I remember the day I decided to (finally) take the plunge and read a romance novel. I was watching a Hallmark Christmas romance and the little voice in my head that kept whispering, “Why do you watch these holiday romances every year and have never actually read a romance novel?” started getting louder and louder (with some sass to her voice). So I did what any 30 something would do when we don’t know where to start with something: I turned to google and typed in “romance author who writes the best Christmas romances.” In a matter of days I devoured three Debbie Macomber holiday novels and haven’t looked back.
It’s been a long weekend for those of us here in the States and between a sale at Half Price Books and a online order through Thrift Books I have hauled a couple different romance novels and I sit back in complete astonishment as I watch my shelves dedicated to romances grow. Secretly for the past two years I have wanted to give the romance genre a try–I started listening to romance podcasts, obsessing over romance readers on Youtube and seeking bloggers who review romance. I don’t think I ever lost my excitement for reading but I have felt this crazy feeling of excitement now that I’ve started reading romance. It’s that excitement that comes with discovering something new for me. Last night, as I clicked submit order on Thrift Books, that little voice (yes, her again!) whispered “What took you so long?”
- No one in my family reads romance: I love the podcast Smart Podcast, Trashy Books and one thing I have heard on different interviews the host Sarah Wendell has done is that a lot of romance readers discovered romance pretty young and it was usually thanks to a family member. Some guests have talked about their mother’s having tons of romances and passing them their way–or an aunt who knowing their niece’s Mom wouldn’t approve but knew their nieces interest in the genre, would hand off romances to them secretly. I have a handful of readers in my family but unfortunately, none of them romance readers.
- Cringe-worthy covers: Let’s be honest with ourselves Friends, we have all either present day whilst browsing the shelves at your local bookstore or back in the day when you were younger took notice of the cringe worthy covers that tend to be on the face of romance novels. I’m going to just put it out there that the few embarrassingly horrible romance covers I’ve seen was the top reason why I swore the genre off as a whole for so long.
- Commitment Issues: I am a very loyal person Friends and once I’m in something, I am in for the long haul…but all of that can be a little iffy when it comes to book series. I have always preferred my standalones. There are series with 20+ books which seriously makes me want to pour a whole glass of wine when I think about it. Thinking smaller than that–a trilogy for instance, nothing about reading two more books involving the same characters or same world was appealing to me. One and done baby that was good enough for me!
- Too much Sex for Me: One assumption I had with the romance genre, is that they all had certain things they had to have in their stories–the main thing being sex. Yes, I assumed they all contained sex and that most of them would probably have too much sexy time for me! Now I don’t mind sex in books but I don’t need or necessarily want tons of it unless it’s written in a way where it’s not slapping me in the face with details (no pun intended).
- Ew, Mass Market Paperbacks!: Another hesitation I had with reading romance is that a big chunk of what I saw when I started browsing books is that a lot of them are published in Mass Market Paperbacks. I do feel now, that I was being a bit of a book snob about this. We all have our preferences but I was dead set against reading a mass market. I assumed weirdly it would be uncomfortable to hold a book that small and just knew I’d get a headache trying to read those tiny words. And I mean, come on, how would those tiny mass markets look on my shelves with my beautiful hardbacks and paperbacks?
- Weak Female Characters: I really had it made up in my mind that all female characters in romances were going to be these damsels in distress whose lives are completely in shambles until their knight in shining armor arrives, fixes everything and saves the day. I assumed the female protagonist’s would have nothing else going on in their lives and their main focus in the story would be the love interest, and although I love a good love story, I need my female character to have substance.
- Going to be Boring: I can watch a romance film just as easily as the next person. I love them! When I thought of reading a romance novel however, I truly thought I’d get bored. I kept telling myself that once you meet the main character and love interest in the beginning, shortly after you’ll read an entire book of angst and that sounded completely boring to me. What sounds appealing about reading a 300 page book that could be cut down to 100 if the characters just communicated? I really thought this would drive me crazy.
So those Friends, are the reasons I hesitated for so long to finally start reading romance. It has been such an incredible journey so far–and the cool thing about the romance genre is, it is so huge! I have tons of exploring to do and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me!
Let me know what your favorite genre is. Was there a specific book that changed the game for you and made you want to read more from that genre? I hope all is well and you had an incredible weekend! xoxo, Bree