March 1, 2016
In a recent webcast I moderated with fellow Romance Writers of America Librarians of the Year Wendy Crutcher and Jennifer Lohmann about romance-specific book clubs, we got a lot of questions about choosing the right romantic read for a particular audience. I’d like to share a few pointers on how to use NoveList to show your readers a comfortable level of love.
We also compiled a list of suggested titles for reading romance novels as a group exercise. If you’re new to the genre, buddy up with some of our recommendations. Romance is a huge genre with many, many subgenres and it’s easy to get lost. Please look up the individual titles in NoveList and NoveList Plus for more information. For those who have exhausted that list and want to find more, read on.
The search (GN Romances OR GN Romantic suspense) NOT GN Comics will return all of our genre romance and romantic suspense titles. There are thousands of titles here! But we also have more specific genre headings that you can use to search and browse more efficiently:
If you’re looking for a specific reading level, you can narrow to adult or teen on the left-hand side of the screen once you’ve done the search. Remember, our romance headings are for adult and teen fiction titles only, so if you’re searching in K8 or K8 Plus, you’ll automatically see only teen titles.
If you would like to do an additional level of curation, you can also narrow down the search to only titles that have reviews or have won awards. If that is the case, expand the Additional Limiters link under Refine Results and select the check boxes for Review Available and/or Award Winner on the left hand side of the screen.
During the webinar, we were asked about taking into account the level of sensuality in a book. NoveList has four levels of sensuality: Chaste, Mildly sensuous, Steamy, and Explicit. We apply these appeal terms across all genres, but use it primarily to indicate to librarians or readers that when a romantic relationship is an important part of the plot (or the entire point of the book!), how much sexual activity is being portrayed. This will matter to some readers a lot and to other readers not at all. Using these appeal terms can help you find a range of titles that suit your audience (or yourself).
(GN Romances OR GN Romantic suspense) AND TC Chaste
For romances where there is no sexual activity taking place. Hands might be held.
(GN Romances OR GN Romantic suspense) AND TC Mildly sensuous
For romances where sex takes place, but it’s behind closed doors. The kissing is all upfront though.
(GN Romances OR GN Romantic suspense) AND TC Steamy
For romances where there is a significant amount of “on-screen” sex between characters.
(GN Romances OR GN Romantic suspense) AND TC Explicit
For romances where sex between the characters is a major focal point of the story and is both frequent and graphically described.
I fell head over heels in love with romance two decades ago. But I understand some people aren’t ready for the happily-ever-after. There are still wonderfully romantic books about relationships, but they tend to have not-so-happy endings. At NoveList, we call them Love stories. Grab your tissues and try the following search:
GN Love stories
There are also many books with a strong romantic elements where the focus of the story isn’t solely on the relationship. These books can be found in many other genres and will have the appeal term “Romantic.”
These are just some searches to get you started. Characters and themes are also important considerations when selecting a romance title for discussion, but that’s another post for another time.
Lisa Schimmer is the Collection Development Coordinator at NoveList, and a 2015 Romance Writers of America Librarian of the Year.