A-Z Challenge: romance novels

I have a lot of questions about romance novels.

How do you know that a book is a romance novel? Harlequin books and Mills&Boon books are a given, right? And so are Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught, etc etc etc? But what about YA romance? Technically it falls under the young adult fiction category, but what about the romance part? Can you classify that also as a romance novel, but, you know, for teens? Kinda like the Sweet Dreams and Love Story series that I read back in high school.

Can Jane Austen novels be considered romance novels or are they romantic novels? Is there a difference? How are two different? Is it just the sex or something else?

Why do lit people look down on romance novels?

Why am I reading romance novels now?

Okay that last one is my fault. I was recently sent a couple of harlequin ebooks by a friend and… oh-kay… I got hooked. Those are mighty good guilty pleasure books, I just realized. Still, can’t let myself be distracted. I still have a 30-books-for-2013 goal which does not include romance novels, and so far, I’ve only made it to 10, and that doesn’t even include the ones for the reading challenges I joined last month.

And then we’re reading Nora Roberts for our next book club meeting. I think I’m out of my league here with this genre.

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