So, with all the talk about Romancelandia, booksellers, bookstores, and authors I figured I should post this. I am a romance reader. I love the genre, and most of my favorite authors are found in the romance section. I’ve always been an open book when it comes to my choice in books, but I admit, I used to be scared to admit I read romance. Part of that stems from my glorious years as a bookseller. I used to be a bookseller at a nice big book store in Denver. When I started working there, I told my co-workers that I loved reading romance and it went one of two ways.
1. I was told that I should branch out into “true” literature. I was then barraged with suggestions that ranged from mystery to general fiction to biographies to political science. I was also told that the only reason I read so many books is that I didn’t have to use my brain to read “smut.” My personal tastes were degraded, and at times I was viewed as a lesser reader because of them.
2. It was like joining a club. We would talk about the authors we loved, the stories we swooned at, and what subgenre we loved most. I loved the talking to those coworkers, and they were terrific to work with. If I had a customer needing a historical romance recommendation, I knew how to send them to. And they knew to call me for anything erotica, BDSM, or “spicy.” We relied on each other to help customers, it was the best little club to be a part of.
As a reader, my taste varies. I read anything from social science to fantasy to dark, twisted romance to general fiction. I love my biographies, and some of my favorite books fall into the social science/cultural study genre. I am a proud romance reader. I shouldn’t have to prove my reader status because someone doesn’t like “smut.” I shouldn’t have to defend myself because I read romance. Heck, the reason I bought an eReader was so I could stop wasting my time talking to strangers about why romance books still counted as books worthy of being read.
Can we all just unite in the fact that we’re not all going to enjoy the same book? I love dark romances, and I dislike mysteries. I’m not going to look down on anyone who reads a mystery, that would be ridiculous.