Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Respect for Romance?

This is something of a thorn in my side, so bear with me.

Popular culture is filled with romance. It's everywhere. Advertizing campaigns are centered around sex appeal. TV shows like Gray's Anatomy, Castle, and many more thrive on the romantic plot elements. We keep watching them, in part, for the sexual tension.

Music is emotion based -- and yes, most is centered on the romantic conflict.

Movies, whether billed as romances or not, often include a romantic element. Why? Because we like them. We can relate. And it's a good way to better understand ourselves.

And I rarely see someone roll their eyes in dismissive generality at music, or movies, or TV for that matter.

Why then is it that any book shelved in the romance section of a bookstore gets the social snub? Most often the people who criticize "those books" haven't read "those books". Just as with all genre fiction, there is a wide gamet of material out there. And I admit, there are books that are "all about sex." But those are pretty clear about that fact in the packaging and the title -- so if that's what you're looking for you can find it. Let's stop generalizing the romance genre. Let's view each book for it's own content and entertainment value.

I can't tell you how many people have said to me, "I never read a romance until [insert: event, received gift, urging from a friend, here]. I had no idea! Now I'm hooked."

There are hundreds of fabulous books, deep books, inspiring books, amazingly well-written books sitting on those romance shelves. Be brave and pick one up and give it a try.

But beware, romance novels can be addictive. And if you're allergic to an upbeat and fulfilling ending, you might just want to keep your nose in the air and walk right on past the romance aisle.

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