Laced with signature witty commentary and peppered with thoughts from bestselling romance authors and avid readers, these pages will reveal what every romance reader already knows: while romances are certainly steamy, they have more to offer than just a sexy hero. In fact, they might have more to say about love than we give them credit for.
Sarah says: I am so proud of this book. I know every author is proud of her books (at least, I hope so) but I am so very, very proud of this one, and I will tell you why. This book is much more than me talking about romance novels. Romance readers and authors shared stories and lessons and reasons why romance is important to them, and each one is amazing. Romances can be a road map of what-to-do and what-not-to-do in real life relationships, and no one knows that better than the readers and writers of the romance genre.
Find a Copy!
Here is every possible ordering location under the sun, including some fabulous romance-friendly independent bookstores. Know of one that should be added? Email me!
Or, use WorldCat to find it at your local library! Note: not all libraries are part of WorldCat, but many are. Have a look where copies are near you, and then you can ask your librarian to ILL a copy if you’d like.
Reviews and Commentary
Linda Holmes of NPR’s Monkey See blog wrote an amazing essay about EIKAL. Linda is a writer I genuinely admire, and this essay revealed things I hadn’t even noticed in my own writing. This paragraph is my favorite: What Sarah ultimately identifies is not a one-way transfer in which books teach women (because it is mostly women) about romance. It’s more of a feedback loop. That’s the trick to the book’s title. If it were entirely, totally accurate, it would be Everything I Know About What I Already Think About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels. While her thesis is not that a romance novel indoctrinates readers into believing in certain kinds of relationships — that would be creepy — there’s a strong argument here that the genre helps readers identify and articulate needs and feelings they already have, as they notice what kinds of books and heroes they gravitate toward.
Kirkus Reviews wrote a favorable review and said, in part, “Drawing on comments from readers of her website, Wendell makes the case that women learn from romance novels to be assertive and confident, and that more equitable and passionate relationships are the result.”
Librarian Judie Evans reviewed EIKAL in the Shelf Awareness for Readers newsletter on 11 October 2011. She wrote, in part, “Wendell’s argument revolves around the idea that reading romance novels offers women (and some men) a safe zone in which to explore their own sexuality. Even more important, reading about fictional women who discover their value instills readers with a sense of their own self-worth.”
Billie at the Book Goat reviewed EIKAL and wrote: “It’s a small book, and not very long, but if you read it through and still come away in any doubt as to how amazing both Romance Novels and the people of the Romance Community truly are, then I do believe your heart and soul and possibly brain may be made of stone.”
The Library Journal reviewed EIKAL and wrote: “Wendell has convinced this reviewer: romance novels are not mere frivolities designed to convey guilty pleasure to their devoted readers…. Readers of romance novels will especially enjoy this engaging book; general readers will appreciate its reflective nature; and it may even cause those who have dismissed romance novels as worthless pabulum to think again.” AWESOME!
Kwana Minatee-Jackson of Macmillan’s Heroes and Heartbreakers romance blog wrote about EIKAL as part of their ‘Fresh Meat’ feature that profiles new books. She said, “I can’t tell you how many folks came to mind as potential gift recipients as I was reading this book; first off, to all those naysayers and folks who over the years have given me the side-eyed glances as I happily pulled out my book with a heaving bosom cover or the one with the torso full of man boobs that yes, honestly, even my bra couldn’t fill out. This book answers the question “What is the value of the romance book?” so much more eloquently than I ever could.”
Linda Banche reviewed the book and said in part, “Written in her witty, upbeat style, Ms. Wendell, with numerous comments and excerpts from romance novelists, dissects the attraction that has made romance the best selling, as well as the most vilified, fiction genre. Romances give us permission to value ourselves and show us the types of men to slaver over and the ones to avoid. In these novels, we can solve our relationship problems, learn how to ask for what we want, and even (gasp!) find out about sex–what we like, what we don’t and what we didn’t even know existed.
Ms. Wendell’s most important point is that in a romance, the woman counts. I came to romance for that very reason.”
Holly’s Goodreads review made me happydance in my jammies: “I sent a friend a text message that said “this book is validating my entire existence.” And then I tweeted the same sentiment to both Sarah and every one of my Twitter followers. This is it, I thought, this is the information and explanation I needed for those teenage douchecanoes all those years ago. She knows all the ways that being a romance fiend has made me a better person, a better friend, and quite a catch, frankly. Yes, it was probably dramatic of me, but there was a great deal of truth to it. Wendell is offering something fantastic to romance readers in EIKAL. ”
Stephanie at Once Upon a Chapter reviewed EIKAL and gave it an A-, saying, “As far as I’m concerned, Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels should be mandatory reading for any romance reader. It gave me words for my feelings about the genre that I can use to educate others and it made me realize that I have a right to be proud as a romance reader!” High fives to you, Stephanie!
Mrs. Hanson of My House of Books reviewed EIKAL (thank you!) and said, “Ms. Wendell’s thought-provoking romantic ideals mixed with reader and/or author opinions was a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s a whole lot of fun that ended way too quickly. Can I get a sequel? (Hell, yeah!)”
Chris of ChrisBookarama reviewed EIKAL exuberantly on her site and wrote, “Do not read EIKAL expecting a balanced look at the romance genre. This is Ra-ra-romance! It’s not like it’s hard to find someone discussing how romance is rotting our brains on the internet, if you’re looking for that kind of thing. It’s refreshing to find an intelligent discussion of the positive aspects of reading romance. At times it is funny and others heartbreaking. Romance readers deal with some serious stuff in their real lives. If nothing else, EIKAL will make you want to read a romance just to see what all the fuss is about. And you’re in luck because there is a book list in the back. ”