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It all began a few weeks ago when I was dragged kicking and screaming into 2003 after purchasing a Kindle. Suddenly any book in the universe became available to me at any time of day in exchange for a quick twitch of my right index finger!
I tweeted my concern about the negative impact this new-found access would potentially have on my life, and was promised that this addiction would abate with time by a big fat liar who shall remain nameless. On a possibly related note: @texastonja – GURL U LIE!
And what did I do with the literary power at my fingertips? Brush up on my Faulkner? Lose myself in Austen? Reread my favorite Dostoevsky?
No, I used my magnificent power to acquire a new hate-read obsession: one I call ‘Tragirotica‘ (see also: ‘Traumance‘). In these books, which reside somewhere between standard NA and Dark Erotica, the main characters are survivors of some kind of debilitating childhood trauma (Murder! Abuse! Crippling accidents! Mental illness! Self harm!) that unites them as it threatens to tear them apart! (TM)
So.much.tragedy. And like a modern day version of “Queen for a Day”, the couples are paired with an eye to ever escalating past mayhem.
Guy: My parents were murdered
Girl: My entire family and all my friends were killed in a tragic mishap
Guy: My lips were bitten off by a shark, and the lips of my best friend who died in the attack were surgically attached to my face.
Girl: My pet baby seal was clubbed to death when we traveled to Alaska to spread the ashes of my entire freshman dorm who were killed in a freak carbon monoxide accident. I was the only survivor!
And the only way these broken characters can survive and heal is to find a similarly damaged hot body and go to town!!! (and by ‘go to town,’ I do NOT mean ‘chart out a mature course of therapy and self-reflection in order to properly process their memories and build a healthy self-image.’ I mean ‘have LOTS AND LOTS of sex.’ Just so we’re clear.)
For some reason I cannot get enough of these! It’s kind of like binge eating a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. The sweet elation of undeniable attraction and creamy chocolate, followed by the growing queasiness as wave after wave of tragic revelations and sugar poisoning roll over me. Then come the eyelid sweats and heart palpitations that accompany the heartbreak of separation and the onset of diabetes. Lastly, comes the consumption of an entire bag of sour cream and cheddar potato chips to neutralize the sugar, and then on to the Almond Joys (aka the next book)!
I cannot stop myself, and like any good junkie I have no choice but to drag those nearest down with me.
So, just for you, the TN readers, I have thrown myself on the 1-click grenade, and read about 152 of these over the past 3 weeks. What follows is either a compelling list of features of a must-read genre, or a blog post written while drunk-tweeting about kilt-thongs (NOTE: these are going to KILL at Carnavale).
Here go some reasons why you, too, might want to hate-read some Tragirotica:
How many times have you found yourself thinking “how will I escape the attentions of this smoking hot, hyper self-aware, forgiving, thoughtful and deliberate 20-something year old man”? IRL? Never.
But Tragirotica is lousy with men who are triple ‘S’ threats (shredded, sensitive and (p)sychologically well-versed). These devastatingly attractive men want nothing more than to fix their ladies, and have watched just enough enough Dr. Phil to get the job done!
And as a bonus, due to their broken status, they often sport a gaggle of sexy tattoos (I am a sucker for this), and in some cases, like Hayden in Clipped Wings, an assortment of very very VERY interesting piercings. (Hint: very few of them occur above the neck. Let’s just say I learned MUCH about the erotic benefits of body piercing.)
Say you want to learn more about therapy and psychology, but you don’t want to get too nerdy about it. Well these books allow you insight into the human brain at a level approximately 1-step above Lucy Van Pelt. Characters say things like “you can’t move forward if you are putting your pain and emotion into a fire of hatred and anger,” and therapists (when they appear) practice anywhere from benign neglect to just this side of criminal negligence.
In addition to dubious medical foundations for many of the diagnoses and attempts at healing, these books feature magical sex as a low-cost anti-depressant!
All the books I’ve read have gotten between 4.5 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. That tells you that they must be fantastic! Just to put that in perspective for you, The Sun Also Rises only got 4 stars. Conclusion: THESE BOOKS ARE BETTER THAN HEMINGWAY!
Then there are the written reviews:
“Must love Rodeo or be mildly interested” I don’t! But that’s not gonna stop me!
“It will break you. It will thrill you. It will heal you.”–Group Therapy Book Blog (Disclaimer1: It will not heal you) (Disclaimer 2: Be very suspicious of the credentials of this blog)
” . . . especially if you like hot, muscled, tattooed MMA fighters with a vulnerable side.” I don’t know what an MMA fighter is, but sign me up! Especially as a later review reveals that “he’s fighting a private cage-match with a monster he can’t defeat.” Yes! That!
Most titles are $2.99 and under! This is way less than a price of a movie, and in exchange you lose a half a night’s sleep and a significant range of motion in your neck. BARGAIN!
To compare, here is a list of addictive items that are worse for you and cost more than 2.99:
So, in this regard, you are actually saving money while safeguarding your physical and mental health from the dangers of chemical dependence, obesity and death-by-decoupage.
These books feature people from all walks of life, proving that tragedy can strike anywhere and anytime! Even cavemen are are no strangers to lives of heartbreak and loss. Take Ehd: He’s lost his entire tribe to a natural disaster, and has been living a lonely, isolated life that he feels is barely worth living. Can a mysterious woman he’s snagged in his antelope trap heal his loneliness and teach him how to “luhff”?
Are you made of stone? How can you NOT want to read that?
I am not ashamed to admit that I read this. All I can say is: Judge not lest ye do it hilariously in the comment section below.
You know that sketch on Portlandia where Carrie rents The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and is forced to deliver mail until she can convince someone else to watch it?
Or the movie The Santa Clause where the only way Santa can get out of his no-win profession is to get killed by Tim Allen, who then takes his place and, in turn, prays to be offed by another 80s sitcom star (Bob Saget) in order to be saved from this fate? (I did not actually see this movie, therefore this summary is pure conjecture/wishful thinking.)
This is nothing like that.
I PROMISE I am not trying hook you into reading Tragirotica, solely so that I will be released and free to pursue my true calling: Shame-reading werewolf-centric paranormal romance.
Totally not doing that.
So, what are you waiting for? Give Tragirotica a try! What? You will?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I WIN!
What are you currently hate-reading? What support groups have you joined to deal with your 1-click addiction? Have you learned anything that you can’t unlearn?
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