Thursday, July 31, 2008

To Read or Not To Read...

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."

Say what?

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".

1 comment:

Alice said...

America, land of the free, home of snobs. A snob for everything and anything has it's snobs. Usually they're all about blue blood or money but they're actually some in everything. Car snobs, food snobs, you name it. The snobs used to say the same thing about Sci-fi too.

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert

"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford