On the romance genre 💌💋

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Dear reader,

I barely ever write discussion posts because I never felt as if I was good enough to do this, or as if I I was simply good at writing those kind of blog posts. As today is Valentine’s Day I wanted to talk about something which can be seen surprising from me: the romance genre. It used to be my favourite, it brought me a lot… until I stopped reading it in 2017.

Without further ado, here is everything I think about the romance genre.


 My love story with the romance genre

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I have always loved reading. I was the child who begged her parents to take her to any bookshop, who would spend all her time her nose stuck in a book and so on. I started with fantasy novels then moved on to classics, to contemporaries, to sci-fi and dystopian books even. And one day, as I was 17 years old, I read my first romance book, which resulted in me buying tons and tons and tons of them as the years passed.

Reading romance made me so happy. It made me feel as if I was in love myself, which wasn’t the case as I never had a boyfriend. It made me feel less alone, taught me some things even and it fed my hopelessly romantic soul. But, on a sad day, every thing changed.

 Our breakup

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I guess I just got tired. Tired of reading problematic things in romance books (so. much. fatphobia. and. slutshame), tired of reading the same story over and over again about two white cis straight person, tired of all the useless drama created in all those books (accidents, miscommunication, diseases, death, rape even and son on). And therefor one day I decided to stop it all, to never ever read any romance books in the future, which is extremely dramatic, but that’s what I wanted and needed at that time.

To be quite honest I was happy to be done with this genre. I wanted to read more of other things, to open my eyes to new genres and to discover something else about literature. But obviously, our story wasn’t over yet…

 Why I think it’s important

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Despite saying good bye to it, I always thought this genre was trashed for no reasons and should actually be considered as something big. Indeed, for many centuries we told women that they shouldn’t want sex, that they shouldn’t enjoy it and that they shouldn’t even have it with any other men than their husbands. Can you imagine how empowering it is to read books about women who know what they want, who love themselves just as they are, who claim to love sex as much as others, who enjoy having sex and so on? Even though I’m asexual myself, it never stopped me from seeing how important this genre is. It’s all about women being sexy because they wanted to be and not because they were asked to, women controlling their bodies, women changing everything by owning themselves instead of being anyone else’s. No matter what we can say about this genre, we can never take that away, that it allowed women to redefine themselves.

 Where we are now

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And so over the years I read, what, maybe three romance books. I tried, because I missed it. But I was always disappointed, maybe because I was too hard with them. I tried to read more diverse romance books though, which helped a bit. Until one day, which was last month, I read Outmatched and everything changed. It reminded me how fun romance is, how sweet and calming it is. It reminded me that romance books don’t have to be problematic, don’t have to be cliché. There is so many books under this genre and it’s not fair to say goodbye to it because I read a few disappointments.

Truly, I missed it. It’s not my favourite genre and it’s not something I’ll probably be reading all the time, but I want to read more of it. That’s why I joined a friend’s bookclub about it, called the Romancetheque Bookclub. It’s the one that made me discovered Outmatched, and it’s been so much fun ever since. I’ve never really been in a bookclub but I know I’ll be in this one for a long, long time.


And so, that’s it.

Do you like romance books? Where do you stand on the subject? What is your favourite romance book?

Love always,

Clara

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7 thoughts on “On the romance genre 💌💋”

  1. This is such a wonderful post! I’ve only really “discovered” romance books in the past year, in part because I was asked to help run the romance book club at the bookstore where I work. It’s not a genre that I would normally gravitate toward, but I’ve enjoyed a few that I’ve read quite a bit! I’m really glad that I’ve come into the genre recently, when there’s been a noticeable push for more diverse stories. The one I’m reading this month has a black, chronically ill main character (Get a Life Chloe Brown) and I can’t imagine that would have existed a while ago. I think romance gets a lot of unnecessary hate, especially from people who don’t understand how important it is to have stories that prioritize women’s desires and voices. Yay, romance!

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    1. I’ll definitely check the book you just talked about!! I personally just finished The Worst Best Man and the MC is a Brazilian woman and it was great to finally not have a whole white cast romance book!! I also read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and the MC is a Korean man, both books talk a lot about their respective cultures and I adored it 😀
      Yay, romance! as you said! It shouldn’t be trash talked so much 😦

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  2. I haven’t read many romance books, and I think it might be because I’ve always been influenced by the problems you just stated. It really never interested me that much. But I read some recently that were quite nice and I’m willing to give it more tries!! ^^

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  3. I love romances! But I’ll admit to having had similar experience. When I first discovered the genre, I read a mixed bag. There were some lovely stories, but those were the few in the sea of many terrible ones. Then a few years ago, I returned to romance and had a much better experience. I now research the book beforehand to make sure it has no miscommunication or unnecessary angst. I’ve figured out what I like and whose recommendations I trust. So these past few months I’ve been reading some fantastic books, which makes me so happy that I gave the genre another chance. At this point romance is my go to when I’m stressed or really busy, because they’re pretty light and easy reads and they tend to make me smile. And as long as it continues to make me happy, I’ll keep reading romance!

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