Favorite books: we all have them. Some of us have a lot of them. Some of us have only one. Some of us would argue that there can only be one true favorite, and the others have to take their place behind hit. We can love a lot of books, but only one the most. Some of us claim we can’t possibly choose, as we love them all. Some of us would view that with skepticism, or suggest that means no one book, or type of book stands out from the rest. Still others of us see this as a wonderful opportunity to devise a game that could be fun, or could cause intense mental anguish, when book lovers are forced to pick. Play along if you dare.
Imagine this: you’re taken to a remote desert island, where all of your physical needs will be met, and you will incur no expenses, for the space of one year. The perfect reader’s paradise you say? We forgot to mention one catch. There is no library. There are no bookstores. No problem, you say? You’ll bring your e-reader, you say? You’ll use your e-reading app, you say? We’re terribly sorry, but these electronic devices will not work on this island. This is a very old-school island. Only physical books will be allowed. If you must, we will allow a print version of a book that only exists in electronic format out there in non-island world. (We have a crack legal team working round the clock to make this possible.) To make this even more of a challenge, you may only bring one example of each from the categories below. If a book belongs to more than one category, such as a standalone erotic historical romance novella, or multicultural inspirational category that is part of a series, it does not fill the slots for every category which describes it. Choose the category you wish it to fill, and that leaves space for more. We’re exacting here, but not cruel. Well, mostly not cruel. It’s usually a matter of perspective, and of whom one asks, but, by and large, we do not identify as cruel.
Got it? Got close to it? Already rolled eyes and clicked on over to some other content that does not make asinine requests of one’s reading choices? Actually, if you fall into that last one, you’re not reading this anymore, so we will dispense with talking to people who are no longer here and we will proceed with planning our island sojourn. Here are the categories:
- Category. Of course, one of the categories had to be “category. ” This is a broad one. Any romance from any category line put out by Harlequin, Silhouette, Loveswept, or Mills and Boon, or the like, will fit here. Any book, from any line, even if that line was discontinued years ago, is fair game, but only one.
- Contemporary. For our purposes, this may be set any time after 1950, up to and including the present day, at any spot in the world as we know it. If it’s set in the here and now, it fits this category.
- Historical. For our purposes, this may be set any time before 1950. Ancient world, medieval, Tudor, Stuart, English Civil War, Stuart again, Georgian, including but not limited to Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, American historicals, Tang Dynasty China, you get the picture. Any era before 1950, from any society.
- Multicultural. May be historical, contemporary or otherwise, but at least one of the lovers must be non-Caucasian.
- Paranormal. Any romance with a fantasy element will fit in this category. Time travel, psychics, shifters, vampires, mermaids, werebeings of any sort, all belong here. If you think it’s a paranormal, it probably is. Go wild.
- SFF/F Romance: Yes, yes, we know what we just said, and this is different. That cool thing that makes the different stuff happen? Does it have a battery? Yes? It belongs here. Spaceships, steampunk devices, aliens and the like, show us the love here.
- Standalone. A romance novel that is complete unto itself, with no prequel, sequel, companion or spinoff. One love story, one HEA, done and done. Sometimes, one story is all a reader needs.
- Series. For those who have a hard time deciding, we won’t make you. We’re not talking a book that is part of a series here; you get to bring the whole thing. Every last book. Is your favorite series thirty novels long? Great. Pack them all. If the series spins off into subseries, bring those, too. They all fit under one umbrella.
- Anthology/Novella. Ah, the novella, the amuse bouche of the romance reading world. Usually, they travel in packs, called anthologies, but, thanks to the e-book revolution, they can also strike out on their own. Choose your very favorite novella all by itself, or let it bring the other entries in the anthology for company, most convenient when the stories are intertwined. May or may not have a holiday theme.
- Wild Card. Anything not listed above. YA romance? Sure. Traditional Regency? Why not? Manga? By all means. Gothic? We’re not afraid of the dark. Inspirational? Of course. Erotic romance? Absolutely. M/M or F/F? Bring it. Fiction from other genres, such as mystery, SF/F or mainstream/literary, with romantic elements, with or without HEA? Put it right here. Something else we haven’t listed? You know what to do with that by now, we are quite sure. If you’d like a second example of anything from one of the previous categories, go for it, but, again, only one.
Remember, only one book from each category. Well, except for #8, which could theoretically bring you quite a hefty haul, depending on how long the series is, and, before you ask, yes, copies of new installments, should they arrive during your year on the island, will be delivered with all due haste as soon as we receive them.
What is the point of this exercise? Well, for one thing, favorite books are always a great topic for discussion. For a second thing, we’re nosy. For a third thing, this is our not terribly sneaky way of sussing out book recommendations. Bookaholics will do anything for a book fix. Anything.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Would you accept this year-long island vacation, if your only reading materials were the strictly curated library above? If so, what would you pick. Feel free to list titles and authors, and tell us a bit about why those books were selected. Choose for as many, or as few, categories as you please. If you’d prefer to suggest other criteria, or you think this whole idea is stupid and were looking for a proper discussion post, and why do we suddenly sound oddly British-ish this week, we want to hear from you, too. Pull up a chair in the comments section and tell us all about it. There’s room at this table for everybody. (And their books.)