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Topic: Romance books = Trashy books???

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Subject: Romance books = Trashy books???
Date Posted: 7/30/2011 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
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I've seen lately two threads where romance books were described as "trashy".  Now I completely understand everyone has their own likes, tastes and opinions, but why do you think romance is considered trashy?  Are they still being viewed as the bodice ripper types popular in the 80s and haven't be able to shed that image? Do you think romance novels are trashy?  And if not, why do you think others do?  And what could be done to change the opinion of those who only see romance novels as something to read when it's not important what you read?  Why is love, sex (or not) and an HEA seen as being less than a great book?

I only read romance books and it saddens me to see them disparaged and belittled. Wish I knew what to say to change people's minds. 

Date Posted: 7/30/2011 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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Since it is a genre I have read all my life I feel that people that say that romance is trashy is just sad. they are missing out on some awesome reading, but it is there loss. I don't sweat it. If they want to keep their narrow view of the world that is on them. I wouldn't waste my time trying to change their mind or defend what I read. I just iggy them. :-)

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 12:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
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You know, it bugs me that on a BOOK trading site, people put down other people's taste in reading!

I do sometimes use the phrase in a jocular way.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 2:04 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I get a kick out of someone calling it trashy in a thread that's titled something to the effect of 'a genre I'll never read' and saying they're trashy for a reason...I read several subgenres or romance -some I consider trashy and sometimes hey I like that ok?! there are a lot of genres I have no comprehension why anyone would even WANT to read but to call them trashy when I haven't read but maybe a few in each of them - if at all- is crazy.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 6:40 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2010
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You know, it bugs me that on a BOOK trading site, people put down other people's taste in reading! 

This has always annoyed me too! Makes no sense.

Ive only been reading romance for two or three years maybe. Growing up thats the only thing my mom would read though, and i always thought it was funny but i never called them trashy. I grew up reading lots and lots of horror, thriller, suspense, mystery type books. Now i still read those, but the second i picked up my first romance i was a goner. LOL....

I could never even imagine myself reading some kind of non-fiction historical type book for enjoyment but there are tons of people that do. I could easily call it trash...as it would be worth nothing to me....but i have more respect for people than that. Even people i dont know.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 7:56 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2006
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I think it's due to the number and frequency of bare chested men on the covers. If the deal were reveresed and men had a lot of cheap novels that had near naked women on them, would we judge the covers or the story inside?

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
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Romances have had a bad rap for so long, not sure how it all came about, and it's been very difficult to overcome the label.

I always like to think that they just haven't read the "right book" that would convert them - maybe not to an avid romance fan but to at least turn their opinion around. I don't read some genres but I wouldn't rip at them because it's wonderful that people are reading, period. I wish people would just be more open-minded, less judgmental.

Gail

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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hmm I consider the near naked men on the cover 'art' but I"ve noticed a LOT have near naked women...what's up with that?! most of us who read them I assume are heterosexual women(or at least bi)and I'd rather see a hunky man on the cover than a woman with her boobs falling out of her dress. but yeah I guess the covers DO make them look trashy - that's a peeve of mine - I want the cover to reflect what the book is like - cutesy for cutesy and sexy for sexy or at least get the description right on the back of the book.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2010
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I don't sweat it at all. I know no women besides myself in real life who admit to reading romance novels and I find it laughable. It's literally a billion plus dollar industry. They're the most popular and best selling genre in modern literature flat out. Clearly, I'm not the only one reading them. 

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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I think there a lot of closet romance readers out there.  I've noticed that mystery novels are starting to sport sexy covers. Probably because romance is such a big seller, they want to attract that audience.  I was out somewhere recently and there were a bunch of books with romantic suspsense type covers (you know the ones with the couples face but the book is all one color-I don't know how to describe it better but it's common in  romantic suspense).  Anyway-I pick one up and it's reprints of the Peter Dekker/Rina Lazerous books by Faye Kellerman.  Definately no romance.  But I'm sure they put those covers on them to attract the big romance crown that buys a lot of books. 

I always comment when someone says romance is trashy.  While I read mysteries-I personally think gory horror books are trashy.  While I like a good murder mystery, to read about super graphic, gory nasty stuff to me is "trashy".

