Paperback Swap’s Richard Pickering Enjoyed, Recommends Romance

Paperback Swap newsletter subscribers received a very spiffy missive in their inboxes today: Richard Pickering, Master at Arms of Paperback Swap, went the way of SBiT Patrick, and has read – and enjoyed – romance.

Another one succumbs to the sultry, turgid wonderment that is our favorite genre!

Seems Richard noticed his significant other sniffling over a book, and when he asked what was so great about the story, she said, “You wouldn’t understand.”

Oh, I hear you there.

He took the challenge. He read some of her romances, and said:

I actually enjoyed them!  Yes, I am man enough to admit it.  They were funny, they were sad…I got caught up in the stories and the characters.  Definitely different.  Engaging to a point.  And I think I may have learned a thing or two about why this genre is so popular.

Way to go Richard! His newsletter goes on to recommend a selection of “Romance for Everyone,” though I have to have a bit of a pout at some of the titles, which include Deveraux’s The Summerhouse and Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. Yo Richard: Sparks is, in my estimation, the white Zinfandel of romance.

But big ups to you for taking the challenge.

Bitchery readers – any men you can bring to the challenge of romance reading this year? I think SBiT Patrick and Richard need some company.



The Link-O-Lator

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  1. 1
    Kass says:

    Hey! White Zinfandel is good! And you dare compare it to tripe like The Notebook?! :D

  2. 2
    Carin says:

    My husband read the Twilight series – just to see what all the fuss was about when my friends and I were obsessing.  (His take. “Eh.  Are girls really like that?”)

    And there’s a memorable long car trip where we took turns reading a funny Julie Kenner romance – one of the Aphrodite books – to each other.  Best. Car. Trip. Ever.

    He’s not hooked, but I keep trying.

  3. 3

    Many years ago I gave my husband Hot Shots by Susan Elizabeth Phillips when I was trying to explain to him the difference between IBM and Apple.  Her way of doing it was far more entertaining.

    Oh, and he reads Darlene Marshall’s books after they’re published (by my request).  Then he usually has a “deer in the headlights” look for a few days as he realizes what I spend all day thinking about.[g]

  4. 4
    Barb Ferrer says:

    One of the best memories ever:

    After Alyssa Day (AKA,  my dear friend Alesia) had published her first Atlantis book, my husband said he wanted to borrow it after I was done reading because he likes paranormals and mythology and he knew the basic premise already.  I told him he didn’t need to wait, since I had the signed copy she’d given me, plus the copy I’d bought at B&N;on release day.

    So there we were, side by side in bed, reading Atlantis Rising and since we read at more or less the same pace, we’d be laughing within seconds of each other.

    Still makes me laugh to remember it.

    And does it count if he reads my manuscripts?

  5. 5

    I thought of you guys and how you’d react when I read the newsletter this morning. I’m glad you’re going to have better titles to suggest. The Notebook? How about some Carrie Lofty instead???

  6. 6
    Lori says:

    Kass beat me to it.  White Zinfandel has a certain appeal.  I mean come on, pink wine.  Sparks’ novels are nowhere near that fun.  More like Boone’s Farm or something.  (Do they even still make Boone’s Farm?)

  7. 7
    Victoria Dahl says:

    Hey, my hubby reads all my books! AND tells me how amazing I am! AND recommends me to his friends! AND when we were dating he read my favorite Julie Garwood book. Okay, now I’m just bragging.

  8. 8
    Karen says:

    When I first started Twilight, I was obsessed; so all I could do when my husband and I were out was tell him about the story and why I wanted to get back home to keep reading.

    We carpool and I got him interested enough to ask me to read aloud to him on the way to work in the mornings.  He ended up reading the whole series himself and we went to the movie opening weekend together.  I never got past Twilight.

  9. 9
    inez kelley says:

    I already trapped my husband. If I read one I think he will enjoy, I pass it along.

  10. 10
    krsylu says:

    My husband has read Jennifer Crusie, Susan Anderson, and several others…usually at my request, but occasionally on his own!

  11. 11
    Carin says:

    My grandma AND my grandpa are both avid readers of historical romance, especially western stuff for grandpa.  Maybe this reading/romance addition I have is genetic????

