I’m still pursuing my quest to find decent contemporary romance to read. So far the “body” count is up to 7. I did make the realization that many of the paperbacks I’ve pulled to read from my collection were picked up at the used bookstore who knows how long ago and many are rather dated, published back in the days before easy internet research and fact checking, when authors had a bit more latitude about getting things right. But either way, as I tossed this morning’s victim on my pile of rejects, I got to wondering about something.
See, this book was published in 1990. That was over 20 years ago. I was particularly struck by the fact that there were no cell phones. Not that I am particularly attached to cell phones as being part of a story, but I was VERY struck by how dated the whole thing felt (heroine breaks down on side of road, is rescued by rancher on horse–which could happen today, I suppose, in an area with no cell service, but it was one of those small details where I expected her to be holding her phone up looking for a signal or something).
Contemporary romance, according to wikipedia,
is a subgenre of romance novels, generally with the setting after World War II. The largest of the romance novel subgenres [I wonder if this is still true?], contemporary romance novels are set in the time when they were written, and usually reflect the mores of their time…
Most contemporary romance novels contain elements that date the books, and the majority of them eventually become irrelevant to more modern readers and go out of print.
Which, frankly, makes me want them to call it something other than contemporary romance. Because I’m out there looking for smart, modern heroines and getting stuck with stuff I can’t relate to. I know, I know. I should apparently check the publication date before checking out or picking up. Still, it felt both sad (that all these books are no longer relevant to most people) and weird because, for most modern readers, a world without cell phones is as alien as the old West or Regency England (and if it isn’t, it will be in another decade). And is seems like these books should get somehow re-classified once their publication/setting date is more than a decade or two old to make it easier for people to find what they want. To what, I have no idea. Not like bookstores will suddenly start shelving stuff by decade. And probably these aren’t actually available in bookstores other than Amazon. So it’s irrelevant I guess.
I’ve got a pile of more recent offerings from the library on my hold list, but there’s a fair waiting list (indicating their continued popularity as a genre, I’d say), so I guess I’m just SOL on what I want to read for a while.