In case you haven’t heard any of the recent online and on-the-air discussions surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, this isn’t one of them! I will tell you, I have not read the book and honestly, I don’t intend to. This isn’t a commentary on Fifty Shades nor a discussion on whether or not one should read the book… I’m in favor of books that get people reading, and that is what this book is doing.
What I am here to talk about is what I hope Fifty Shades of Grey will be for many individuals… a GATEWAY book: a book that brings new readers into a genre. That’s what The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer was for me and so many other women. It was my gateway into romance – specifically paranormal romance. Before Twilight, I’d never read a romance in my life. The series was the pathway for (I’m guessing) thousands of women to paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
So I wonder… will Fifty Shades of Grey do the same for some of the so-called “fringe” romances? I’ve had girlfriends that wouldn’t give my blog the time of day ask me about the book because of all of the hype. I’ve been asked for recommendations for more “erotic” or “BDSM” reads. This makes me happy!
A twitter discussion about both Fifty Shades and Twilight with @CarolynCrane and @KatiD prompted the question of what makes a good gateway (or introductory) book? You need something that is well-written and easy to follow. A gateway/introductory book should epitomize the genre without being too hard core. You don’t want to scare away a potential fan before they get used to the genre!
When people ask for recommendations in the paranormal romance genre, I always start with the Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh. I feel that this series is hands down one of the best out there. It’s well-written, the stories are exciting, the romance sexy but not overly erotic, and the amount of paranormal is “just right.” And for folks looking for a vampire-centric story, I refer them to the Midnight Breed Series by Lara Adrian.
For Urban Fantasy, my go-to series is the Kate Daniel Series by Ilona Andrews. It’s just amazing! And after railroading through the Disillusionists Series by Carolyn Crane earlier this year, I’ve added that to my “gateway” books list.
If someone is looking for a little bit of “fringe” in their romance, I recommend the ACRO Series by Sydney Croft. This series is one of my favorites! The sex is definitely more erotic than the average paranormal romance, and the stories showcase both m/m romance and (in one book) BDSM.
Now I’m looking to my readers out there… what books do you recommend to friends that want to try out a new-to-them genre? I’d love to get some ideas for contemporary, historical, and m/m romance. What about outside of the romance genre all together? What makes a book a good GATEWAY book for you?
I look forward to reading all of your answers! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!