  12. 12
    Gail Dayton says:

    It was my Son—the large, football coach wannabe (he’s back in college finally) 28-year-old—who MADE ME read Twilight. He kept nagging me till I did. He likes my books too. He tends to stick to the urban fantasy/fantasy romances, but I bet I could get him to read Susan Eliz. Phillips’s football romances too. Need to get him some of that.

    My fella doesn’t read books. Except for Tom Clancy. And the Da Vinci Code guy. He hasn’t read an actual book in years. Lots of magazines. No books. Not even mine. Which, actually, is just fine with me.

  13. 13
    Sarabeth says:

    I bought The Spymaster’s Lady a few weeks ago since so many people were gaga about it. I enjoyed the writing, but I never got into the characters and set it down after chapter 3. My husband ended up picking it up and devoured it in two days (the figurative devoured). He bought another Joanna Bourne novel. He’s read some of my novels before, like Nora Roberts and Karen Marie Moning. This was the first time that he bought a romance novel that wasn’t meant for me.

  14. 14
    Holly says:

    I LOVE Paperback Swap – in fact, I found it via the Smart Bitches.  And I love white zin (my sis in law calls it the pink shit and always keeps a bottle in the fridge just for me), so yeah – I think Boone’s Farm is a better comparison. 

    I try to imagine my husband reading a romance, and it cracks me up.  I try to imagine him reading the romance I’m writing, and I just can’t picture it.  He wants to read it, but I just can’t do it.  Strangers, friends, little old ladies, no problem.  Not the hub.

  15. 15
    Renee says:

    I’ve actually blogged about our conversations re: my husband’s thoughts on listening to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander on audiobook, and he’s planning on listening to book 2 in the series. He’s also enjoyed Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, though I have to credit the True Blood TV series to finally convince him to try it.

    It was great to get his perspective on them.

  16. 16
    Cori says:

    My husband and I have a book-swapping arrangement, if I read his graphic novels, he’ll read my romances. So far I’ve enjoyed the Blue Beetle trade paperbacks and been meh about Watchmen, and he has enjoyed Nora Roberts’ Tribute and been equivocal about Northern Lights. It’s a pretty good trade-off.

  17. 17
    nekobawt says:

    Actually, it was my dad who got me into romance novels, many years ago. It was from his respectably sized selection of paperbacks that helped introduce me to the genre. Admittedly, “Clan of the Cave Bear” and “The Valley of Horses” may not have been the wisest choices on my part as far as first reads go, though it did lead to an amusing conversation between us when I asked him to clarify Auel’s depiction of excited boy bits. I can almost remember his dear-in-the-headlights expression.

    My spam word is “act65.” Dad’s a little bit older than that, but he certainly doesn’t act it. *grin*

  18. 18
    Anna says:

    My hubby doesn’t read anything longer than a magazine article – much.  It took him two years to get through Wild at Heart.  He just doesn’t have the attention span to sit and read long books.  He loves to listen to me read YA books to my stepson, and puts up with me giving him a synopsis of what I’m currently reading, but he doesn’t read on his own. 

    Maybe I should try reading aloud a romance novel to him. :)

  19. 19
    Strategerie says:

    My husband reads romance! He initially started when I finished my first single title—after all, he could give advice on the plot, couldn’t he? Very helpful. He was soon ransacking my bookshelves and asking for recommendations!

    He loves Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie (especially “Anyone but You”), Vicki Lewis Thompson, Deirdre Martin, and I’m currently trying to coax him into reading “Lord of Scoundrels”.

    Here’s a true story: He was in O’Hare a couple of years back on a layover during a business trip, and went to the bookstore to find something to read. There were a few women in front of the romance section in the airport bookstore; he pulled a copy of “Match Me if You Can” off the shelf and said, “I’ve read this, and it’s pretty good.” He had a cluster of women around him within moments. Not only a guy who reads romance, but a six-foot-tall, ex-high school football playing blond with a dimple in his chin who reads romance?

    I suppose I’m lucky he finally made it home…

  20. 20
    ev says:

    Match Me if You Can has to be one of my all time faves.

    Mine reads all the time now that he has his ereader- he had to quit because holding books was too painful for him. I think he is currently on his umpteenth read of a WEB Griffin novel- one of about 3 authors we share.

    I wish I could get him to read one of my books, but at his age, it might give him a heart attack!!

