Lists, Reviews

And I’m Expected To Swoon? A Top Ten List

Swoon: To be overwhelmed by ecstatic joy, a state of ecstasy or rapture. Used online as an action, to show that someone is attracted or interested in someone or something. (Urban Dictionary)

I’ve already listed my favorite romances, couples I think would make it in the real world, and fictional men I’d find attractive (if they were real) – creating another list of books that would make me swoon seemed redundant (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). Instead, I created a list of (mostly) classic romances that I didn’t find swoon-worthy. I did this via video. However you can skip right over it – lucky you – if you’re so inclined. I’m listing the books below, the only thing you’ll miss is my commentary (I did manage to keep it under 6 minutes, still, it’s 6 minutes you’ll never get back).

08. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Beautiful girl + Catholic priest = Disaster.

07. Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontΓ«. True, I do love it, but some of the romance is lost in the attempted polygamy.

06. Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Let’s blame it all on Scarlett.

05. Twilight by Stephenie Meyers. Yeah, I know, it’s an easy target.

04. Wuthering Heights by Emily BrontΓ«. Just…not romantic.

03. Private Lives by Noel Coward. Love and hate in a vicious cycle.

02. Emma by Jane Austen.Β 

01. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Apparently Austen isn’t my favorite romance author.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’re more romantic than I am, it undoubtedly makes the holiday more fun.

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  • cleopatralovesbooks

    When I saw the title for Top 10 my thought was does anyone swoon these days? I love your take for your list and glad to see The Thorn Birds on there πŸ™‚

    • Rory

      I don’t swoon. It’s not in my nature. Although I do get that warm, gooey feeling when I see men holding babies, don’t ask me why (I would have a total meltdown if I found out I was pregnant, so it’s not baby fever)…

      The Thorn Birds is just depressing.

  • Nish

    Emma and Gone with the Wind make my swoon list but totally agree with you on Mansfield Park and Twilight. Ugh!

    • Rory

      I like Mr. Knightley, but Emma…no.

      I kept wondering what the point of Mansfield Park was. I knew the direction it was going, but it seemed to take forever to get there. And Twilight destroys romance.

  • Heather

    Hahaha! The Thorn Birds always makes me swoon. Especially when it’s Father Ralph (Richard Chamberlain? Totally swoon-worthy.) in the mini-series adaptation.

    I totally agree with all the others.

    Off to watch the video…

    • Rory

      I haven’t seen the miniseries adaptation, so I have no opinion (yet, I do plan on watching it as so point). Mildly related: I haven’t read North and South yet because I don’t want to ruin – in my head – the perfection of Richard Armitage.

  • Heather

    Okay. Video watched. Your videos always make me guffaw. I love your comments on the books.

    I’m also not a fan of Valentine’s Day. (Although, most consumer holidays annoy the crap out of me.) I don’t like chocolate as a rule, I don’t like roses–they stink and remind me of funerals (Plus, flowers for special occasions? No.), and I don’t wear jewelry very often. More power to the people who get excited about these things.

    • Rory


      The sweetest gift I ever got was a vintage Motorhead t-shirt (I was in a heavy metal phase at the time) and I technically bought it for myself (because he hated shopping). I hate the holiday. How do you not like chocolate? That’s seems to break some cardinal rule. Although I’m very picky about it. I only like bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate makes me gag – even the smell. I love earrings but don’t like any other jewelry. I flat out refuse to wear rings, though every few years I get the urge to see if I loathe them any less. I don’t. For what it’s worth, my favorite holiday is the 4th of July.

      I hate flowers, to grow or to receive. I’m a science librarian, my specialty is botany and horticulture. So…

      • Heather

        I don’t *hate* chocolate, I’m just not that into it. I definitely don’t want it as a gift. I see these commercials where the men say, “Every woman wants chocolate! Make sure you buy her chocolate for V-Day!” And I’m all, “NOOOOO…stop it right now.” I don’t like white chocolate at all, either. It’s gross.

        As far as flowers go, I’m not all that into them either, but if Eric really wants to get them for me, they must be wild flower-ish (no roses, no carnations, etc.), and they must be “just because.” Not for a particular holiday or whatever.

        I’d rather just go out to eat or something. I don’t know.

        • Rory

          Stemming for my poor days, I’m way too cheap to appreciate flowers. (“You spent $60 on roses that’ll die?”)

          I like when someone cooks for me. Or when I get to pick the movie. Or a gift card to a book store. I might actually swoon if someone showed up at my doorstep and offered to paint all the trim in my house. I’d like to think I’m easy to please if you’ve known me for 5 or so minutes.

          • Heather

            Yep. Same here.

