Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Top 100 Grumblings

Ever since the results of AAR’s top 100 romances poll went up there has been a lot of discussions going on. There were some shocks, smiles and more WTFs??
On my end I did have some shocks as we all know my die hard love for The Bronze Horseman wasn’t even rated. But to be honest I knew it was going to come down to 3 books for the number one slot. I really had thought The Bronze Horseman has a very good chance of being number one of at least in the top 10. I am not an emotional person when it comes to movies or books but a book like The Horseman gave me such an emotional mind bender, that I actually had the shakes and was crying like a baby as I read. (The only other book to do this is The Stand by Stephen King where I really thought we were all going to die of some horrible virus and I would be stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel) So a novel of this magnitude should be number one on everyone’s list right?

Wrong. The two books I knew would be number one would either be Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase or Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. I really wasn’t surprised in the least. It makes sense seeing as these two books are always discussed and loved by anyone who reads them. It comes down to two amazing heroes and their love for their heroine, including the talents of two amazing authors. (And don’t forget the really hot sex scenes!) And it also proves that Chase and Kleypas are masters at this genre because of how many of their books are in the top 100.
There is no real scientific reason and we can analyze this list till we are blue in the face, but all the normal suspects are there and the majority of the books listed are more often than not on reader’s list. About 90% of mine have been listed. Maybe the numbers are off but they are there.
What I find fascinating is that more than half listed were released during the past 5 years and the majority are all written in the 1990’s. For me the 90’s had the best romance had to offer, and it shows.
But what happened to some of our long time favorite authors such as Anne Stuart (Hello, no To Love and Dark Lord or A Rose at Midnight???) No Beatrice Small or Kathleen Woodiwiss, who is considered one of the all time greatest romance authors?
Where are the majority of some major romance classics? Jane Eyre is there and Pride and Prejudice. But no Wuthering Heights or Gone with the Wind or even Little Women?
Surprisingly there is a wide variety of novels from historical, paranormals, romantic comedy to choose from and overall I am very happy by the list.
But I have some dark secrets as a loyal romance reader. Some of these books and authors I have never read. Georgette Heyer? Nope never read her. Nora Roberts? Not a big fan but I am a die hard fan of JD Robb (GO Naked in Death!) The Outlander series by Gabaldon was thrilling to read but not on my list either. I also am not a big fan of Mary Balogh fan either.
But the biggest sin of all, and yes burn me at the stake, is that I have never read Pride and Prejudice. I have watched every screen adaptation and even saw a play a few years ago on the book, but since I have never sat down an actually read this classic, I didn’t put it down on my list.

So what does this list mean? Honestly it was done for fun. “Fun” being the key word. I am so thrilled that a poll like this was done for my favorite genre I love to read. Can you honestly say that not one of these books doesn’t deserve to be there? I can’t. Each one is special to the one person for their own reason.
So on that not I will take The Bronze Horseman (IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE TOP 10!!) and move it to the top of my list because it deserves to be there, but hey it’s just my opinion! :)



sula said...

Lists like this will always ruffle a few feathers I guess. I think sometimes that there is a sense of pride in NOT having your favorites make the list because then you can say that you're a maverick and have unique taste. lol. Me, I'm completely boring and have very predictable tastes. 37 of the titles I listed were on the top 100 and most of the ones on the list that I didn't have on my list were contemporaries and romantic suspense which I don't read anyways.

Actually, the part of this exercise that I liked the most (besides going through the process of making my own selections) has been reading other people's lists and getting some ideas for books I've not yet read. Whether or not they make the final 100 is a moot point, imo.

emdee said...

In the different strokes department, I don't like Anne Stuart. I've tried but the violence just does not appeal to me. Perhaps I'm not alone. And I'm relatively new to romance after a 20 year hiatus, so I never heard of The Bronze Horseman.

lisabea said...

Sula is right (as usual) because I AM a maverick with unique taste. I can't believe that Meljean didn't represent. My list was pure GOLD, I tell you. And then I read Sarah McCarty's Caine's Reckoning and that now will push out a bunch of the interlopers and will prolly be in my top 10. See, it's a fluid thing, those lists.

The most fun was all of us checking on each other's top 100, or 75 or 50, and discussing our favs. Not so fun preparing that fn list though. I thought I was going to combust with stress.

And, Hey, awesome of you to admit the P&P thing.I felt that way about Nora Roberts and LKH. Never read 'em.

sula said...

yay, I'm right!! What am I right about? lol. lisabea, it goes without saying that you are THE original maverick and trendsetter. ;-)

I too have not read P&P. *gulp* But I have seen the movie. lol. Many of them in fact.

emdee, I don't really get Stuart either. Only one of hers made my list and it's an old one that may even be out of print. Welcome back to romance, btw. *g*

Kristie (J) said...

And I've not read any Jane Austen either.
I took this as fun - although what made it funner (I know - not a word) was the top two books. And after doing the math (in my head even) at first thought I had 26 books that made the list, that also means I have 76 that didn't *g*.
But - I still thought it was loads of fun making out my list. And I've read a few that were on it and saw again why they made my list.
So - no feathers ruffled here. Just oodles of fun doing mine and reading others - And seeing DoY come in second :)

Anonymous said...

I had no quibbles with just about every book on that list, even if I wouldn't necessarily have put them on my list. Okay, and now it's time for me to admit that I didn't do a list (ducking head). I started thinking about it and got way overwhelmed. But I have loved these discussions and reading about everyone else's lists, so it's all good.
Jane A.

Marg said...

It's so nice to be able to be loud and proud and say.... I haven't read P&P either! And I totally agree about TBH!

katiebabs said...

After I sent the top 100 list to one of my guy friends, he now wants to read Lord of Scoundrels! :)
Plus he wanted to know how many I read on the list. I have read 80 total! I rock :)

CindyS said...

Katie - your sin is mine and on top of that I haven't read any of the classics that made the list. Haven't read Outlander, or Heyer or well, lots.

I'll be honest and say I don't get the love for Miss Wonderful - I was so bored reading that book but I love, love, love the rest. So that one surprised me.

I was also surprised that The Bronze Horseman didn't make the list but I will admit I never read it. Sounds way too upsetting - I don't need any reasons to be sobbing ;) I also have not read The Time Traveler's Wife and was somewhat surprised it wasn't voted for very often at all.

I actually enjoy my rebel status in the romance world ;) I'm not sure how I can say that when half the picks I made ended up on the list but the others - yeah, I knew they wouldn't make it anywhere near the list.


Kristie (J) said...

And you can see that I did indeed do the math in my head and the head was not up to snuff. That would be 74 of the top 100 I didn't have on my list.