When I was in elementary school, I would borrow romance novels from the shelves and shelves of them at Jessica's house, and read them. Not knowing much of how the real world worked, and being a complete and utter retard in social situations, I would see those novels as a gateway to the love, passion, relationships and acceptance missing from my life.
As a 12 year old, what did I know about any of these things?
If you read enough of these books (where, if you're an adult, that number is 2, if you're 12, that number is more like 12), you begin to see patterns: poor helpless woman with some particular flaw, strong silent man with some hot body, bizarre situation that throws the two of them together, electricity between the two. Usually at this point, the stories diverge into "whoo hoo! let's get it on!" or "no no, I can't" for some random reason, internal or external, to introduce some conflict into the story, because really, the first 80 pages were all setup. The good part is in the last 20 (because, yeah, they really are that short).
Reality really, really, really doesn't work this way in the real world.
Men cannot just read women's minds (and if they could, they'd probably become very confused very quickly, because, no, those jeans do not make your ass look fat, why would you even thing such a stupid thing?). Those "electric sparks" at the beginning of a relationship are hormones raging, and when the effect wears off, you're left with the person who may or may not be good, may or may not be good enough, tall enough, smart enough, rich enough, whatever enough for the relationship to sustain itself.
There are hundreds of books and tonnes of research on the phases of love. Given that first phase is so addictive, it's unsurprising that want to hit the infinite repeat on that part, and want to fall in love over and over and over again, that this, whatever "this" is, isn't enough.
At some point, and I have to admit my realization of these facts was during the time of my parents' divorcing and my mother's remarrying, I gave up on the whole notion of romance. The way it's portrayed in fiction books and movies is just so full of bunk that I called bullshit on the whole thing and became nominally anti-romance.
When assigned to taking care of the romance section at the bookstores I worked in during high school, I balked. Why would I _want_ to get to know the authors of this crap? Give me the science fiction section, please.
When pulled out of the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy the movie or book by any type of romantically odd behaviour, I immediately launch into my ridicule mode, which, to my relief, seems to humour both Kris and Andy. I can think of several of those moments offhand, with one of the most memorable being the end of Castaway when the love of Helen Hunt's character's live returns and she chooses not to go to him. WHAT FUCKING BULLSHIT IS THIS? The LOVE of her LIFE. I'm sorry, but that's bunk. The love of your life, you give him more than a kiss and a goodbye in the rain.
Anyway. I can't stand romance novels.
So, I've been really enjoying the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (thanks, Heather!). No, no, that's an understatement. I've been reading, rereading, listening and relistening to the Dresden Files as close to my only (fiction) books for the last five months. Now, while I recognize there are many other great books out, I haven't had any desire to read them, choosing to start over with Storm Front, having already reread books 8-11. I've bought several copies for other friends, and hooked Dad on the series, too. It's probably a bit obsessive, okay, more than a bit obsessive, but I like the tone of the writing, I like the humour, I like the (nominal) consistency of the world that's been built up. I like the progression of the character, as he struggles, learns, and grows.
Given how much I enjoy the Dresden Files, and the number of copies of each of the Dresden Files I've bought (book, kindle and audio), Amazon recommended a book by Jim Butcher's wife.
I bought the least expensive version of the book (yay Homer!), Burning Alive, realizing that it was a science fiction based romance. Rolling my eyes and figuring, eh, what the hell, I started reading it, hoping that, oh please, oh please, oh please, be just half as good as the Dresden Files, and I can overlook any mushy romance crap. Please?
At this point, if you want to read the book, stop reading now.
Or continue reading, right?