  • Lianne @

    Haha, great list! I almost put The Thorn Birds on my list this week but realise it didn’t make me swoon per se, lol. And it’s funny but over the years I’ve become quite fond of Mansfield Park; Emma however remains my least favourite–though I do like/enjoy Mr. Knightley’s grumpy self πŸ˜€

    • Rory

      The Thorn Birds depresses me. Emma is my least favorite (though Mr. Knightley gets a pass, he;s okay), Persuasion is absolutely my preferred Austen, both in hero and romance. Though in all honesty I suspect I’m most suited for the Henry Tilneys of the world.

  • Cassie

    OMG. I own The Thorn Birds, but I hadn’t read it yet, now I don’t think I can. BAH. Wuthering Heights wasn’t romantic for me either…at all.

    • Rory

      It’s a good book and a sweeping romantic story…without a happy ending.

      I couldn’t stand Wuthering Heights. I’ve read it a few times at different points in my life to see if my feeling have changed (high school, college, and as an adult). They haven’t.

  • Ashley F

    I admit to loving Mr Knightley in Emma. Although I kinda wanted to slap Emma herself.

    • Rory

      Agreed. I like Mr. Knightley, especially when he was played by Jeremy Northam.

  • whatmeread

    I agree with you on most of these, except the Austens. What can I say? I’m an Austen fan! Twilight was barely worth reading, in my opinioin.

    • Rory

      I really love Persuasion and I like Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey quite a bit. Mansfield Park was alright, but I did find it a bit boring and I flat out couldn’t stand Emma.

      I was working as a public librarian when Twilight came out and read it out of curiosity. It made me very sad for readers.

      • whatmeread

        Emma has a difficult personality, but I still like it. LOL on Twilight! I felt exactly the same way!

  • Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    I’m not more romantic than you. I didn’t even bother participating today. And I have a crime thriller review scheduled to post on V-Day. lol I freaking love your topic, I totally could have came up with 10 and Twilight DEFINITELY would have been on there. I fail again because I haven’t read any of the others on your list.

    • Rory

      It’s unlikely I could’ve come up with ten books that truly make me swoon. Sometimes I think I’m too practical for my own good because swooning and the like seems like it would be fun. I don’t ever get giddy and I used to think something was wrong with me (until I figured out it was just me and peppy, glitter-encrusted cheerleader I am not). I don’t understand the appeal of the controlling alpha male. Do women not want to make their own decisions anymore? I don’t know… I imagine there’s a reason I don’t have a huge contingent of female friends.

      I thought about adding a couple more Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis got cut because I didn’t think I’d want to talk for that long. And I’m pretty sure nobody wants to watch me for that long.

      • Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

        I am the furthest thing from peppy. And yes, I imagine that’s why I’m lacking in the female friends department too. I’m okay with this.

        I loved Rebecca but that romance was hilarious.

        • Rory

          Sometimes I wonder if I’m okay with it. I think I am, but occasionally I’ll read books with female friendships done right and wonder if I’m missing anything. The two people I’m closest too are male and I wonder…

          Of course, I also feel like I know the male mind much better than the average female and I can ask if my ass looks okay in a pair of genes and expect a truthful answer.

  • Andi Miller

    LOVED your blurb about Jane Eyre…though I did enjoy the book. I’m SO WITH YOU on Wuthering Heights. Great video, Rory!

    • Rory


      I love Jane Eyre, it’s one of my favorite, but I doubt I’ll be taking my romantic cues from it anytime soon. If I were to swoon, it would be over dear Edward, even with his deceitful ways. Thankfully he’s fictional.

  • Acid Free Pulp

    Ha! I haven’t read The Thorn Birds, but what you commented on about it made me laugh. When I was in grad school, there was an unsubstantiated rumor going around that one of the students dropped out to marry a former priest. The student also bore a strikingly resemblance to Doris Kearns Goodwin.

    • Rory

      The Thorn Birds is pretty good, but there was too much death for my personal taste.

      One of my favorite parts of grad school was the rumor mill. Although to be honest, the particular professional community out here in Denver is pretty tiny. Everyone knows everything…

  • Naomi

    I have never read #3, but I agree with you on #’s 1, 2, 4, and 8. Really agree with you on #’s 5 and 6!! But I beg to differ on #7. It is one of my favourites, and although I agree he teased her way too much and was making a tiny mistake lying about his wife, everything else makes up for that. πŸ™‚

    • Rory

      The tiny mistake of trying to marry someone when you’re already married? I suppose it is just a small detail. πŸ˜‰

      Jane Eyre is one of my favorites too, but I would lose my temper if someone tried to pull that. And Jane, she just so righteous and good, how could he compromise her like that…? Regardless, Edward always tops my list of favorite men in fiction, so it must not bother me TOO much – witty and brooding gets me every time.

