Little Treasures–How One Harlequin Editor Passes Along Her Romance

Editor’s Note: this month is National Women’s Month and starting March 8th, International Women’s Day, we are featuring writers who have shared with us their thoughts on reading romance. Today we’ve asked our editors in New York City (woo, the Big Apple!) to write something. Click here for more blog posts on the subject!

by Mary-Theresa Hussey, Executive Editor, Silhouette

HQN Book
The editor promptly exited the train after snapping this photo.

I read romance on the subway. The subway isn’t the greatest for reading manuscript pages, so it’s with delight I seize on the excuse to read our published books on the subway. I don’t hide the covers and I’m happy when people do an occasional double-take. And if I finish on the subway, I leave the book behind so someone else can enjoy it.

Sometimes you get the people who think I’ve forgotten it (as if!) and try to give it back.

And when I explain I’ve enjoyed it and want someone else to enjoy it, they take a second look at the book. Sometimes I’ve moved to the other end of the car to see if someone will pick it up. I’ll spot guys looking at the cover, moving it around a bit, and then dropping it back. Or women who read the back and then look around, obviously debating about taking it while I quietly, secretly root for them to keep it.

But the people I love—the ones I do this for—are the ones who spot it and grab for the book immediately, smiling. Those moments of instant gratification, that smile, that lightening of spirit, that sheer enjoyment, is why I think romance—and our romance titles—are a strong, empowering, binding force in the lives of women today. They celebrate commitment, reward pain and suffering, and though there might not always be the guarantee of a happy ending, at least there’s hope for it. And these days, that’s something I do wish for everyone.

Related Posts
Comments ( 11 )
  1. Ellen
    March 21, 2010 at 10:17 am
    Reply

    What a great way to introduce people to reading romance. I however am not sure I would pick up a book left on the subway but then I’ve no experience with riding a subway since they don’t exist in my area of the US.

  2. Eliza March
    March 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm
    Reply

    What a fantastic idea. I always share my favorite reads with others, and though it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden the subway, an aitplane will do now. 😀
    Eliza M.

  3. Sarah MacLean
    March 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm
    Reply

    I do this, too…because I know how much I love finding reading material on the subway! I’ve never seen anyone pick a book up after I’ve left it, though…I’m looking forward to that moment! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Lori Perkins
    March 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm
    Reply

    I leave mine in the laundry room. They are always gone when I come back for my dry clothes.

  5. uberVU - social comments
    March 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm
    Reply

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MalleVallik: RT @HarlequinBooks How editor Mary-Theresa Hussey Passes Along Her Romance http://bit.ly/bGW5YY

  6. Nancy Evertz
    March 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm
    Reply

    What a great way to pass on a book! One of my critique partners has a charity that collects Romance novels for battered women, but I have trouble giving up my books. I read them over and over again!

  7. Caroline from Canada
    March 22, 2010 at 12:54 am
    Reply

    I use Book Crossing … you label each book and you can track its progression of getting passed around.

    http://www.bookcrossing.com/

  8. Mary-Theresa Hussey
    March 22, 2010 at 10:23 am
    Reply

    Glad some people agree!

    Although the NY subway isn’t the cleanest, we do hate seeing things wasted! And I’ve seen others leave and pick up titles (not often, but occasionally). We’re more often used to “sharing” with newspapers and magazines. And if you’re on the subway for a while, you’ll often need a distraction!

    I thought about the Book Crossing, but it seems like too much effort. 🙂 but I’m happy it works for some people.

    And I do keep many books, but living in a NY apt means I have to be selective. My TBR pile is always growing, so I’ve got to really cherish the ones I keep….

  9. Mary Therese Coll
    March 22, 2010 at 11:03 am
    Reply

    Excellent idea Mary T! I like when random subway conversations strike up (other than the ones that people have with themselves on the NYC subways — grin) because of a book, a certain author or the particular title strikes someone enough to ask a question or solicit my thoughts. We have a table in the basement of my apt. building that works like a lending library or a feel free to take format. The romance ones are the first to go!

  10. Ivana
    March 22, 2010 at 11:27 am
    Reply

    I think this is an excellent idea! Perhaps I’ll start leaving my books behind as well. I may write a little note in the inside front cover, to encourage a smile and hope that those who pick it up do the same when they’re done.

  11. Mary-Theresa Hussey
    March 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm
    Reply

    Cuz! How are you doing? We’ll have to meet up for lunch again soon! (Off line!)

    I use the laundry room (and airplanes) as depositories as well–and when I’ve been lax about it in the building, people ask after them.

    I’ll sometimes put a “I’ve read it and enjoyed it” sticker on the book, just so they don’t think they are stealing it from someone. And if not on the subway, on the platform is another option.

    I was cleaning out some of my office a few years ago (a Herculean task!), and would take a batch on the subway and platform every night for weeks.

    FYI, in the office, we do have a few libraries, nursing homes, shelters and such that we contact when we’ve got some extra books to give out at the end of the month or during a cleaning spree.

Leave a reply