Okay not really. But kind of. Sort of.
Alright, yes it’s true.
My brain doesn’t want to think anymore it seems. Reading literature is too much work. I want mindless reading, thank you very much. And so, (for quite some time now) I’m hooked on romance novels. Yes I’m freely admitting it here. Smoochy, kissy, steamy there’s-always-a-happy-ending love(r) stories.
I now feel a need to defend myself by explaining I majored in English Literature. I’ve read the likes of Dante, Donne and Shakespeare. I adore Jane Austen (yes, Jane wrote of love and romance but also of Victorian society, its mores, etc.).
I’ll have you know one of my favourite books of all time is Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Oh and I recently finished The Night Circus* by Erin Morgenstern (will someone please make a movie based on this book?)
However, I’m a sucker for unrequited love finally fulfilled after misunderstandings are resolved, a painful past forgiven and/or a cruel foe is thwarted.
And it’s not such a bad thing to read smut when it’s centred around romantic love, right? Right.
Did you know? Love is in the air
According to the Romance Writers of America:
- Romance fiction generated $1.368 billion in sales in 2011
- From 2007–2011, romance was the second top-performing category (based on consolidated ranking across the NYT, USA Today, and PW best-seller lists)
- Romance fiction sales are estimated at $1.336 billion for 2012
- 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008. (source: RWA Reader Survey)
- Romance fiction was the largest share of the U.S. consumer market in 2011 at 14.3 percent.
Wow. Oh and get this…while women make up 91% of romance readers…men make up the other 9%. We know you’re out there men…we know.
I’m 50 shades amazed!
Of course I can’t write about romantic fiction and not mention E.L. James best-selling erotica novel. While these stats are UK-based they do demonstrate how rapidly 50 Shades of Gray rose in popularity.
While people either love or hate this book, the sheer number of people who have read it is impressive. It’s also worth noting how freely people talk about it. How many romantic or erotic novels have you seen become “water-cooler conversation”? Not that many.
Check out the complete 50 Shades of Gray infograhic at mediabistro.com. The stats on Ana’s “drinking problem” are pretty funny.
I would say that the increasing adoption of mobile devices and e-readers has contributed at least in part to the surge in sales of romantic and erotic fiction.
For several years now we’ve been given the opportunity to download our romantic fiction fix as e-books. We can read these e-books in public (on the bus, in our doctor’s waiting room, at our fav café, etc.) with no one the wiser about what we’re reading.
Like say the story of one young woman’s journey into bondage, sadism/masochism…and the like…
This site right here is my case in point. These romance novel book covers do nothing but invite mockery.
With cover images like those, of course I’m going to keep my interest in this genre on the down low.
But I’m throwing my sheepish embarrassment aside. Because sometimes you just need to lose yourself in some mindless smoochy-smooch reading. So there. The next time you see me reading an e-book, ask me what I’m reading. We can laugh at the book title (and cover) together.
Now spill it (if you dare). Do you read romance novels? If so, who’s your favourite author?
* I need to acknowledge that Night Circus is a love story. But it’s so much more, and definitely worth reading.