Romantic books have always held a special place in bookstores and in the hearts of readers: it is one of the best-selling genres, with hordes of fans all over the world. Plots centered around romance are usually covered, although some titles have a more sensual approach to the subject.
However, love novels are not an exclusively female prerogative. In fact, recently, there has been a flourishing of stories in which the protagonists are both female and male homosexual couples. Furthermore, sentiment, while being one of the most important issues, is certainly not the only element dealt with. Themes such as history, science fiction and many other sub-genres often intertwine on the common thread of romanticism and increasingly attract the “stronger sex”.
The Most Important Things in a Nutshell
The romantic genre is currently one of the best sellers and is also a purely female genre: 90% of authors and readers are in fact women. However, several titles aimed at male and LGBT audiences have recently been released.
Love stories are characterized by a very specific style and structure, different from those of erotic books. Some works make the most of these qualities and can be considered true masterpieces, despite the skepticism of some critics. In fact, several books have been adapted to be brought to the big screen, giving life to sagas with enormous commercial success, just think of the vampires of “Twilight”.
In case you’re not a regular reader of romance books but would like to read some, you should probably ask yourself a few questions before you begin: Are you in the right frame of mind? Are your favorite genres compatible with the romantic one? Does it bother you to be seen in public with a romance novel?
Everything You Need to Know About Romantic Books
Romantic books do not all tell similar stories, like any other fiction, they are divided into many sub-genres. In some books even, the central love story is more of a pretext to tell other intriguing situations. Below we will try to clarify some of the doubts you may have about romance novels.
What Are the Characteristics of Romantic Books?
Classifying romantic books precisely based on certain characteristics could be a bit complicated: there are so many varieties that often some genres end up mixing. Of course there are some common and recurring elements: the marked preference for the happy ending or the endless series of tests that lovers have to overcome in order to be able to reunite.
However, love novels generally focus a lot on the feelings and personalities of the protagonists, which are described at length and in great detail. And after all, how could it be otherwise for a love story? It can also happen that simple gestures such as a look or a caress develop for pages and pages, risking to bore less sentimental readers.
“If all else disappeared and only he remained I would continue to exist; but, if all the rest remained and he vanished, the Universe would become for me a foreign power of which I would not feel I belong ”.Emily Brontë
Another feature of love stories is the protagonists’ determination to stick together, fighting for their love against everything and everyone. Usually this iron will is accompanied by morality and a sense of duty and is destined to be rewarded, while malice and malice are doomed to defeat.
It is also not uncommon for love novels to have a strong autobiographical charge: the protagonist, his dreams and reflections that occupy most of the pages. Tragedy is obviously another essential element of this type of story, in which the protagonists often die for love or choose to sacrifice themselves for their partner.
What Are the Most Famous Romantic Books Ever?
The romantic genre has been around for as long as writing has existed and choosing among the most famous titles is not easy at all.
How not to mention “Il learned Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak, which earned the author the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958. A monumental work that tells of the intense love story between Yuri and Lara, against the backdrop of the Great War before and then of the Russian revolution. An immortal love story that inspired director David Lean’s iconic film. “Wuthering Heights” (1847) by Emily Brontë for example is one of those titles that never fail in this ranking. Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is also quite popular.
“I crossed the oceans of time to find you.” Is there anything more romantic? These are the words that Count Dracula addresses to the adored Mina Murray in the immortal work of Francis Ford Coppola, inspired by Bram Stoker’s masterpiece “Dracula”. Many consider it a horror novel, but in reality the work of the Irish writer is above all an example of tragic love.
What Are the Differences Between an Erotic and a Romantic Book?
In reality there is no precise academic criterion to differentiate the two genres, which sometimes also tend to merge and overlap. However, there are characteristics that are more pronounced in one or the other, such as the exaltation of romantic or physical love.
Erotic books in general are a sort of intermediate step between romantic books and pornographic ones in the strict sense: in fact they play more to suggest than to show, leaving the reader the pleasure of imagining the scene. The descriptions are not particularly detailed or crude, although the sexual encounters between the protagonists are often the engine of the action.
Are There Any Romantic Books for Men?
Although love novels are traditionally associated with a female audience, this has turned out to be more of a stereotype over time: in fact, there are numerous works that can satisfy the needs of both genres. An open mind and the desire to be seduced by the pages can lead to unexpected discoveries.
An excellent title tip for introducing male audiences to romantic literature is Bernhard Schlink’s “The Reader”, from which the film of the same name with Kate Winslet was based: it is the story of a young man who falls in love with an older woman, where admiration turns into sexual attraction (a subject that could interest many men).