First and foremost, I’ve been reading romance since I was thirteen. If you’ve ever spoken to me (or read my bio), you know I come from two grandmothers who were librarians. Not counting all the “aunts” I had who worked there as well. I spent a large amount of time cultivating my love for reading.
I’ve read countless genres along with a wide range of authors and topics. I have never experienced the level of judgement that I get when I talk about my love for reading romance. (We won’t even talk about the things that get said to me when I say I write in this genre). But my true love has always been romance.
I can remember spending a week each summer at my other grandma (who was not a librarian) and her shelves were lined with Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, and the Fabio looking covers. I would be bored, because she didn’t have cable, and I would spend my days with fictional characters. Even at a young age, I would cry when the characters suffered a tragedy, laugh when they did something funny, and hide under the covers until 2 a.m. just to see what was going to happen next. Being from a broken home, I remember one novel in particular from Danielle Steel that touched on divorce. It was the first time I saw things from my mother’s perspective, and I cried for what she must’ve felt. There was something so beautiful in that story that touched me and I’ve never forgotten it.
Basically it comes down to …
I love reading romance.
I love the message it provides and the way it makes me feel about life. Hope, my friends. It gives me hope.
In the last few days, there’s been increased chatter from a few authors and readers about the shame they feel when they tell people they read romance. It baffles me. The stigma around romance books is ridiculous. Who doesn’t like to feel hope? I sure as hell do. I want someone to love me enough to heal the broken inside. Tell me we’re all not a little broken … because I know I am. And if one person finds comfort in a novel, where is the problem?
The typical response I get from non-romance readers is: “It’s just sex and no realism.”
Ummm, I beg to differ. Romance covers a multitude of different sub-genres as well. I’ve read some extremely realistic romance books. Secondly, if they are far fetched, who cares? I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of fiction in your fiction book from another genre. Not many people want to read about laundry, bills, disrespectful teenagers, and work. So, authors spice it up and add a little drama sometimes. It’s why it’s called fiction.
To your second part, do you not like sex? If you don’t like sex, maybe a few romance books will help you there … just saying. However, romance books aren’t about the sex. They’re about relationships and the sex moves the characters to the next level (most times). They cover a multitude of issues and life experiences, and guess what? Sex is a part of any healthy romantic relationship. A lot of times, a romance book even provides healing, hope, love, and reflection. I don’t know where the bad part in any of that is.
While we’re on the topic … if I like a good BDSM book, where is the harm in that? Really, where? Because let’s just say you like reading suspense, does that mean you like murdering people? No? Well, okay then.
I digress, reading is a journey, it’s meant to provide something for the soul. Whether it’s laughter, faith in the human race, an escape from reality, or just fun entertainment, read whatever you love. Don’t let others make you feel bad about enjoying a novel. I’m sorry if you feel like you have to hide it, it shouldn’t be like that. Know there is a very large community of book lovers (probably even the people judging you) who love romance. We welcome you with open arms and zero judgment.