  21. 21

    The Romance Writer’s Report had an article a few years ago from a guy about his favorite romances.  I recall that Mary Jo Putney’s Silk trilogy was a big favorite.  (Heck, I love Silk and Shadows too!)

    I like to sneak romance into big, tough men’s lives via Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell’s books.  When they confess they’re hunting down the entire backlists, I know they’re hooked.  So far it’s worked for some very tough cops and newspaper reporters.  :-)

    hours77…  Ah, the amount of time I can spend trolling for book in the guise of research on this topic!

  22. 22
    Moth says:

    My man tried to read some Heyer earlier in the year (These Old Shades) but he took so long to finish it that I just took my copy back before it was destroyed. (He is very hard on books).

    I did get him to try some “girly” Bujold, ie Paladin of Souls. Which he loved! Next up: Shards of Honor

    He also tried the Modern Faerie Tale series (YA with a heavy romance) by Holly Black on my rec a few years ago and liked it. I think it’s all about picking the RIGHT books to rec.

  23. 23
    Chani says:

    It’s funny that this topic has come up now, because just last week I gave my husband ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ to read. I thought it would be a good introduction as it has both guy and girl perspectives and the movie is coming out. And guess what? He liked it! Although he felt he had to hide the cover while he was reading it in his lunch hour (a bit like me and the old skool clinch covers).

    He also said that he would be happy to try another one. He’s going to give me a sci-fi novel to try as they are his trashy passion and I’ve never read one before.

  24. 24
    Nancy says:

    Aw, I love me some Nicholas Sparks! I think it’s great that we have men in the romance genre either writing it or reading it. I say the more the merrier! It chips away at the stigma of it to give it a broader scope.

    I think Spark’s books are incredibly moving and romantic, sort of like a male Catherine Anderson who I also adore muchly!

  25. 25
    Barb Ferrer says:

    Aw, I love me some Nicholas Sparks! I think it’s great that we have men in the romance genre either writing it or reading it. I say the more the merrier! It chips away at the stigma of it to give it a broader scope.

    Yeah, except he doesn’t write romance.  Not according to him, not according to where he’s shelved.  He writes “love stories” which would be fine if it didn’t imply that it/he is somehow better and more meaningful than romance.  Yet, if you look at what he writes, it’s not that different from what a lot of female romance authors write, however, because he’s a man, it’s sensitive and special and deserves to be singled out.

    Sorry—not to harsh your buzz and I’m glad you enjoy him, but I get tired of hearing him repeat over and over and over how he doesn’t write romance and making it sound like it’s something he should be scraping off the bottom of his shoe.

  26. 26
    Nancy says:

    Really? I had no idea he had that attitude about it. I’d never heard him mention anything about that. Hmm. Maybe not so much with the sensitive then? (laughs)

    That sucks though. He’s certainly shelved in the romance section at my library at my bookstores. ‘Love stories’ Pft. What does he think romances are if not ‘love stories’? Oh well. I suppose I can still enjoy his books even if he’s a tool, I know I do with a lot of female writers. (snickers)

  27. 27

    My DH is a true romantic. His favorite film is “Cousins.” He is my first reader and gives me terrific advice and insight into the male POV.

  28. 28
    shadowedge says:

    I read at a rapid rate, while my boyfirend reads veeeeerrrry slowly. So When i discovered Jennifer Crusie, abd was completely obsessed for months, he told me to pick my favorite one, or the one he would like the best, and he would read it.

    He loved “Bet Me”. And I gave his brother “Agnes and the Hitman” for the holidays this year.

  29. 29
    CarolP says:

    My significant other stayed away from reading until his 40s due to his A.D.D. … and until I introduced him to  Now, I’m introducing him to many series.  Including a fun paranormal romance series in MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy books which he enjoys thoroughly… he loves the humor!!

  30. 30
    tosca says:

    I work in a public library and there’s a gentleman who would come in weekly to take out a stack of Harlequin Mills & Boon novels.  I’d always smile when checking in his requests.  Never asked if they were for him or his wife – thought it’d be too impolite.  Finally got up the balls to ask and they were all for him.  He then asked if I could recommend another author who didn’t write Harlequin romance novels and a beautiful relationship began right there.  When I saw him a month or so ago he was reading Julie Garwood, Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts.  Most days I really love my job =)

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