Happy Holidays - Merry Christmas From a non-Christian
Funny how in the US, I feel compelled to say Happy Holidays because each and every holiday is distinctly separated into a religious movement. Here, everybody wishes everybody a Merry Christmas, cuz for some strange reason it’s NOT necessarily associated with Christianity, but has more to do with folklore and the winter solstice. As a matter of facts, Santa looks like a fat version of the Iranian Baba Norouz who celebrates the coming of the Iranian New Year on the Spring Solstice.
Don’t get me wrong, France is essentially a Christian country and I grew up wondering what a nativity was since they are everywhere to be seen, but it is also a secular one where church and state are separated (there is no “In God We Trust” on our bills or swearing on the bible at the president’s inauguration).
For me, it’s a celebration of the Winter solstice (which, really, is the origin of the timing), of the days getting longer and brighter. It’s a magical time of year despite the grim, dark, cold weather outside (I believe in magic, don’t you??). It’s a time of getting together with family and friends and doing good.
I am not Christian. But Merry Christmas everyone!!!
I read an article in the New York Times that really intrigued me… It talked about Romance novels that apparently sell like crazy since the growth of the ebooks market. I wanted to know what these were - yes, a teenager, I had read a few Barbara Cartland novels, but if you know anything about British romance novels, you know that they are well written and chaste. Apparently, those selling most copies now are the ones that are hot and steamy.
On one of the websites the article referenced, All Romance eBook, I found dozens of free novels, and I downloaded a few of them. No need to say that you can read them in an hour, if not half hour.
They are somewhat formulaic, but not necessarily:
The only two common themes are a breakup/some sort of threat to the relationship, and then a happy ending. Other than that, it’s free flow: there are books about fallen angels, and about vampires, about cowboys, and marketing executives…
Women are strong, but always break down at some point crying their eyes out.
Men are idealized - even when they are total jackasses, they are tender, they take out the trash and go shopping, wash the dishes and take care of babies… and they also break down and cry at some point.
Men have a “secret” - even if the secret is that they have a bad temper, which you know all along because, well, it shows.
It’s poorly written and full of typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes.
But some of them are entertaining and I even found one that was funny, openly making fun of romance novels.
I would say, if you feel like reading, but don’t want to rake your brain and just want a quick break, just download a free book and enjoy it for what it is. Not literature, but junk reading. Better than a Dan Brown because way less pretentious!