my opinion, anyway).  So here, counting down, are my Five Awesome Romance Things.

5. You can’t please everyone, but you can please someone. Publishing is a transient business.  Just think of all those thousands – no, millions of books that clutter used bookstores, books that are in and out of print, remembered and forgotten.  But what’s great about romances is that even 999 people think a book’s absolute crap, there’s probably at least one person who finds it awesomer than Kraft Dinner.

4. The 50-cent find.  You’re at a garage sale in northern Ontario.  You’re rummaging through piles of books, dirt in your fingernails.  There’s another copy of a Nora Roberts, and there’s yet another Barbara Cartland.  But wait…is that – no.  Can’t be.  It is – it is!  It’s that Incredibly Hard-to-find Romance that sells for $50 on eBay!  And it’s only 50 cents on the side of regional road 60!! That moment, people, is pure awesome.

3. The Warm Fuzzy Feeling.  The ending of Reforming Lord Ragsdale, when Emma sees John.  When Wulfric pops his head out of the water and Freya hugs Christine in Slightly Dangerous.  The Sondheim and Elvis restaurant moment in Bet Me.  Whatever and whenever it is, it reaffirms the conviction that these two people are made for each other, and that everything will turn out wonderfully, and awesomely, for them.

2. Taking chances, and getting dividends in spades.  Hey, we can’t read everything.  I’m sure everyone’s had at least one experience of trying out an old favourite or new hot thing, and finding that it’s just not working for them.  But sometimes the gamble pays off, and oh, the benefits we reap.  If it’s an old author, then you have the pleasure of a lengthy backlist to anticipate and relish.  And if it’s a new author, then just think of all the awesome books to come.

And the number one Awesome Thing in Romance Novels is…

1.  They exist.  Think about it.  We have European aristocrats, cops, architects, authors, sculptors, market analysts, vampires, entrepreneurs, farmers, thieves, hawk shapeshifters, soldiers, assassins, ghouls, apocalyptic horsemen, and debutantes.  We can read in the city and country, in the Hebrides, Alberta, Seattle, New York, Marseilles, Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland, South Africa, Egypt, Albania, Bath, Portugal, and Barbados.  The stories are set in 960, 1812, 2012, 2079, or none of the above.  Books that have lots of sex, and books that have no sex; stories with gore and stories without.  Suspense, historical, contemporary, paranormal, inspirational, western, futuristic – we have it all, and no matter how they turned out, they were written to give a little happiness to our lives.

There’s no doubt about it: Romance novels are awesome.

There are so many more reasons, but now it’s time for your turn.  What’s awesome about romance?  (And by the way, you don’t have to chip in with an awesome at the end.  But if you did, it would be, you know, awesome.)

– Jean AAR