  • April @ The Steadfast Reader

    Wuthering Heights is the WORST, unless we start talking about Twilight, then that’s DEFINITELY the worst… glad to see I wasn’t the only one tweak the topic this week. πŸ™‚

    • Rory

      I think it’s easier (and far more fun) to talk about romance that doesn’t work than romance that does.

      I’m not sure that there was a single redeeming, worthwhile character in all of Wuthering Heights and always thought of Twilight as a bunch of snivelling would-be hipsters. I suppose I can blame that image on the movie.

  • Carolyn O

    I think you’re the only person I know who feels about Emma the way Jane Austen meant readers to feel about Emma. I’m really glad to know you.

    I’m afraid I’ll gag if I read Gone With the Wind, and so I haven’t read it.

    Valentine’s Day = lamest holiday.

    • Rory

      I’m glad to know you too. And I’m still waiting on a Neruda poem I don’t know…that’s accessible. Because hunting down a copy is work.

      Don’t read it. There are too many other good books out there to want to waste your time on the obnoxious Scarlett O’Hara.

    • Rory

      (And I’m only kidding, my library has a copy of World’s End. I already put a hold on it.)

      • Carolyn O

        You’re so conscientious! I could just email you the poem and my (rough) transition, though, if you like.

  • ebookclassics

    Spot on about the polygamy proposal in Jane Eyre. I love the book, but I can never get over Rochester suggesting that to Jane, amongst many other things he did.

    • Rory

      I love the book, but that is definitely my main sticking point when it comes to the romance part of the novel. I do love it still, but I would’ve had a bit more anger than Jane.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB

    Nice manicure. And I agree 100% with Jane Eyre.

    • Rory

      Thanks. I figured charcoal grey was nice and cheery. πŸ™‚

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    Finally had a chance to watch the video and love it (especially your quick jump into not dating guys with “the dudes” on their bookshelves)! Like you, most of those romances are pretty much lost on me, too. I can get a little swoony, but I usually need some serious quirk in my stories.

    • Rory

      I wanted to do a list of books that make you undateable, but then realized I own a large chunk of Roth/Hemingway/Thompson/Bukowski/Palahniuk/Ellis/Pollock/Bill books and probably shouldn’t judge. πŸ˜‰

      The amount of Bronte/Austen/Forster/Maugham I own makes up for it, I should think.

  • Words for Worms

    Bwahahahahaha! Your take on Wuthering Heights is the very best. Ugh. My husband and I used to shoot wedding videos and there’s a quote from Wuthering Heights that brides would put on their wedding programs that made me lose all respect for them. Catherine and Heathcliff are the WORST! Read the book if you’re going to go around quoting it at your wedding! (Despite Mr. Rochester’s wickedness, I forgave him at the end. I guess I’m a sucker for a jerk who gets what he deserves and repents? Thus, I would NOT judge your wedding quote. It’s Jane Eyre, man. It get a pass!)

    • Rory

      Catherine and Heathcliff are everything destructive and anti-romance. I’m assuming the quote is either the more myself than I am one of the if all else perished one. Either way, not appropriate.

      I always forgive Mr. Rochester at the end too, he suffers pretty greatly. The quote I like is, of course, “You are my sympathy, my better self…”, just like everyone else.

      • Words for Worms

        Catherine says “Whatever our two souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” And she says it as she discusses the fact that she is too fancy to marry Heathcliff being all penniless and orphaned and whatnot. Awful.

  • Kelly Massry@ReadLately

    I read The Thornbirds as a teenager and LOVED it. I wonder how it would stand up in a re-reading now that I’m 30 though. I totally agree with you about Wuthering Heights! Some people suffer in love but it’s not the ideal version, is it? Awesome video.

    • Rory

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      I like The Thorn Birds, but that’s certainly not how I’d want my love story to read. Wuthering Heights is misery in literature.

  • Melinda

    I enjoyed watching your video, Rory. 6 minutes wasn’t too long, I enjoyed your comments – quite entertaining. I have heard someone else say practically the same about Emma, but she didn’t put it so eloquently πŸ˜€

    • Rory

      Eloquent is not a word I hear often applied to myself, so thank you!!!

  • Catherine

    Loved the video! I’m with you on Valentine’s Day except…I use it as an excuse to buy myself something I want. And I hate to lose your respect (if I had it) but I love Scarlett simply because she is a hard-hearted bitch. Her love for Ashley is stupid beyond belief but she’s 18, so what do you expect.

    • Rory

      Scarlett is so obnoxious. And of course you had my respect, it’s just solidified now because you referred to Scarlett as a hard-hearted bitch and called her love stupid beyond belief. What more could I ask for?

      I typically buy myself something too. Or pointedly suggest a particular present to the gift-buyer.

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