I sure as heck used to be.
I used to look down on people who read romance and fantasy. I was all about the classics and literary fiction. Then one fateful day I found myself without anything reading. My ex-husband is obsessed with the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I thought to myself, “Self why don’t you see why he loves them so much?” I started with the prequel and was hooked. I read all 10 zillion books in a month and a half. That led to reading every word Brandon Sanderson wrote. (How does he write so much? Is he a machine?)Then I read A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. After that my oldest daughter wanted to read LOTR. I decided to read them with her so we could discuss the books. I found myself hooked on fantasy. Big time hooked. I became all fantasy all the time. If it was good, bad or ugly I would devour it.
Two years ago I spent most of the year reading the Russian Classics. More recently I have embarked on a life long project to read all the books that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I’ve read 32 so far with varying degrees of enjoyment.
Back to romance. When I was about eleven my parents and I were spending a week with my aunt and uncle. I was bored out of my mind. I’m 49 years old, so back then there was no internet, smartphones, or electronic gewgaws to keep me entertained. My aunt had this massive collection of gothic romances. We are talking Harlequin here. I probably read 20 of them. Remembering that episode made me realize that there is nothing wrong with romance novels.
As you can see my reading habits, much like my writing, is all over the place. Lately I’ve been reading quite a bit of YA fantasy, which generally involves romance–The two genres I snubbed the most. Never say never.
There are some books that I used to almost feel like I need to apologize for enjoying. Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare come to mind. Why should apologize for enjoying those two authors? It’s not harming anyone, and the books are great escapism and fun. Now those books are prominently displayed on my main bookshelf. Front and center in the family room. And I proudly wear my Maas Trash t-shirt.
There are a few popular series that I don’t like like Twilight and The Hunger Games, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. If they spark joy for you, then I’m happy the books exist.
Read what you like. Reading is not a contest. When you breathe your last breath will it really matter that you have only read what the bookish world at large deems worthwhile?
In conclusion, unless the only book you read is The Turner Diaries you might want to rethink your life choice. Otherwise just read.
Happy reading y’all
PS For my fellow Sanderson fans, how does he manage to connect everything in the Cosmere? I’m convinced that even his tax returns are part of the Cosmere. No complaints, just an observation.