Romance in books seems to be one of the most contentious topic debates in the blogging world. Considering the love-it-or-hate-it debates around Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight, the topic of romance has become more polarizing than ever.
I, personally, am no particular fan of romance. After spending about three straight years devouring almost everything V. C. Andrews ever wrote, I—understandably, I think—got a little sick of romance. Though I more or less stopped reading V. C. Andrews a decade ago, my general impatience with romance hasn’t abated much. In so many cases, romances in books follow the same insipid pattern: instalove, misunderstandings (however many they need to keep the book going), then happy ending (probably). So predictable, so blah. So not my thing.
Because of this, I tend to avoid anything that openly advertises romance in the blurb or in the title (or—puke—on the cover). There are plenty of other genres to keep me interested; I haven’t really felt the lack of romance in my life. I will admit—I think this miiiiight have something to do with the fact that I’ve been in a serious relationship for seven years, and it’s pretty easy to see how unrealistic most fictional relationships are. This might not be the case for all fictional relationships, but it’s the case for a lot of them, in my opinion.
I did, however, just recently pick up (and enjoy!) two different books that advertised romance. And frankly, I was surprised to find that I didn’t hate them. I mean, yeah, the romances were terribly unrealistic in a lot of ways and frankly like “…how? Why?” but since I knew it was coming, I didn’t mind it so much. And I think I hit on what I dislike about books with romance: when the romance is unexpected.
If I’m reading a thriller or a horror story or something, the last thing I want is a romance getting in the way of things. Like, I get that it makes the stakes higher because now the guy HAS TO SAVE THE GIRL THAT HE JUST MAGICALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH TWO DAYS AGO, but…it would be nice if, for once, someone wants to solve a crime or whatever for the sake of…justice? Doing the right thing? I don’t know. There are so many situations where the romance is superfluous or frankly just annoying.
But knowing one was coming, and knowing I had willingly picked up the books knowing this, helped me let it slide a little bit more, and I even let myself enjoy it. It’s still not really my thing anymore, but at least now I know that I won’t hate everything that hints at romance. The key for me, too, was that the romance in each of these books, though certainly part of and important to the plot, was still secondary to the main storyline.
So believe it or not, after a decade or more of avoiding romance and being annoyed anytime it popped up somewhere I didn’t expect, it seems my horizons have re-expanded to tentatively include romance again, or to at least not exclude it completely.
Are there topics like this that you tend to avoid, but don’t mind occasionally—as long as you’re aware of them?