tayastorm: (platypus)
Author's Note: The following post brought to you by dawn, caffeine, and sudden need to express an opinion type thing. I don't guarantee coherence, correct spelling and grammar, or lack of rabid badgers. If you find any lack of those, let me know and I'll make fixes as required. Thank you.

So I have friends who read and write romance fic (I even do it myself! *shock! horror!* *cough*) which makes me that little bit more aware of the bias against romance in terms of what "smart women" read. In general it's one of those things I steer the hell away from, but it's 5am and I'm still awake, ergo I shall voice an opinion thing.

One of the complaints from the proud readers is about the tendency of romance readers to describe it as a guilty pleasure. As in "I like this, but if I admit to it I'm going to try to dismiss it as much as possible for the sake of my reputation." Which is something I sort of get on both sides of the debate. On the one hand we should all be proud of the things we like, on the other hand... people have opinions about other people because of what they (both theys in this case) like.

Personally, I tend to be a bit sheepish about reading romance because... I generally don't read it for the actual romance. I mean I like a well done romance plot, and I'll be disappointed if it's done poorly, but it's really the other aspects of the story that I'm after. (I usually prefer paranormal or suspense) Which has a degree of "I don't really read it for the romance, don't judge me" but the reason for the sheepishness is more personal than that. Basically I'm asexual, and uncertain enough about it that it bothers me to do things that I think others might associate as being sexual.

The first romances I read - Laurell K Hamilton's Merry Gentry books, I highly recommend them for all sorts of reasons - were..... very much sexual. (As it happens that's exactly why I bought the first one, as a sort of 'explore my interests' thing) Which meant that when my sister-in-law found out I was reading them I went out of my way to emphasize that there was "real plot" to it. I knew that for her the sexual side of the romance was the important bit, and she didn't (and still doesn't, but I've mostly given up trying to explain) understand that it just wasn't like that for me. So pretending the romance was a total non-factor became easier than deciding whether or not to explain or whatever, and the habit sort of stuck.

Back to the other hand, a good book is a good book. And there's a lot of different things that can make a book "good", because it's a subjective term, fuck it. There's plot elements, character personalities, relationships, worlds, writing style, etc and so on. (I really need to read Lee Childs again so I can finally write that post about the things I don't like about the stories that have absolutely zero effect on my love of the books.) Sometimes we want a well crafted story about two people who battle through internal and external issues to find love again, other times we want a cheesy cliche romance that reminds us that sometimes even matters of the heart are just downright comedy. Yet other times we want a story that doesn't even nod at romantic relationships, and usually that's the point where we go to a different section of the bookstore (or library, or bookshelf, or internet, or whatever).

The section a book is shelved in shouldn't determine or affect (...effect? ugh, I can never remember) whether or how much we like a book. How we feel about the book should be the only thing that matters.

((Except of course that's a 'perfect world' view if you read it at face value, and that's bollocks. So remember to think about what you're reading, whatever it is.))

Don't tell me what I'm implying. If you must say something, say what you infer from it.
Use a dictionary if you're not sure what that means.


tayastorm: (Default)

April 2012

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