This sort of thing really irritates me, even though I know it shouldn't:
"Romance novels should never be considered 'literature'. Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts and the like should not be allowed to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard."
Uh, honey? Do you read Shakespeare? Emily Bronte or Charlotte Bronte? How about Jane Austin?
OH! How about Edgar Allen Poe? (Annabel Lee is a lovely romance, isn't it, even if it is in poem form?) Or Alexandre Dumas, who wrote perhaps one of the best romantic action/suspense novels ever when he penned The Three Musketeers?
I know, I know. How dare I lump Will, Alex, and EA in with the Bronte sisters, Austin, and Nora Roberts? It might have something to do with the fact that when I read, I read with an open mind. I consider any well written novel to be a source of enjoyment, regardless of the genre. Have I read War and Peace, or The Color Purple? Yes. Do I want to do it again? Not right now, but I might later.
And that's the difference between us. I can sit down today and read Shakespeare's Othello and tomorrow Roberts' Heart of the Sea, without sneering at either. Because I love books, not genres. I'm not tied to what I believe I should be reading (or writing) because someone told me that romance novels are nothing but poorly written, cliched, hackneyed things that harken back to the days when women were helpless and depended on men to protect them from the Big Bad World. I read what makes me laugh, what makes me smile, what makes me cry, and what makes me think.
Do I like all romance novels? No, of course not! Just like I don't like every play Shakespeare has written, or the fact that I prefer Pride and Prejudice over Sense and Sensibility, I can't be expected to like every single romance ever written. And neither can you.
However, if you don't go into it with an open mind, I can tell you that you are going to miss out on some of the best literature ever written.
I mean, according to Publisher's Weekly, half the books sold in the United States are romances. We must be doing something right, and I doubt it's "catering to the lowest common denominator".
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