Preparing for the Top 100 Poll

womanreadingPolls and lists are exciting to me.  Hey, it’s the little things in life after all!  And, I’ve been thinking about my Top 100 Romances list for a long time now for the poll that runs through November 15th and I’m still not any closer to actually putting it in order yet.  I will be soon, but just not yet. (Sorry, AAR Pollsters!)

In the last year or so, I’ve been steadily making my way through the 2007 list and reading “new to me” authors and works that I’ve somehow managed to miss.  So far, out of the 2007 results, I’ve read 66 of those as well as other romance classics.  The biggest editions to my own personal library include J.R. Ward, Linda Howard, and Suzanne Brockmann and I even bit the bullet and finally read Stephanie Laurens’ Devil’s Bride. Susan E. Phillips and Jennifer Crusie have also made their way into my Kindle Library.

There are some books I haven’t read that I still hope to include before I compile my final list.  Of the 2007 top ten, two I haven’t read yet are Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm or Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation.  I’ve also never read Connie Brockway’s three titles on the list and I’ve only read a few of Susan E. Phillips works.  Nor have I yet managed to read the very intimidating backlists of Nora Roberts.  Unfortunately, there’s only so much time in the day and several of these probably won’t be read.

The 2007 list still holds surprises for me every time I look at it.  There are writers who aren’t on the list that I plan to include in my submission.  I would love to see Kresley Cole, Jo Goodman, Anne Stuart, Jo Beverley, and Carla Kelly, and many others I’m forgetting.  I’m surprised by the sheer numbers of Julie Garwood novels still included while many other classic romance writers like Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and Catherine Coulter are absent.  Plus, the numbers of historical romances on the list overwhelm any other type of romance out there and it’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues to the degree that it has in the past.  I’m also curious to see how up and coming authors like Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas, Joanna Bourne, Judith James, and others will fare.  It’s the things like this that make me look forward to the outcome of the 2010 list

Being my neurotic self, I’m also trying to figure out my list for the 2011 Annual Reader Poll.  There are so many of the big releases that I haven’t yet read like Lover Mine, Wicked Intentions, Ruthless, Last Night’s Scandal, and Love in the Afternoon.  I’ve got so much to do between now and the end of the year!

But the biggest question for me regarding the Top 100 Romances is whether or not Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels will remain yet again at the top of the list.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Have you done anything special to prepare for the poll?  Do you have any predictions?  Any books that you’d like to read before the deadline?

- Heather AAR

24 Responses to “Preparing for the Top 100 Poll”

  1. Karenmc says:

    I’m also, not ready to submit my list, but I’ve been getting ready for months. I just started reading romance in 2007, so this will be my first poll; I felt the need to read the backlists of some authors I love, so this summer I got to as many Ivory, Kinsale and Gaffney books as I could. I keep track of all my reading in BookPedia, so sometime before the deadline, I’ll sort according to ratings and get down to business (it’s going to be really difficult, but I do already have a top ten list on a Post It somewhere on my desk).

    I know that Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas and Julia Anne Long are newer names that will definitely be high on my list.

  2. Pat says:

    LOL. Nope, I’m not ready yet either. I have about 350 books on my Kindle and about the same number in PB and HB scattered around the house. Obviously, all aren’t Top 100 candidates, but cutting the remaining list and then ranking them (ugh!) will be a real chore. Thank goodness it’s not November yet!

  3. Ashley says:

    I’m defiantly not ready. I have a list of all my favorite books that goes well over one hundred so I am going to have to cut some good books just to fit it in there. I knew this was coming still I wish I had more time! :)

  4. Michele says:

    I’m going to put Lover Awakened at the top and Lord of Scoundrels 2nd. I think The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie needs to be added to the top 100 this year, as well as Broken Wing, and lots of Kresley Cole books. Not ready though – will still be frantically reading and trying to add more to the list by the deadline!

  5. Livia Maftei says:

    Ha ha! I’ve already submitted my top. Unfortunately I couldn’t decide for a long list, nor did I think that the books I chose to be on the 60th position deserve a place in the AAR Top 100 so I chose 15, the most beautiful, memorable and sexy I could find. That pretty much resolved my dilemma since compiling an accurate Top 100 would have taken a few days and reading the unread another 5 month or so :)

  6. AAR Heather says:

    I only put around 30 books in my list last time – I wish now that I’d kept it. Lover Awakened, along with books by Cole, Duran, and Thomas will certainly be there. I just don’t know what else yet and where they’ll go.

    I use Shelfari to organized the books I’ve read. I haven’t tried BookPedia yet, but I’ll have to look into it. I’ve only recently set up a Goodreads shelf, but I won’t have time to use it for the poll.

  7. LinnieGayl says:

    I do have my ballot from last time, so will start from that. For right now I’m just busy entering ballots. I figure I’ll probably get serious about my ballot next week. I submitted 100 last time, and know I have some others I want to squeeze in, so some books are going to get pushed out.

    I had every good intention of reading a few more of the popular books on the 2007 list (Outlander chief among them) but just never made the time. So, I’m going with what I’ve read.

  8. Victoria S says:

    Michele, I too think The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie and Broken Wing should be in the top 100, so I voted them so on my ballot.
    I had been keeping a list all year and added to it as I read new “Must-be-on-my list” books! I had so much fun!! I tried to get to 100, but after stringent editing I made it to 67. Lord of Scoundrels will forever be my 1st book. This was the first time I ever did the poll, and I was so excited to be part of it. Thanks to everyone at AAR for including me. And a Double thanks for doing all the work it takes to get the poll done. Bravo ladies.

  9. Pat says:

    Okay, I submitted my top 70 books with Jane Eyre being #1 and Seventh Heaven being #70. Only the best of the best inbetween–or at least IMHO.

