I went to a book club meeting last night. It was actually the first book club that I've ever been to, which is kind of strange, considering that I've spent pretty much my entire life reading, studying, and thinking about books.
A book club, it turns out, isn't that different than any of the college classes I've sat through. Everyone sits around trying to say just enough to look intelligent without saying so much that they look (gasp!) too intellectual. They talk about other books they've read--usually ones that are listed under the "Literature" section at the big box bookstores. Rarely things published in mass market sized paperbacks. Never, never romance.
It's okay to have a happy ending, but only if it's in a somewhat serious book. Otherwise, Nicholas Sparks is about as close as one should come to admitting that they read anything as low-brow as a bodice ripper. At least his books usually balance out the love story with an appropriate tragedy, because we all know that tragedy is serious writing.
I can understand that. For a while I was thankful for the self-checkout stations at the local library. No one needed to see that the piles of books I'd check out were all covered with couples in amorous embraces. My husband asked once, "Aren't you embarrassed to be seen reading those?"
And in truth, I was.
I came to romance novels fairly late in life. I pretty much refused to even consider them when I was younger, and then I majored in English and only wanted to read Important Literature. And then. . . I just got tired of all the "isn't it pretty to think so" endings. I read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and was hooked.
I haven't looked back.
Or, if I have looked back, it's only because I can see now that while Toni Morrison and William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf may have taught me to love literature, Nora Roberts and Julia Quinn and Eloisa James and Karen Marie Moning and about a hundred others taught me to love reading again.
Who taught you?