Gauging Other Romance Readers
This week I found out that my cube-mate at work reads romance. The conversation began when we started talking about the 50 Shades of Grey trailer that premiered during last week’s Scandal. I asked if she’d read the book, to which she said she’d read the first and found it badly written and “kinda porny”. This perked my ears up, “is she a romance reader”? So of course, I asked, what kinds of books do you read? She reads historical romances and chick lit. By then I was practically bouncing in my seat. Which romances/authors do you love? What are your favorites? The conversation resulted in me sending her a list of about 15 romances I thought she might like based off of our conversation.
It got me think about how I specifically “gauge” other romance readers. “What’s your favorite paranormal series?”; “When you read historicals, what setting do you like best?”; “Have you read LyVyrle Spencer/Linda Howard/Nora Roberts? Do you love her or hate her?”
As a voracious reader and active social networker, I’m constantly trolling for books I haven’t read. And I use what other readers have loved and highly recommend as a measuring stick. For instance, I loved Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught (I’ll pause to wait while those who loathe the book roll their eyes), and other reader’s reactions to Whitney tells me something about their reading tastes; how they might align with mine; and what books I can suggest for them to try. There are certain books or authors that I’ll throw out there as starting points to gauge another romance reader’s tastes against mine. Not that there is any wrong answer, I think we can all agree that reading romance is fully subjective, but if a reader adores the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Betsy, Queen of the Vampires series, I know our reading tastes are unlikely to align.
The awesome part of romance reading is that there is something out there for everyone. But for me, I have a specific list of books that I use as a reference point to start a conversation about romances. Sometimes it’s not about the specific book, it’s about the author. My next question to a reader who says they love Julie Garwood is “which one?” The one that they name tells me something about them. Likewise, Judith McNaught. There’s almost a shorthand to it for me.
So this got me to thinking, how do you figure out if you and another reader have similar or dissimilar reading tastes? Which are those “measuring stick” books and authors that you use to align your reading tastes with another reader’s?