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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What’s So Wrong About Romance? by Joan Reeves

Why do some people feel compelled to judge a person based on reading choice?

We who write and read romance are, sadly, accustomed to having our intelligence, maturity, and even our grasp on reality questioned because of what we read and/or write.

We are told we write about unrealistic people in unrealistic situations—as if writing about a man and woman seeking love in a committed relationship was something that happens only in an alternate reality, in other words, in science fiction.

If that were true, then there would be no long-term happy marriages. I have one of those. Thirty-six years and counting. Just about all my friends—especially those who write—have that kind of relationship too.

Snobbery Rears Its Ugly Head

For many years, reading romance in the summer—the eagerly embraced guilty pleasure of beach reads—seemed to be accepted by those who looked down on the romance genre albeit with condescending amusement. Not any more.

Lately, I’ve perused several websites that define the beach read as a trashy, throw-away novel, frequently of the romance genre, that people take to the beach.

Isn’t it heartwarming to read that the books we love to read and write are considered throw-away trash?

In a New York Times article, Elizabeth Strout discussed the beach read. The one part of the article, which reported the summer reading of several literary authors, with which I completely agree, was what Sandra Cisneros said: "I never feel guilty about reading any kind of book. Books are medicine, each one a specific prescription for whatever ails us."

What Do You Think?

The name of this website is Smart Girls Read Romance. I'm proud of that name not only because I proposed the name to the other founding members of the blog but also because I believe those words. Smart women know that true love can be had in this crazy world. We know it's not easy. We know it requires work and commitment, and we are willing to make that investment in a relationship.

We like to read romance, not because it's fantasy, but because we believe in the power of love, and in a book—particularly a romance novel—we know that wrongs will be righted, good will prevail over evil, love will prevail against all odds. We know that's different from real life precisely because we are smart women in touch with reality.

We are not hopeless romantics but hopeful romantics. Always hopeful that love will prevail in this crazy, war-racked world of ours where there's so much hate that fills the headlines.

Bottom Line

Never be ashamed of your reading taste. Love is empowering. At the end of life, love is the only thing that remains. I've sat a death vigil, and I know that in that last breath of life, the dying person wants only to whisper words of love to those who remain.

Post Script

I celebrate Beach Reads that are romance because they're entertaining and affirming of love, life, and relationships. Here's Hit The Beach, my video book trailer spotlighting 4 romances designed to make you laugh and feel good.

To be entered to win a copy of one of each of the books shown in the video, leave a LIKE and a comment: LIKE on the YouTube page for the Hit The Beach video and comment here on this post with your Smashwords Registered Email (written out, NOT as a hot link). The contest closes July 22, at 4 pm, when a winner will be randomly chosen. The winner will be notified no later than July 26 by email (sorry for the delay but I have a surgery scheduled).

More About Joan

(Joan Reeves writes Sassy, Sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers with audio editions available at Amazon,, and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free newsletter for writers, and I LUV Books, a free newsletter for readers. Find Joan online: Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Always remember Joan’s Motto: It’s never too late to live happily ever after!)


  1. I read all genres but my favorite is romance. And I never "toss" my books. Thanks for the comments!

  2. Hello, Karren. I read everything too but my fave is also romance. Have a great day.

  3. Wow. You really said it all. Super post, Joan.

  4. Spot on, Joan. I'm also proud to read and write romance.


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