What just happened?

Hi. My name is Dontaná, and I read erotic romance. I feel no shame in saying that. I interact with my favorite authors, most of whom write highly sexual novels. So, why did I hesitate to write that in response to the question, “What kind of books do you read?” I started school the other day, and we’re in the getting to know you stage. Everybody writes an intro post or creates a wordle, and then discusses. Meet the classmates and the instructor. Explore common interests. Query uncommon interests.  We’re all future LIS professionals, most of us want to be librarians in various settings. So, again I ask myself, why did I hesitate?

Maybe I fear the thought that someone will come back with, “So, have you read 50 Shades of Grey?” To which my answer would be “Hell no. I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole. I applaud her for writing a series. That takes guts, but I’m not ever going to read it.” I fear that the 50 Shades phenomena is all the general public knows about the erotic romance and erotica genres. I fear being pigeonholed. There are so many wonderful authors, like Lauren Dane, Madelynne Ellis, Megan Hart, Jacqueline Carey, Mathilde Madden, Portia da Costa, Alison Tyler, Kit Rocha/Moira Rogers, that have been around for decades, to much success and fandom. I don’t have time for 50 Shades of Grey. Maybe I don’t want to be seen as that girl who reads the sexy books. But I’m already that girl in my personal life. What should I care that my classmates know that I read the sexy, dirty, downright filthy, but oh so good books? I shouldn’t! My reading tastes have been this way since I was 12 years old and first discovered Laurell K. Hamilton when my sister brought home Cerulean Sins from the library, didn’t like it, and passed it my way.

Or maybe I don’t want someone to use the dreaded phrase “trashy romance novels”.  There’s nothing trashy about them! Yes, there are romance novel tropes. Of course there are. There are horror story tropes, cop drama tropes, serial killer tropes. Everything has been done before; the trick is to make your version feel fresh. But I’m getting off track here. There is nothing trashy about the romance genre, any of it. Sure, they’re quick to read. But some of them span six books or more, like Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton family and Smythe-Smith family or Celeste Bradley’s The Liar’s Club or Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster family and Bastion Club or Johanna Lindsay’s Mallory/Anderson family! Come on, I could go on for DAYS!  There is nothing trashy at all about these characters, their journey to love, and their fight to remain true to themselves. Noted these are Regency romance novels, but I mentioned them in my post, too, with a little hesitation.

No more. No more hesitation. No more closeted feelings of shame in my favorite genre. I am a reader of romance novels, all types, but especially erotic romance. Don’t like it? I don’t care.

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