  10. xina says:

    In all the years I have been posting at AAR, I have not done this list. It always seemed like such a daunting and time consuming task, that I never wanted to attempt. I have been thinking of and listing romance novels I have loved over the years I have been reading romance. I take 15 minutes a day to add more titles, and it seems to be working. I should have my list ready by the end of the week. My first 5 were easy. It’s the rest that is so time consuming.

  11. AAR Heather says:

    Yay, Xina!

  12. Karla says:

    I love participating in the top 100 poll and I’ve participated in the last two polls. I’ve been reading romance since the early 90s and I’m having a hard time ranking and comparing older books to newer, recent reads.

    Which is better: Broken Wing, which I still remember vividly or Flowers from the Storm which I’ve long considered my favorite romance but which, truthfully, I can’t really remember specifics about? Does anyone have the same problem or any advice? I’m not much of a re-reader but I suppose it would help — I just don’t have much time. Does anyone do any rereading in preparation?

  13. LinnieGayl says:

    Hooray, Xina! Good for you!

    Karla, I went through somewhat the same thing when I prepared my 2007 ballot. I started with my prior ballot, and there were some books, pretty high up, that I just didn’t remember. It was hard, but I decided if I didn’t remember them, and hadn’t reread them, They didn’t deserve a spot in my top 100. I really must get serious about my ballot this weekend. I’ve decided I just don’t have time to specifically reread for this poll, I do enough rereading normally. So, I go with what I remember.

    If you know you have loved a book before, and can’t remember details, you might look for a review here and see if it jogs some memories.

    • AAR Heather says:

      LinnieGayl: It was hard, but I decided if I didn’t remember them, and hadn’t reread them, They didn’t deserve a spot in my top 100.

      I have to agree with LinnieGayl here. If I can’t remember it, then it’s not included. With my absolute favorites, I ususally reread when I feel I just need something dependable and good to read.

  14. Ruth says:

    I think the best way to compile your 100 Best Romances is to select books that you have kept over the years or new ones you plan to keep. And perhaps these are books that you have read over and over again. I have not included in my list Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer or Charlotte Bronte as these classics are, for me at least, assumed as some of the best romances ever written. Perhaps that’s wrong, but hey it’s my list. I don’t think my list has changed very much in the last few years mostly because I don’t care for paranormal, vampires and steampunk romance. In addition, many of my favorite authors like Laura Kinsale, Loretta Chase and Liz Carlyle have written less that fabulous books lately. And authors like Maggie Osborne and Judith Ivory have not written at all.

  15. Sharon says:

    For me, I keep a reading log on Excel (even though I have a database on Goodreads) and give the books a grade. I’ve been doing this for years and it helps me to remember books. For this 2010 Top 100 I still have my all-time favorites, such as Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale, Diana Gabaldon, Loretta Chase, Lisa Kleypas, and Patricia Gaffney and they are still right up there at the top. But Meredith Duran was huge for me, as was Joanna Bourne, Sherry Thomas, Jo Goodman, and Julie Ann Long. I also really liked Anne Mallory’s most recent book and am interested to see how she does with her upcoming novel this winter.

  16. Ruth says:

    Here’s my problem with a more “updated list”, when I put a Meredith Duran or Sherry Thomas novel (enjoyable enough) against a Judith Ivory or Laura Kinsale one, for me there is just no comparison. Flowers from the Storm, Outlander, Beast, these books take my breath away with their writing, imagination and romance. So how can I put the Duke of Shadows on my 100 list when I believe that there are so many worthier choices that were written 10 years ago?

  17. Sharon says:

    I actually think that the benefits of an updated list include allowing for the impact and influence of new writing voices. There are many new writers who can compete quite well with those writing ten years ago Although I absolutely agree that Ivory and Kinsale and Gabaldon, for example, are still among the best writers in the genre, I think there are some great new works in recent years. My prediction for what it’s worth is that Bourne’s _The Spymaster’s Lady_ will find it’s way into the top ten eventually and will be considered a classic. I’m so curious to see how it fares this time around as it is a relatively new book.

  18. Ruth says:

    Actually The Spymaster’s Lady is one of the few newer books that is on my list. I am curious, what other more recent books do you think deserve to be on the top 100?

  19. AAR Heather says:

    Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas will certainly be very high on my list. I’m making my list this weekend, but that’s one I know I will include. Though I’ve been reading and adding books to Shelfari, I’ll have to think about the rest that I actually plan to include. But, like Ruth, I’d love to hear other newer books that people are planning to include.

  20. Sharon says:

    I too am looking forward to seeing the new additons. For me, in addition to The Spymaster’s Lady, I loved _Not Quite a Husband_, but I also loved Duran’s _Written on Your Skin_ & _Bound by Your Touch_, Goodman’s _If His Kiss is Wicked_, Long’s _Like No Other Lover_, Kleypas’s _Smooth-Talking Stranger_, Howard’s _Death Angel_, and Stuart’s _Ruthless_.

  21. Evie Bernard says:

    I would love to see Kresley Cole, Jo Goodman and Madeline Hunter on the list they are too good not to have even one book up there . Working hard on my list Hunger like no Other – If His Kiss is Wicked- One Forbidden Evening – Compass Club Quartet, By Arrangement-By Posession- By Design and many others deserve to be on the list.

  22. Evie Bernard says:

    Oooops forgot Liz Carlyle – No True Gentleman is one of my favorite romances ever, her Devil Trilogy was quite good too. Also loved Scandalous Lovers – Robin Schone

  23. Ruth says:

    Liz Carlyle, Jo Goodman and Madeline Hunter are on my list, although I was very disappointed with Liz Carlyle’s newest book. All those authors have been on past 100 Best lists in the past.

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