The Rocky Road to Romance: A Guest Post by AnimeGirl

I met AnimeGirl a.k.a. Alex from AnimeGirl's Bookshelf through BBAW, as she was my interview swap partner, and it's my pleasure to have her guest post for us today. Alex is a big romance reader, and she shares with us some of her thoughts on the genre.

When Hazra was kind enough to ask me to do this guest post and talk a little about a genre I love dearly, I was very excited – few things get me talking as much as romance novels – but then I faced a bit of a writer’s block, I had too many things in my head and wasn’t sure where to start.

Romance is one of those book genres that you either love or you love to hate and I was lucky enough to read my first romance story when I was still young and hadn’t become quite too cynical about what romance meant – you know, beyond princes and princesses, frog kissing and fairy dust – and in many ways in changed my life.

In ‘Real Life’ I’m quite pragmatic, I’m not really touchy feely, and even a bit cynic about most things surrounding relationships and human nature but when it comes down to love there is this small part of me that goes that to that first story and the many I have read since, and that little part is what keeps me hopeful.

Now, Romance is a genre that houses many other genres. Within the broad scope of romance novels you can find criminal thrillers and books about lawyers and doctors or professional players of any sort of sport, fairy tale retellings, comedies, dramas and tragedies, historical, contemporary or futuristic, paranormal, fantasy or simply rooted in reality: there is something for everyone in romance.

That’s one of the things I love the most about Romance, you can find something to suit your taste. Even as a modern woman very much living in the 21st century, I still turn to romance for comfort and find stuff to relate to even in stories set in the past, in places I’ve never been to and even with lands and creatures that don’t exist.

The sad part of this though, is when you encounter what I called a Book Snob. If you ever have encountered a Book Snob you know what I’m talking about. Book Snobbiness spreads far and wide, there are Book Snobs who trash talk fantasy or sci fi, saying that such genres are for kids or geeks; there are Book Snobs that claim that Y. A. books are silly and shallow; and then there are the Book Snobs that look down on Romance Novels.

People who don’t actually follow the genre seem to have this idea that a romance novel is some trashy, pink book with Fabio on the cover and a happy ending but, and though happy endings are a bit of a requirement, that image isn’t quite how things are. As in everything, in Romance Novels you can find the type of trashy books – with bodice rippers and super alpha heroes that border on abusive and heroines that are too stupid to live –that give romance novels a bad name, but you can also find awesome books that are smartly written and compelling, books that boldly go to a familiar territory and yet make everything seem new and brilliant even if the plot is familiar – I always say that there is only so many things under the Sun, basic plot-lines repeat endlessly but it’s how each author approaches said basic plot what makes the difference – and what gets you emotionally invested in all sort of stories and pairings.

This is not to say that we romance readers think stories as they happen in the books are the norm in real life, we are very much aware that it is just a book but the emotional punch is still there. Romance novels give the idea that relationships can be fulfilling and rewarding, filled with love and respect and in most cases they affirm the idea that women are important – in today’s romance novels, even historical ones, is rare to find a hero that by the end of the book doesn’t see his heroine as his equal, as someone worthy of respect; and it’s even rarer to find an heroine who does not her own value by the time we reach the epilogue.

More than that, romance novels provide a safe heaven where everything is possible, where you can hope and dream. Sure, many of them novels will never be considered classics, and there always be book snobs that will think they aren’t even real books but I don’t think I – or anyone I know how loves this genre for that matter – will ever truly care about that. And, save for the occasional super fabiesque cover, I feel no shame whatsoever to stand tall and say: “I’m a Romance Reader”. To some it might not be as high minded as reading Nietzsche or a depressing literary novel, but hey, we all need our share of fun. Don’t we?

Now, what about you? Any romance readers out there?

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3 Responses
  1. Aarti Says:

    What a great post to read! It is sad to have to defend the genre you read, but this post does it really well, even so. I don't read straight romances very much. I read fantasy and historical fiction, mainly, though, so often romance is a huge part of those stories. And my favorite novelist is Georgette Heyer, who is all about the romance :-)

  2. Welcome Alex. Though not a fan of romances, I found your post to be both interesting and informative - I shall certainly look at this genre through different eyes now. Thanks.

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