If You Like at AAR

I’ve always had a soft spot for the If You Like pages because they are actually what led me to All About Romance in the first place.

Back in the fall of 1999 a lot of the chaos of my twenties was finally behind me.  I’d finished school, grad school, gotten a job, gotten married, and had bought a house.   At last I had time to read.  For fun.  So I turned back to my first love…romance novels.  Back in the early 80′s I’d read Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s A Rose in Winter as a Good Housekeeping super-condensed fiction highlight of the month.  I was eleven, but I still remember the sweeping romantic line drawings on the beige colored insert.  I read it in sneak peeks in the downstairs bathroom because somehow I knew this was adult-type stuff.

From there I read other romances available at my library, again snuck home in my book bag and read fairly furtively.  These were mostly Regencies, chaste stuff.  It was a few years

A Rose in Winter (Good Housekeeping)

A Rose in Winter (Good Housekeeping)

before I read the complete version of A Rose in Winter and realized that Erienne and Christopher actually have sex.  Several times.  Well, to make a long story short, all through high school when I had a spare moment I was buried in a romance.  It was a mostly secret addiction.  My sister knew.

So after I’d gotten educated and finished bettering myself reading all those books you “should” read, I looked around for something I’d like to read.  Something just for fun.  So I googled Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and wound up on the If You Like page for AAR.  The rest, as they say, is history.  It didn’t take me long to click from that page to the message boards, to the reviews and from there to find books like Laura London’s The Windflower and Mary Balogh’s Heartless.  In a month’s time I was hooked.

Eventually I became a reviewer for AAR and in the summer of 2002 overhauled the If You Like pages into the form they are today.  And though the pages get little comment from readers, the stats for the site reveal they are regularly used.  If You Like…(By Author/Style) gets the most hits of any static page at AAR.  So my sense is that it remains relevant.

My question is how relevant?  Seven years have passed since the pages were overhauled and the list of authors who regularly hit the bestseller lists or get message board mentions has changed somewhat.  I’ve started to ponder who should be included there as the Gateway authors of import.  Who does the grocery store currently reader see as a representative for our favorite genre and who should we recommend to her to have a similarly enjoyable reading experience?

I would like the If You Like pages, particularly the Author/Style one, to be the most effective tool it can be to get great books into the hands of readers who will enjoy them and go on to glom some more.  Which is why AAR will be updating it soon and would like your input on how useful the lists are currently and which authors belong there as great representatives of the genre not everyone is familiar enough with.

Any input?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

(Oh, and, BTW, sadly I’ve found that the discovery of so many great contemporary romance authors at AAR has impeded my enjoyment of Woodiwiss’s signature prose style.  In other words, I find I really can’t read her any longer.  But we’ll always have those moments stolen together in the bathroom with the really big, really ugly orange sunflower wallpaper in 1982.  I’ll never forget those, K.E.W.)

–Rachel Potter

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9 Responses to If You Like at AAR

  1. OMG. I so remember that Good Housekeeping condensed version of A Rose in Winter! I read the same one and must have been about the same age, sneaking in the reading when my mom wouldn’t notice.

    Thanks for the memory.

  2. Mary Skelton says:

    I would like to see links on the “If You Like…” page. I have visited it before and tried to use it to get lists on other authors, but I have to put the author’s name in the power search to get the book list. If would be so much more user friendly if the authors listed in each category had direct links to their book listings without having to go through the search tool. Does this make sense?

  3. Kelly B. says:

    One thing I’d like is for the If You Like recommendations to be more specific.

    For instance, I love Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander romances. Every single one of them is a DIK for me. I’m not that crazy about her current Darkfever Urban Fantasy series. So if you did a If You Like Recommendation for this author, I’d like to know which series you are referring to, if that makes sense. It seems like you’ve done that on some of the recommendations but not always.


  4. Virginia C says:

    I loved Good Housekeeping’s condensed books and short stories! I also love Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. ASHES IN THE WIND is my favorite Historical Romance. Thanks for this post!

  5. AAR Rachel says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I myself loved finding the old Good Housekeeping illustration for this blog. I still love Erienne’s Farrah Fawcett hairdo.

    Mary – All of AAR’s reviews are in a database which, when queried, calls up the information on a book and puts it in html format so the reader can read it. That’s why we no longer link to individual reviews at AAR – because our reviews are no longer static pages as they once were.

    Kelly – thanks for the input. I will give this some consideration.

  6. Joanne says:

    I love the If You Like page, and use it all the time. Over the years I’ve found so many “new to me” authors that have now become auto buys for me. I’m glad you’re giving it an overhaul, and thanks so much for all the great work you’ve done.

  7. LFL / Janine says:

    I think the AAR “If You Like…” pages are a great resource. I would love to see them updated and expanded.

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  9. la martina polos says:

    Was that the right video? Because I’ve seen this guy perform where he produces oodles of bananas to just look at.

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