But this article on The Misadventures of...Super Librarian (in response to the first article above) was what really grabbed my attention. If you read romance novels, this will be a trip down memory lane.
I don't think it's a spoiler to say that one of the books she references is The Sheikh by Edith Maude Hull. Not a fan here, but there's no getting away from the fact that the book created a stir and earned its place in romance novel history. By the way, if you want to read it for free, it's available at Project Gutenberg.
I suppose that in addition to the trend setting books in the genre, we could all note our own path to where we stand today, reading-wise. If we're sticking to the romance genre, I would begin with my sixth grade teacher handing me a copy of Jane Eyre, followed by my mother being a reader of Harlequin Romances and later Lucy Walker books (Australian outback romance) and Barbara Cartland. Somewhere in between all that, I discovered Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.
There were, of course, other books along the way that led me in new directions, but that initial copy of Jane Eyre, having been suggested to me by a trusted teacher no less, made a major impression. I still revisit it every few years.
Have a wonderful day!