BPL sponsors Romance Reading Challenge

Resource Librarian, Priscilla Ivy, with several books that can be checked out for the Romance Reading Challenge at the Bryan Public Library.
Staff Writer

February is the perfect month for those who enjoy a little romance in their lives, and the Bryan Public Library is the place to find romance between the pages of a good book.

Resource Librarian Priscilla Ivy got the idea to sponsor the Romance Reading Challenge from Louisa Whitfield - Smith, Library Consultant of the Mississippi Library Commission.

"She and I were discussing the wide variety of books available," Ivy said. "But so many people never venture outside of a certain genre that they are familiar with. She thought maybe we should offer readers a challenge to see what is out there. If you always drink from the same well, it dries up eventually."

Those who wish to participate are asked to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in the Esther Pippen Room. There will be a discussion of books available and if the library doesn't have a certain book, they can request it from another library. The challenge continues through Wednesday, Feb. 27.
There are many books that fall under the umbrella of romance. It isn't just “Jayne Eyre,” “Wuthering Heights” and “Pride and Prejudice” anymore.

"The best selling romance novel of 2018, was The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang," Ivy said. "The main character has Asperger’s Syndrome. That is way outside the norm as far as romance novels go."

As a gateway to reading, many young people began their journey into romance with the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. The series put many tweens on the path to reading for the fun of it. While many adult readers turn their noses up at sparkling vampire romance, it has its place in Young Adult Fiction.

"Romance novels are an escape," Ivy said. "No matter what you spent your day doing. Working at a job then making dinner, being a homemaker with children, everyone needs a break. A book allows you to be somewhere amazing. You can be looking out at the Mediterranean Sea with a gorgeous man and never leave your home."

Ivy said the men in today's romance novels are more real.

"I love romance novels with historical significance," Ivy said. "A book that really catches my eye, is one that portrays an African American woman in Victorian dress. My favorite thing is to be reading about a certain time period and learn something I had never heard of before."

Those who take part in the challenge can win an autographed copy of "An Extraordinary Union" by Alyssa Cole, donated by Whitfield - Smith. The novel takes place during the Civil War.

"There are only two rules to take part in the challenge," Ivy said. "One is to be willing to read outside the box. Get out of your comfort zone. The other is to check the book out of the library. We hope everyone will enter the contest to win the autographed copy of "An Extraordinary Union."

If the Romance Reading Challenge is successful, there will be more opportunities throughout the year to participate in different genre challenges.

For more information call the BPL at (662)-494-4872.