Why I'm reading romance novels
I spent a long time thinking about how to motivate introverts yesterday while I was running. I have a lot to say about that topic, but I don't have a lot of time to write out all my thoughts, so I'll save that one for another day.
It is a torrential downpour right now in the best way possible, and I just want to kick my shoes off and go outside and run around in it. One of my favorite memories from college happened during a torrential rainstorm at night - my roommates and I went out and splashed in our shorts and tanks, and were instantly soaked to the bone. What a lovely, freeing feeling to be completely soaked and running and dancing. I'm rarely dressed appropriately at this point in my life for a rain frolic, but I should make it a life goal to be ready to take advantage of crazy rain.
So I've been reading quite a few romance novels lately, and while I haven't been quick to publicize that around, I have been thinking about how they are sort of a misjudged genre. I read widely, and love literary fiction, horror, offbeat books, and popular nonfiction, but generally avoid mysteries, family dramas, and gratuitous death. So romance novels usually have insanely ridiculous covers that give them away immediately, are usually cheap and small paperbacks, and have kind of a reputation for who reads them. I won't insult anyone by describing that reputation, but I think we all have a picture in our heads of who reads romance novels, and it isn't pretty.
I'm not going to be the first or most eloquent person to say that the picture in our heads is wrong, that's been done all over the internet for years, but I am going to sit here and say that sometimes it's really nice to read about two people falling in love, where their love is the focus of the story. I love being in love, I loved falling in love, and it's nice to be reminded of how fun that is. I like to be reminded to treasure what I have with Jim. And I like to read books that don't take themselves so seriously!
Social commentary can take many different forms, and I think that the way we collectively judge the romance novel might be indicative of a larger problem - that we don't, as a culture, value love enough. The choice of who to spend your life with might be one of the most important choices ever, and the right partner can get you through just about any problem life throws at you. The wrong partner might be the biggest problem life can throw at you. And realizing that the super-handsome guy that you've been bickering with for months in 1814 is actually the love of your life might be a good life lesson. Or maybe just a lot of fun to read.