I have posted before on my feelings on reading romance and the comments that have come because of it but it was brought to my mind once again this week with this great article on NPR Don’t Hide Your Harlequins: In Defense of Romance by Bobbi Dumas. I am an English Major, with an emphasis on literature and I had more than one professor refer to romance novels as “brain candy” or “fluff”, not worth a literary minds time. I disagreed with these professors but am ashamed to admit that I said nothing while in those classes. My mother supported my reading decisions (she was a romance reader herself and she introduced me to some amazing authors including Georgette Heyer, Betty Neels and Jane Austen) but my mother also had fabric reading covers that she would put over most of the books she was reading. I had friends in high school make fun of my reading choices, even going so far as to read sections out loud to each other and laugh over them (I have to admit this really hurt my feelings but again I didn’t say anything).
But things are different now, no longer do I have my “public” books that were placed on the bookshelves out in the living room while I kept a different collection on the bookshelves in my bedroom. I am an educated woman (not only do I have my BA in English, I recently obtained a JD) who doesn’t want to read the boring drivel of a quote unquote “good” book. I don’t want to read about horrible tragedies and the things people have to suffer through, there is already so much sadness in the world I don’t need to read about it in my down time too. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the occasional non-fiction or that I think that everything should be all puppies, kittens and double rainbows but I do want the characters in the novels I read to have HEA (happily ever afters). I want the characters to laugh, joke, overcome obstacles and at the end of the day be better happier people for having gone through what they have gone through. I am not ashamed of this (although I have been in the past).
So I say read on lovers of romance! Be proud and don’t let anyone make you feel less for the reading choices that you make.