My reading choices are no-ones business but my own…but with that being said…
All romance readers have been asked at least once why they read romance. We’ve all had that conversation at some point, with someone. Sometimes it comes from a good place, and sometimes…less so. While my general opinion on stuff like this is “mind your own ****** business”, I think there’s an opportunity to talk about romance and why it’s so important to so many people, despite its reputation as mindless fluff.
Saying “I don’t like romance books” is like saying “I don’t like movies that come out in the summer”. It’s meaningless.
First things first, romance detractors get off your high horse. Romance is the highest grossing genre of books on Earth. People may claim they don’t read it, but I promise you they know and love someone who does!
Second, romance is too broad a genre to talk about on its own. Saying “I don’t like romance books” isn’t like saying “I don’t like action movies” it’s more like saying “I don’t like movies that come out in the summer”. It’s a category so broad and deep that it’s almost impossible to talk about in the macro.
Third, in a world where women and marginalized main characters can be in short supply, romance is a genre where you’re guaranteed to get some (and the main character is guaranteed to get some…but maybe that’s another article!). By default you can’t have a romance without a female or gay lead. There is no other genre that offers that kind of diversity or guarantee. As someone who wants to read about female characters, this is important to me.
Romance is the ONE genre where you’re guaranteed to find women and marginalized populations showing up as main characters.
There can certainly be a comfort in reading romance and it certainly has its conventions (what genre doesn’t?), but even those can subverted if that’s what you’re looking for. Want a funny easy read? We got that. Want some excitement and action? No problem. How about an alien race of super warriors and the women who love them? We got that too.
We’re a big tent, and we’ve got some of the heaviest hitting authors in the world. It’s time to push back against the romance reader stereotype and let the world know that they’re the ones missing out!
Happy endings, good prevailing over evil, the couple will get together and be in love for the rest of their lives. The entire plot is based around love and it’s going to end happily. In the real world there are no such guarantees. Knowing that no matter which romance book I read is going to offer me that comfort is why I love them. Its predictable, but I crave that, in the same way the good guys are going to save the day at the end of a superhero movie, or no one is going to die a tragic death in the middle of a comedy movie. Every genre has conventions and I really enjoy romance conventions.
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