I do not know when the romance genre gained a reputation for being books of ill-repute — specifically as books that contain “poor writing.” When, according to Romance Writers Of America (I did not know they existed!), romance novels are among the highest earning books in genre, sharing 61%* of just e-book sales — this is not including self-published authors!
For such a strong section of the book industry, it is questionable that there are so many stereotypes of romance readers that only serve to diminish their reading reputation. The Huffington Post wrote a piece investigating, and debunking, a few myths about romance readers. This piece shows how wrong it is to stereotype and shame individuals for liking a specific genre.
Not all romance novels are clichéd narratives and not all of them are about a so-called ideal person. Not all are badly written and not all readers of romance novels are bad at detecting “good” writing.
“‘Easy reading is damn hard writing,’ said none other than esteemed and celebrated author Maya Angelou. When it comes to romance, it often seems like the entire genre has been written off as crap because of a few poorly written books.” Huffington Post
Let’s Yearn For The Good Stuff
Take for instance author of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han. Han’s books (two so far in this series of three) are considered young adult romance — yet, I consider them to be one of the best written books for young adults and adults alike of any genre. Period.**
Why is this so?
First: Han’s characters are not clichéd, her narrative is not predictable — she weaves in young love and angst, humor, genuine drama, and emotional pulls all while writing with care and love for language.
Second: The first page is an excellent hook by expertly drawing readers in with a familiar anecdote that I can vouch for as something that we have all done at one point or another — female AND male AND all.
Third: It is excellent fiction, regardless of its label as romance. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is simply a good story. It is all about love in different forms; not just romantic but familial, platonic, and friendly. This is what makes romance books just so good, in my humble opinion. Jenny Han is a master writer, hands down. I highly recommend reading her books if you have not heard of them. She is on twitter too. | Buy To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Angst Before Hate
That feeling of love, of yearning, of passion, and of desire — let us flood our hearts with it. If you have been an ultimate hater of romance books or if you simply believe that romance is a cheesy genre, open your perspective and think about what makes good fiction good. Should not love be a part of that too? I think so. I hope you do too.
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*These statistics, I believe, were compiled in 2013.
**This is only a political play on the “period” fiasco by the WH press secretary. In this instance, however, the “period” suffices because it is genuinely truthful!