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LynLynSays Needs Book Recommendations!

Hi Readers,

I am in need of assistance especially from fellow book lovers out there. One of my assignments as a teaching assistant is to create a dream syllabus for a class I would want to teach at the college level. Being a shoujo and Asian drama fan, I decided to create a syllabus involving the romance genre.

I already have a couple of texts in mind, but I would like some input from you all. What romance literature would you recommend for a class? Or if you were in a class that involves romance literature, what would you want to read?

Things To Keep In Mind For Recommendations: 

  • Books should have romance as a major genre/theme.
  • You can recommend any book from any time period or foreign culture (as long as there’s an English translation).
  • I an open to books that have interracial relationships and LGBT & Queer relationships.
  • I am also open to other mediums (manga, movies, and etc.) just as long as in the comment section you can explain why it has some academic value to it.

Thank you very much! I look forward to reading your suggestions!

Best,

Lyn

 

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34 comments

  1. My two favorite romance books are The Time Traveler’s Wife and Water For Elephants. They are in a bit “adult” in some scenes so I don’t know if that is going to work but I thought I would still suggest them 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I love them both! You could even go a bit older and do The Great Gatsby. That’s another one I hold to a higher regard 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm… Romance novels, romance novels, honestly the only thing I can think of is Vampire Academy, but I don’t know what academic value it could provide… There’s a bit about learning to adapt to your best skills and deal with difficult situations and grief/loss, I suppose?

    Omelas is a beautiful story, with lot of academic value but not really romance or novel. I still think everyone should give the story a try though…

    Sorry, my recommendations aren’t really recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Romance novels hmm well if I was thinking classics, I’d suggest Jane Eyre or Lady Chatterly’s Lover. I love both of them since they question the boundaries of love placed on people during the time in which they were written.
    However, Lady Chatterly is a hard read because of how its written but once you get past that, it’s a really good novel!
    I hope you end up with a good list to choose from! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jane Eyre has been brought up a couple times. Personally, it isn’t a favorite British/victorian novel of mine. I read Lady Chatterly’s Lover, but what makes it a “hard read” for you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, not everyone likes that book. I hated it at first but it slowly grew on me.
        In all honesty I’m just not a huge fan of Lawrence’s writing style. I almost gave up a couple of times because I couldn’t get into it as much as I would’ve liked to. I’m glad I finished the book though because I really liked the story it told.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gotcha. If the writer’s style may be difficult for readers, I may have to pass on that for my dream syllabus but thanks for the book recommendation.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In some ways I would say Twilight for how obsession can be dangerous in a relationship. It’s not the best written but I actually think I could showcase the unhealthiness of the relationship.

    On more “traditional” romance, A Walk To Remember and The Notebook are amazing films that come from books (both Nicholas Sparks). I haven’t read them but they might be good books too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people gave me those suggestions. I feel like if used Twilight, students wouldn’t want to take my class XD

      Like

      1. Hahaha I can see that!

        I can also suggest Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It follows four sisters from their teenage years to having children of their own. I love that book as it has a fairly strong feminist tone from what I recall.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just thought of another one!

        Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. It’s a young adult novel (well series but the first stands alone very well) that’s set in an alternate 21st-century where segregation is still in place and Africans had enslaved Europeans.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. How are you planning for students to spend their time with these texts? Are you looking for readings appropriate to their age level, or would you also use books from different age levels with a focus more on the crafting of romance as a theme across genres and mediums? If the later, I could recommend several young adult novels with the purpose of examining how this theme is crafted in YA lit, or a handful of manga to take a look at the graphic representation of the theme.

    If they are reading with the purpose of generally examining how romance occurs through different genres, I would recommend Will Grayson Will Grayson (yes that is the title and not just me forgetting what I already typed) for a look at a YA novel where romance develops as an ideal that changes shape throughout the novel. The novel does not culminate in a great romance, but shows what can happen if you allow yourself to develop your idea of what romance is rather than trying to make it into something that it isn’t.

    I would also recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This fantasy novel uses romance as hindrance, inspiration, and salvation throughout. It also employs the idea of romance born from the heart that even defies death.

    If they’re not looking at the way romance is developed through a wide scope, I would have to recommend The Night Circus as a fantasy novel with a love-centered theme appropriate to their academic level. This novel weaves romance in as a major driving force behind a story told from multiple points of view and different moments in time.

    As a graphic novel option, I could recommend Saga. This graphic novel focuses on romance as a major driving force behind unprecedented actions and as inspiration for survival. It is a bit graphic, however, and some students might not appreciate it as much as others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the recommendations! I read The Night Circus and wrote about it on my blog. It came across my mind to use it, but I’m not sure if I will.

      The course I’m designing is for college level students. I am in the comparative literature department and I want to design a course that examines the romance narrative in various literary traditions and mediums. It’s a lower division course so it will be a bit more writing/reading intensive, but I also want my students to build an appreciation to the genre as opposed to just brushing it off as simply cheesy, love-dovey stuff.

      Like

      1. Your class sounds like a fun one to plan. Would you have your students read romance stories from genres such as YA novels, or would you only want to focus on college appropriate texts? I remember that for a long time, I felt like YA novels were not worthy of reading for a college level course, but then I took a YA lit class and we delved deep into the different elements that make up YA lit. Doing so offers a lot of potential for comparisons and parallels not only between other YA novels, but also with novels aimed at adults. Granted, with YA lit, you’re more likely to run into cheesy lovey-dovey stuff, but not always.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For my class, I want to incorporate a YA novel, graphic novels, and other mediums as well. I don’t want to stick to canonical/classical stuff. I already have Chinese and Japanese books in mind to show an eastern perspective on love as opposed to just western.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks. This assignment is for my TA workshop course, but there’s a possibility I could actually teach it later on if I apply :3

        Like

  6. Madame Bovary! Hmmmm. I would also recommend many of Haruki Murakami’s works: 1Q84, Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood. I love Kafka on the Shore. Both 1Q84 & Kafka on the Shore can really confuse the reader but I think that they’re perfect for university-level interpretations. Books by Sarah Dessen are also good. They feature personal development and romance. Books by Mary Balogh are also good as they mostly feature “ruined” women as the lead heroines. I don’t want to use “ruined” but others have used this word when describing her works because she likes having widows, poor, handicapped, compromised in scandal type of women. I think her works will do well in university-level analyses.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooooh! Good choice. I actually like Kafka on the Shore more, though. And Sarah Dessen often makes me cry. Mary Balogh is more on historical romance set in the Regency Era, so not too ancient. I like her books because her heroines are imperfect, sometimes uncomfortably so with most of them shunned by society because of their past. So unlike the perfectly feisty and gorgeous heroines of other historical romance novels…which I also like.

        Liked by 1 person

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