Last week, we talked about how not-reading can be a not-bad thing. Even the most avid readers need a break, get burnt out, or are spoiled for choice with all those great books coming out at exactly the same time. What do we do, though, when we’re ready to get back to reading, but aren’t sure where to find the on-ramp?
In the movie, Music and Lyrics, Hugh Grant plays a crusty fallen star, with one shot at reclaiming the limelight: the natural talent of a thwarted writer, played by Drew Barrymore. First things first, I am well aware that I am mixing my Hugh Grants, as the picture above is from Love Actually. (My husband has a bit he calls “every movie Anna loves,” which involves a British accent that makes Dick Van Dyke sound like Prince Charles, and the line “blah, blah, blah, this horrible war is ruining my love life. Oh look, here comes Hugh Grant; let’s have tea.” Okay, he’s not wrong, but I digress.)
Second, rom-coms are a great way to stick a toe back in the romance waters, when it’s time to reclaim that loving feeling…er, reading. In Music and Lyrics, the two unlikely collaborators are tasked with writing a song called “Way Back Into Love.” That phrase stuck in my head when I first thought about what I wanted to cover for this post, and, as much as not-reading does have its benefits, there comes a time when it’s “enough, enough now” and time to get back on with life as normal, in this case, reading romance.
The way back is different for every reader who walks this path (we’d love to hear about your journeys back to the land of the reading, in the comment section) and, for this reader, this time, it was a trip to the library that will, hopefully, have done the trick. I say “will,” because there is having the books, and having the time to read them, but I want to read them, and that’s half of the battle. Here’s what came home with me, and a little about why:
Small stack, but a likely lot, and each selection sparked my readerly interest in a specific way. Top to bottom, we have the long-awaited sequel to an intensely emotional historical romance that knocked me backwards the first time I read it; a new to me historical romance, with a heroine who spent time in a harem; and a contemporary YA anthology, comprised entirely of first meetings between destined lovers. Feeling the hunger that tingles one’s fingers, the way carrying these home did, is a very good sign that the not-reading days are, thankfully, numbered.
This may, very well, be one of those absence makes the heart grow fonder kind of things, and, if it is, I am totally okay with that. The stack of partially read books I’ve been meaning to get to certainly hopes that it is, because the next float in this parade is usually tearing through any book within arm’s reach, at a ferocious speed, and needing more, more, more.
These selections are excellent re-entries, because they each point me to other books I might like to read, once these are over. The Meredith Duran book is part of another series, as well as tying into my favorite of all of her titles. The Minerva Spencer book is also the first of three, and the anthology is packed full of both authors whose work I already love (and, in several cases, had been starving for a taste, as I’d already gone through their current titles) and some new to me authors, with backlists that will be all new to me. Even if these books don’t do the trick now (though, really, how likely is that?) I’ve picked up the scent, and remembered exactly what it is that keeps me coming back to romance reading, time and again, no matter how many days or weeks the not-reading time might be.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. What’s your go-to way back into love (stories?) Is there a book, author, setting, or trope, that does it for you, every single time? Have a favorite Hugh Grant movie? (I know, not romance novel related, but I’m nosy that way) Want to blabber about something I didn’t cover? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.