Nov 16, 2011

A Salacious Stigma

Reading used to be something I took for granted. Then I met P. He taught me about resilience, determination, and about being enough - simply by choosing what he wanted to read.

I am thankful for the gift of reading. But even more than that, I'm thankful for the gift of choosing what you want to read. I may not like a book, but if that story gets someone to start reading again, then by all means, pick it up.

If you follow me on goodreads, you've seen that the books I've been rating lately have all been romance novels. I think romance novels have a bad reputation (ha, no pun intended!), but they've always been a great escape for me. So much of what I read is non-fiction, or a novel with a heavier topic, and when life gets crazy, it's nice to escape into a lighter read. I've read a decent amount of romance novels - varying from well-written to laughable, and like everything else I read, I don't waste my time on stories I don't enjoy.

Some of the best love stories I've read have been in a romance novel and it has nothing to do with sex. It's about the writing, and the chemistry between the characters, and how you smile at the end of the book because you're just so happy with how the story turned out. My sign of a good book has always been if I'm still thinking about it later - so those are the romance novels I keep on my shelves...the ones where re-reading them is like catching up with an old friend.

There's this stigma attached to romance novels, and it makes me a little crazy. I've encountered one of two reactions from people when they hear I'm reading a romance novel.

1) A response of, "oh okay," and then silence while they wait for me to tell them what it's about (this is the reaction I expect and receive when talking about any other type of book).


2) The response of  "ohhhhh," and then the immediate change of the subject because they're uncomfortable and embarrassed for me, because they assume I'm reading a book where every other paragraph must be about sex. (Nine times out of ten, someone with this reaction has never read a romance novel, and really, how is reading a bedroom scene different than watching it in a movie?)

When I was thinking about writing this post I was afraid it would come off as really defensive, especially considering I want this to be about how I'm thankful for the choice I have to read what I want, so let me clarify. I am in no way embarrassed or think I need to defend any choices I have about what I read. But I'm all about being an informed consumer, and I don't see why that shouldn't extend to reading as well.

So in the spirit of giving, I'm giving away a copy of the book A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare. Megan recommended it to me, and it is awesome! I'd never read a book by Tessa Dare before, and I can't believe how much I laughed during this story! The characters are stubborn but sweet, and there are a lot of other story lines in this novel so the attraction between the two main characters isn't always the main focus. Plus there's a minor role of a sheep that is hilarious. (My favorite line in the whole book is "Hullo Dinner." Trust me, you'll laugh too when you get to it).

This giveaway is open to everyone, and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. (The giveaway will close Monday, November 21st at 7 PM, EST).

Have you ever read a romance novel? Did you feel like you had to hide it from people because of reactions?

What are you thankful for today?

*Disclaimer: I was not asked to do this, or compensated in any way for this review or giveaway - I just really loved this book and thought I'd share!


Maggie said...

I'm thankful you wrote this post! I don't think you sound too defensive, I think you are a proud reader and I couldn't agree more.

Kate Sparkles said...

I've never read a romance novel because until reading this, I was under the impression they were all sex scenes and soap opera dialogue.. But now I'm quite intrigued and may just have to try one this summer!

Charlie said...

I recently started reading romance. I read a lot of books and the whole stigma of romance had had me interested for a while. It started as more of a challenge to read more genres and while quite a few I came across were bad, others were great. I do worry that suddenly including reviews of romances will change the way people view my writing, but some of it is really worth the time. The more people who speak out and dispel the myths, the more regular it will seem.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I don't think that anyone should ever have to defend the genre of books that they are reading. Books are to be devoured and enjoyed and everyone has different likes and dislikes. I will never look down on someone for whatever it is that they are reading. The important thing is that they are, in fact, READING. I don't like it when people get all high and mighty and judgy about books! To each their own!

And I enjoy light books, too. As long as the book doesn't feature a mindless female character, I like them. That is my complaint with alot of chick lit. A lot of time, the lead female is, well, sort of idiotic and all "oh, I can change him even though he treats me horribly". Those kind of books? I HATE.

I love this giveaway! And the title of this post!

Gracie said...

Reading is like eating...we all have different tastes! I personally prefer a good mystery like Father Brown or Lord Peter Whimsey.

Brittany said...

Hah, this made me laugh. Maybe I will give some romance novels a try too. I like being happy at the end of books.

PS I'm confused - Why would people avoid books that are filled with sex!? JK :)

Sarah said...

I have to admit, I've never read one of these - but now I want to! I think we just find genres we're comfortable with and then don't stray. I'm never sure if I will like a book outside of my usual go-to reading material, so that limits my adventureness. But! I totally see what you mean about these books - they sound fun to me! Love and passion? Yes, please!

Lucy The Valiant said...

I loooove romance novels! And yes, there is a stigma attached to reading them, but oh well. I want to read something with a happy ending! AND I'm reading classical literature to my students so my brain needs a break!

Megan said...

Don't include my comment since my copy of this book was the one you read ;)

I've been reading romance since I was 13 and for YEARS I hid it or told people, "Oh I like to read all kinds of things!" Not anymore! I am a proud romance reader :) There are just too many amazing, well-written ones out there not to be!

ruthpclark said...

Ooo fun! I used to love reading historical romances, but haven't found a good one in ages.

Amber said...

Fun!! My grandma and mom read romance novels ALL the time and I actually read my first romance novel when I was about 12 years old. HA! How's that for finding out about 'romance' at a young age ;)

In all seriousness I haven't read one for a long time just because I haven't had one recommended to me or happened to pick one off the shelf, but I'm not against them by any means! I hope I win your giveaway so I can read this one!!

Vanessa said...

I love a good romance novel! My mom and I share them all the time, and they can be such a nice little "breather" from the heavier books I like to read as well.

jen said...

every once and a while i will read a romance, some of them are fantastic! Way to be proud of what you read...

Stephany said...

Romance novels are probably my favorite to read. Good ones can give so much depth and intrigue that I don't find in more "literary" stories. For me, I read to escape and I don't care if a plot is predictable or silly.

And this book? Sounds right up my alley!

Unknown said...

Does the Twilight series count? :) I've never read an actual romance novel, but I love romantic stories so I think I would enjoy one.

What a great idea for a give-away!

Unknown said...

Having Sex Is Good for Your Health. Lets Talk About Sex.

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