Where has the romance gone?

I’m currently in the process of adding all of the books I’ve read to my Goodreads account (so far I’ve added 708 out of 2,041 so I’m getting there!).  I’m sure there must be an easier way of doing that just adding each one manually but I’m actually quite enjoying looking back at the books I’ve read and remembering where I was and what I was doing at the time.  Whether it’s being really tempted to throw my paperback copy of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen across the sand on a boiling hot day in Malta or going into my local bookshop on a Saturday and trying to decide which of the ‘Sweet Valley’ books I wanted to spend my pocket money on.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my e-reader but if I’ve really loved a book, there’s nothing like seeing the actual book sat on my bookshelf almost like an old friend.

My Bookshelves

The photo above is the top half of one of my bookcases.

I used to get that same feeling of a joyous reunion with old friends whenever I went into a bookshop.  I could spend hours walking up and down the aisles and very rarely left empty-handed but even though I read more now than I’ve ever done before, most times when I go into a bookshop here in the UK I’m in and out in less than 10 minutes.

I’ve just come back from Boston and when I went to the Barnes & Noble over there, they had a dedicated romance section and I got that same feeling that I mentioned above when I looked at the shelves and saw so many books that I’d read and enjoyed sitting there just waiting for somebody else to discover them for the first time.  But in Manchester, where I live, the biggest bookstore here has sections dedicated to crime and to science fiction but not romance.

Take Colleen Hoover for example – she’s the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 11 novels and 5 novellas.  One of her books, the beautiful and heart-wrenching ‘It Ends With Us‘ won Best Romance at the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2016 and yet you can’t find a single one of her books on the shelves of any of the bookstores here in Manchester.

Maybe it’s because most romance authors and readers are women and that’s why we’re not taken as seriously?  As the author Jennifer Weiner wrote in this Guardian article “Dismissing popular things that women like doesn’t require some special kind of bravery.  It happens all day, every day.”

I don’t know what the real reason is but I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with a society where people would rather read about twisted serial killers and brutal scalpings rather than falling in love.

So I guess until that changes, I’ll just have to continue to bypass my local bookshops and buy my favourite books online.

 


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