Friday, January 23, 2009

Love Comes to the Library

Is that the sweet smell of roses wafting down from the 3rd floor? And who's that fat kid with the arrow? Harbingers of love, my friends. The Des Plaines Public Library is pleased to announce the creation of a separate romance section.

Not only are romance novels extraordinarily popular at our library, their sales account for the largest percentage of all categories of fiction. That's right - bigger than mystery, bigger than science fiction. In fact, romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in sales in 2007.*

Perhaps the reason for their popularity is because the world of the romance novel has grown so wide, it now encompasses mystery and science fiction as well as another genres. In the old days, there were only sweet love stories that Grandma read and "bodice-rippers" that everyone else read but wouldn't admit to. (Actually, I think my Grandma not only read the bodice rippers, I suspect she was secretly writing them.) Today, consider the following subgenres of romance: contemporary, chick lit, historical, paranormal, suspense, inspirational, erotica (now called "romantica"), women's fiction and young adult romance. So you can read a tender, inspirational love story set in the 1800s or you can read a thriller about two vampires who fall in love on Mars. As long as the central plot line is about falling in love and the ending is emotionally-satisfying and optimistic, you are reading romance.

I'll make my own vows to you. I promise to select titles that represent all types of different taste as is consistent with our collection policy and I vow to review one romance title a month in our "Staff Picks". (I've already promised to read Brothers Karamozov in a prior post. Doestoyevsky and romance? It's going to be an very interesting year.)

So get your romance on. We're going to have many events planned for Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14 - the official launch date. Contests with prizes! Food! Movies! Come up to the floor d'amore and find some passion.

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