Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It Turns Out That I Can Kinda Deal With Romance. Occasionally.

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?


  1. I tend to avoid vampire stories like the plague. When Twilight came out I was in highschool/college, and everyone around me was obsessed with it. Talk about cheesy romance...I somehow managed to escape those years without ever reading them. Just the blurbs and snippets from the movies alone were enough to sustain me for life.
    So, recently I went against my rule of no vampires, and read A Discovery of Witches. I was pleasantly surprised. This is how books on witches/vampires should be done, and totally geared towards adults.

    Sarah @

    1. I'm with you on this one. I've only read two vampire books: Dracula and Fledgling. They were scary and they didn't sparkle. I'm OK with romance as long as it's just one of the many sub plots. Sometimes it helps to spice up the story. But romance as a genre is something I could never venture in.

    2. Well Dracula is THE vampire book. I have read some historical fiction based on Vlad the Impaler and the COuntess of Bathory, loved both of those.

  2. I don't mind romance - AS LONG AS it is not the point of the story, or at least the only thing going on. A contemporary romance bores me to threaten stabbing hot needles in my eyeballs. Historical romance, a little better, but I have to be interested in the time period, and the lady needs to be witty or gritty, if you will. Something different. Paranormal romance doesn't interest me, but I am okay with it if it is a secondary or even background scenario to what the real issue/plot is of a paranormal/fantasy book. I would never pick up a book just to read about romance. I always have assumed this is because I don't lack for romance in my personal life. I in no way think that of romance genre lovers, but I do wonder if that is one of the issues for me. Why read about romance when you experience a great relationship daily?

  3. While I certainly understand that not every one likes romance (just as I don't care much for science fiction and dystopian novels) I'm not sure I quite agree with you that romances follow the same insipid pattern. Maybe it's different when you're reading an actual romance novel, where the plot revolves are two people falling in love, or a mystery with romance (or something along those lines) and a big part of the plot is the "who did it?".

    And, of course, there is some similarity between romances because it's about how and why two people come together. And there are tropes, as well, but I always felt that if the characters were well developed, than the trope isn't really a big deal.Of course, I'm clearly a romance fan. There is a lot more out there than Fifty Shades of Grey (which isn't so romance-y in my opinion) and Twilight.

    And I do think that some of the unrealistic happily ever after is part of the charm, certainly for lovers of romance, but I can also understand that that isn't everyone's cup of tea. Either way, I'm glad that sometimes you don't mind it that much.

    In general I'm not a fan of science fiction but I do love The Lunar Chronicles.

  4. I have a problem with magic. When the day is saved by some magical ability. All turns out ok because of some magic charm. Ugghhh.... I could write that (and I'm not a writer.) Books with a touch of the paranormal, coupled with some creative thinking and smart characters are OK. but when the magic wand saves the day.

  5. I'm not sure that I avoid them, but I'm SUPER picky about sci fi and high fantasy. I think it's because so many of the common themes are overdone. So I'm really only interested if the book is really different or the writing quality is exceptional. My husband loves those genres though, so he's introduced me to some good ones.

  6. Interesting post. I also tend to avoid romance. It’s fine when a book has a romantic subplot, but once the romance becomes the main focus of the book, I stop caring. Romances just don’t interest me.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  7. I agree with you -- when romance takes over a book that is clearly marked as something else with a touch of romance on the back cover for instance, I am irritated. It's turned me off books completely and I've happily stopped reading them as a result. But, lately I did read a couple of romances where the romance wasn't overpowering and other parts of their characters' lives were more important than the romance -- even though it was marked as a romance. I liked it. I don't know if I liked it alot, but I definitely enjoyed it.

  8. I agree so much! I hate when the romance takes over the plot and becomes the only plot. Contemporary romance is fine, because at least I go in knowing what I'm getting, but does fantasy need to be only a romantic plot? Does sci-fi? NO. I don't need a neat-new-guy in every book I read!

    Sarcasm & Lemons

  9. I love a good romance. A book without a little romance is an odd read for me!

  10. I feel like I could have written this post! I read romances when I was in high school but I stayed away from them for ages after that. Now, I usually have one going on my phone (and, I probably shouldn't say this, but most of the time I spend reading romances is in the bathroom)--but I'll admit that for every one that I finish, I'll have given up on 10-15 other titles.

  11. haha love this. VC Andrews seems to be an author that Everyone devours, and yet they get turned off of books for a while too.

  12. Let your website has a home


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