You all are insane if you think I am going to share my deepest darkest secrets with you. Nope, this is a secret that a lot of women keep. I know because I used to be one of those women. This blog is about (drum roll please)………….reading romance books.
I have been reading romance since…it seems like forever, but I never told anyone. I was always embarrassed. I never used to buy my books at the store where I worked because I didn’t want anyone to know. That is pretty damn sad and, looking back, I am ashamed that I ever felt like that. I will explain why I was embarrassed by buying them. We can start with the most superficial—the covers. I read a lot of historicals, which meant lots of bare-chested men and boobs falling out women on the front of every book. We are talking a lot of years ago and, if you go back and look, you will see I am right. Yep, Fabio was on the cover of a lot of those books (although I never thought he was hot).
As a young woman who was shy, I blushed anytime I bought them. I know it sounds silly, but you know that most of you were like me—mortified that someone thought you were reading trash. I used to always buy my romances at the same time as I bought my Tom Clancy books or, at least magazines, so maybe the clerk wouldn’t notice what I was buying. I am so glad that now covers are so much better.
Most people think that romance books are just pieces of fluff with no value at all. They have never read one, but they still like to make fun of or just shake their heads as if to say “What a waste of time. Don’t you have something better to do than read crap?” This is one of the reasons I kept my secret for years. When someone would ask what I did over the weekend, I would just say nothing much. When in fact, I was sailing the ocean with pirates, fighting for Scottish independence, or just living a normal life all while falling in love with a hero. What most people do not realize is how much research is put into these books. I have picked up so much information from romances it is no wonder I am really good at playing trivia games.
So individuals, whom we will call book snobs (as opposed to just calling them assholes), believe that the authors of romance books are hacks. Oh, they respect the classics. But give them a Melissa Schroeder (not that I like her or anything) or any number of other author’s books and they are all “she writes romance so she can’t have any talent”. What a crock of shite!!! I have read a variety of books from the so-called classics to the worst books imaginable, and I have found that these are some of the most talented and imaginative writers in the world today. I don’t think the ‘Snobs’ understand how hard it is to convey the feelings of love, lust and romance to a reader. One of the most difficult things for a writer is to make the reader care about the characters and the connection between them. Most of the books I have read have, at the very least, made me care about the characters while I am reading, even if it is over as soon as I close the book. Some have made me cry and some have made me roll with laughter and is that not truly the purpose of a book? I am not saying that there aren’t some truly terrible writers out there. But there are also some amazingly talented ones writing romance as well.
One of the biggest complaints that I have heard about romance is that it is nothing but sex. There are books that are nothing but sex. But don’t we all just want to read some down and dirty sex once in a while? These are not my favorite books by any means but, sometimes, a little smut is good for you (not to mention your sex life). To me, a good romance book is if you removed all the sex, is it still a compelling story? Is the author still able to make you care about the characters and the hardships of finding and keeping love? Most of the time the answer is yes, if the answer is no then you are not reading a good romance book and I suggest you try again.
Now, am I alone in wanting to take the stick out of the ‘Snobs’ asses and beating them with it??