Romancing

As many of you know, I’m a voracious reader.  Because of this, my e-reader goes everywhere with me.  Because of Dru’s night terrors, we’ve been having one of us sit in with him every night to get him to sleep calmly.  So I bring my e-reader there as well.

I generally end up with at least an hour of reading time a day (if not more), so I blow through books quickly.   Lately, I’ve been on a romance kick, and have a complaint.

Why is it that in a large percentage of romance novels, the male and female protagonists go from violently hatred to truly, madly in love within a matter of a month or so?  Why do we so rarely see relationships that evolve from friendships or that have two people meeting and falling in love in a healthy relationship? 

One of the recent ones I read had a guy who is a raging jerk to the girl he ends up with.  And it’s never discussed why she doesn’t punch him in the face for his treatment of her.  Nope, she just falls madly in love with him in a matter of seconds, and they (apparently) live happily ever after.  Oh, and they both make wildly outrageous assumptions about the other person because their ability to communicate like human beings is apparently non-existent.  

And yes, I realize I’m reading them anyway, but I do like the happy endings :-p.  And in general the ones I read have stronger female characters, and good character development.  

I just would like to see more romance novels that glorify truly healthy relationships.  

We have an entire generation of people growing up with Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey as romance examples.  The relationships in those books and others like them are so blatantly ridiculous and unhealthy that they make me stabby.  Let’s put forth some books that show people entering healthy long-term relationships with good communication and equality.  I think that’s a truly romantic relationship.

Giving

Like many people right now, we’re not flush with cash.  But I still have a desire to give back.  When I was in high school, I regularly participated in the local soup kitchen.  When I was in college, I helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity.  After college, time seemed to get away from me, and it was harder to do.

I don’t remember how, but I discovered freerice.com back in 2007 or 2008.  It’s run by the World Food Programme.  When it first started, it was a vocabulary game.  Every right answer earned rice, which was donated to those in need.  Now I love vocab games, so I did it religiously for a while.  Then I completely spaced out and forgot about it.

Right before Thanksgiving, I rediscovered it.  They’ve expanded the options.  Now, it’s not just vocab words, you can do chemical symbols, SAT Prep, multiplication, and foreign languages.  In a total of about 45 minutes, I donated almost 3500 grains of rice.  I’ve done it more sporadically since then, but I’ve been going back and doing it.

Today, I clicked on the link to the totals of rice donated over time.  Here’s what they have to say:

  • Year 2007
  • Year 2008
  • Year 2009
  • Year 2010
  • Year 2011
  • Year 2012
  • Year 2013
  • 12 255 121 230
  • 43 942 622 700
  • 16 773 400 950
  • 13 198 863 280
  • 8 218 094 800
  • 3 351 398 496
  • 89 679 890

Now, the site started in late 2007, so 2008 was its first full year in action.  Since then, the numbers have dropped drastically.  So I’m challenging myself (and anyone else who wants to join me) to get it back up to at least where it was in 2010.

It’s a way you can give back without spending a dime.  And since we can’t really afford to donate money, time is all we have.  But I can spend 15 minutes and donate 1000 or more grains of rice.  According to their website, it takes about 19000 grains of rice to feed an adult for a day (averaged, not exact), so while it takes some time to build that up, you’re getting some education, some fun, and they’re getting what they need as well.  So maybe instead of messing around on other websites, we could all try and give 15 minutes a day to this cause.  I’m certainly going to try.