I've always loved Romance Novels. While I share a love of most popular fiction, Romance Novels are what I devour. I called them my brain candy- fluff, basically. I was an English major who had just as much love of Shakespeare and Lord Byron as Nora Roberts and Lisa Kleypas. It never occurred to me that I could ever incorporate my love of literature and romance novels. One was read for pleasure, the other to expand my mind. It didn't occur to me that I could do both, within the same field.
However, this last semester (Fall 2007) and this semester (Spring 2008) I took a series of courses that made me realize that I could do both loves at once.
So after trying and failing to incorporate my two interests in a variety of formats, I finally hit on creating an independent study where I investigated the popular Romance. So, as of next semester I will be researching romance novels in seriousness.
This blog will be my research journal- a way of recording my research and putting it down on "paper" so when I come to the final stage- a research paper- I will have access to all that information, along with my thoughts in opinions written down in a rough format. The thought is that I will be posting weekly over the semester (Fall 2008) recording my progress and analysis, so I keep my writing skills sharp, and so I get in the habit of thinking critically about something I read for enjoyment before now. I also plan to be getting a head start on the research over the summer, so I will be posting (less frequently) then.
But I could do all that in a normal journal, and that hits upon the second reason I feel it's important to record my thoughts and work in an open forum. It had never occurred to me that I could do academic research on Romance novels- especially trashy romance novels. Part of that is because, I believe, there just isn't enough openness about reading romance novels academically. I want my research to be available to others who might come later, and need a springboard to work off of.