By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
“What is your
price for a kiss?”
So reads the
teaser blurb for one of the hundreds of novels, each pulsing with passion, up
for grabs next week at a new and used book sale by the Friends of the Dade
County Library. Library staff and volunteers attended Library Day, July 17, of
the Romance Writers of America’s weeklong national convention in Atlanta, and
they came home with over 3000 donated books hot off the press and, in varying
degrees depending upon sub-genre, just hot.
Linda Wilson of
the Friends group was one of the Library Day attendees, and she spent a few
minutes last week going with the Sentinel through shelves of books with such
titles as Surrender to the Earl and The Highlander’s Desire. Ms. Wilson said
she personally received 34 free romances, most of which will eventually also
end up on the library’s shelves. “There were some people from the other
libraries who went, too, but Marshana made the haul,” she said.
She referred to
library manager Marshana Sharp, who had providentially arrived at the Atlanta
convention in a pickup truck. “She and Debra went, Debra Bradford,” said Ms.
Wilson. “They spent the night and the next day loaded Marshana’s truck
completely full. We got hundreds and hundreds of free books.”
The books are
still being processed and catalogued and their exact number remains fuzzy.
Library employee April Tinker referred to them by weight – “a ton” – or volume
– “a pallet and a half” – and a volunteer, Sam Jones Wells, by crate: “Each
library I took a total of 20 boxes,” she said.
Thus shall the
Sentinel suffice here to quantify the donation as simply: “A hunka hunka
burnin’ love” or “a truckload of kisses.”
In any case,
this passel of passion has been shared out among the four libraries in the
Cherokee Regional Library, of which Dade’s is a branch. But even so, Dade wound
up with multiple copies of the same titles, and, as regular Sentinel readers
may already have gleaned, the library is hurting for funds these days: Thus the
sale. It will continue from Aug. 13 through 23 during the library’s open days,
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
say they are grateful for the donated books: Romance is a library staple, in
demand by a sizeable percentage of patrons. And Ms. Wilson, retired English
teacher though she is, says she’s not one of those literary snobs who turn up
their noses at it. To those who are, she says: “You’re missing out on a lot of
romance is a category that has always covered a lot of ground, from the exalted
narration of the Bronte sisters to the humbler prose of the garden-variety
bodice ripper, and these days it has gotten even more diverse. “They have
historical, small-town romance, paranormal, suspense,” said Ms. Wilson.
Also, from a
cursory glance at the shelves: Western, medical, mystery, literary – one whole
series is offshorts of, and sequels to, Jane Eye – and, get this, gustatory.
One title the Sentinel observed was Vanity Fare: A Novel of Lattes, Literature
Some of the
books take a tone of coy naughtiness, with covers featuring the predictable
hero bursting muscularly out of the predictable white shirt (aphrodisiacally,
white shirts are right up there with black eyepatches), and the heroine wearing
the predicatable low-cut bodice, suitable for ripping. These tend to be called
things like Sins in Scarlet Lace and Wicked As She Wants.
But l’amour is
important to women of all types, ilks and varieties, and no discussion of the
genre would be complete without mentioning the religious romance, marked in the
library’s permanent collection by a cross on the spine and on the cover,
typically, heroines sporting more fabric. There are generic Christian romances
and there are denomination-specific romances, including Amish.
some Mormon ones,” said Ms. Wilson. “I don’t think there were any Muslim
found none of the latter, but somehow cannot leave the subject without
speculation as to romance in polygamous cultures: “He carried her off into the
sunset, and left her with the others”?
But here, by
way of consolation, is a quote from one of the Amish romances, when Henry, the
hero, on page 200 is no longer able to contain his passion, and finally
“Anna, if you
would have me, I would like to court you. When you become Amish.”
Henry, in fact,
might well compete with Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy for sheer daring and dash, and
the Sentinel is happy to report that his ardor is rewarded. Not to spoil the
tension or anything, but: Reader, she marries him!
In any case,
Ms. Wilson and the other Friends of the Dade County Library invite readers to
stop by any open day from Aug. 13-23 and stock up on reading materials suitable
for warming up the long cold nights of winter. She cannot yet say, though, how
much the new romances will cost.
“We need to
think what we’re going to charge,” said Ms. Wilson. “These are new books.
They’re paperbacks but they’re new, so not like a dollar.”
But what, after
all, is the price of a kiss?