Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gaps in my Education

As we travel through life, grow up and get out of school, we realize there are some things we just never studied that perhaps might shock others. I can give you a couple of examples in my own education. I have never read Hemmingway, I didn't read The Great Gatsby until last year, and I first read Huckleberry Finn the summer before I knew I was going to teach it. Now I truly believe I had a great education. I had classses in high school in subjects that many students are never exposed to: an American West history class, an English class on science fiction (which was truly marvelous), a class called Ripping off Shakespeare, and in my Latin class we read Roman poetry, plays, and Winnie the Pooh. As a German major in college, I read a lot of books English majors have never heard of and Goethe's Faust in the original German, but that also meant I missed out on some English language books. I didn't read Frankenstein until a couple of years ago,  never read A Tale of Two Cities, and still haven't read Hemmingway.

As a romance novelist, I believe it's important to understand my genre. So when people rave about a book, I know I should read it just to see what others are raving about. But that doesn't mean I don't have gaps in romance too.  I am currently reading Outlander for the first time. Yup. I'd never read it before. I didn't pick up Lord of Scoundrels (widely regarded as the best romance novel written) until a year ago. I was late to Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Jayne Ann Krentz, but I've since caught up. There are still some big name authors I haven't read, but who shall remain nameless because I really don't want to hurt feelings (though why they should care if I've read them gives me way more importance than I'm warranted).

I really don't understand people (especially writers) who say they never read historical, or romantic suspense, or paranormal, or whatever. Limiting yourself creates gaps in your education (and yes, romance novels are a part of your worldview and therefore educating). So I'm challenging you to broaden your scope. Read something you wouldn't normally read, even if that means reading out of genre. There are some terrific horror novels out there, or mysteries, or even the occasional literary novel. Or pick up a historical if you don't read those, or a YA, or a category.

The bottom line is the story. The type is just the vehicle to tell it.


Books I'm reading now:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie


  1. I've never read Lord of Scoundrels. Hadn't even heard of it, so I just downloaded it to my Kindle. I love my Kindle.

  2. Nice post. I need to read more out of my genre. I've never ready Hemingway either, Gabi.

  3. It's exciting to find new to you books that you'll love. I love telling people about Isaac Asimov's classic books, or finding a book like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I wouldn't have read unless I read outside my genre.