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 10:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
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I read thriller/mysterys as well and have read some that skated the horror genre. My dad used to read nothing but how to books or books about true crime, but I never dissed what he read...I felt it was his right to read whatever he wanted. He has never once made comments about what I read. Although I did evenutally convert him to my suspense. Now he can't get enough of Jack Reacher(Lee Child) or Pendergast (Preston and Childs). I asked if he wanted to read one of my romances and he laughed and held up his hands and said he was good. My mom is an extreme romance reader as well. Variety is what makes the world go round.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
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I refer to them as trashy in a joking way especially if mentioned in the company of male coworkers and the erotica I refer to as dirty books:lol: I don't get offended at the phrase but the tone and intent with which it is used. My brother and I had this arguement as teens in the early 80's. I couldn't get his interest in sci-fi/fantasy and he certainly didn't get my obsession with Harlequins and Johanna Lindsay books:lol: We made a deal to each read one book of each others chosen genre all the way through. Gotta say neither of us could do it! I chose Fires in Winter by JL and he chose Lord of the Rings. Destined to fail:lol: He did enjoy the rather graphic for its day sex scenes and skimmed for others (dog earred pages) and I did not take the book back :lol: I do read other stuff but my go to is romance in whichever subcategory catches my interest. I don't try to convert anyone and rarely even talk about the books/plotlines to anyone other than ya'll. However, I do mention the dogs from Getting Rid of Bradley only because I can picture them so vividly and it makes me laugh out loud for real whenever I reread the book:)

Last Edited on: 7/31/11 10:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/31/2011 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
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Burns my britches when they say romance books are trashy, I have to walk away from threads like that.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
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See, I always thought people meant trashy in the way Susanna described above:  I get a kick out of someone calling it trashy in a thread that's titled something to the effect of 'a genre I'll never read' and saying they're trashy for a reason

There are a LOT of genres I'll never read.  Totally uninterested in horror for example but I'd never go saying it's trashy.  I don't see the redeeming quality in reading it but I know a lot of people like it.  I don't get putting down genres you just don't want to read.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
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I'm reminded of being at the lending library at family camp - a woman came in and told me she was looking for a "real" book, not romance. I scanned the shelves and found a novel by Anne Tyler, an excellent novelist, but she wasn't interested. She wound up being thrilled to find a nonfiction book of a type that I personally would consider fluff and would never think of as a "real" book.  I was amused but didn't say anything. We're all different.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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I hate people who think romance novels are trashy. This is a copy of PM's between me and someone who ordered an audiobook from me

 

I sent this: PS if you read romance novels, I have alot of them posted and I am always willing to deal.

 


her response:
Oh, I hate romance(I have a great hubby, don't need to read about it, LOL-not implying you do) but thanks anyway.

 

I about came unglued.

 

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
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Oh, I hate romance(I have a great hubby, don't need to read about it, LOL-not implying you do) but thanks anyway.

That is so funny! I bet the great majority of women who read romance novels are in a happy relationship.  I don't read romance to experience falling in love, I have already done that, I read to enjoy the journey of two (and sometimes more wink) people finding their happiness and love.  

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2010
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"Oh, I hate romance(I have a great hubby, don't need to read about it, LOL-not implying you do) but thanks anyway."

Considering every study shows that romance novel readers are a pretty accurate representation of the population at large (i.e. equally as educated, equally as likely to be married or in a committed relationship, equally as likely to be employed etc.) that's an incredibly uneducated and silly thing to say. I would have called her on it. 

 

ETA: Then again, she might have some significant problems of her own. Anyone rushing to tell a complete stranger that her marriage is strong based on the "threat" posed by a few romance novels probably is overreacting for a personal reason.



Last Edited on: 7/31/11 6:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/31/2011 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2010
Posts: 11,515
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"Oh, I hate romance(I have a great hubby, don't need to read about it, LOL-not implying you do) but thanks anyway." 

Now see...thats just ignorance.

 I read to enjoy the journey of two (and sometimes more wink) people finding their happiness and love 

Oooh...the more the merrier...LOL.

I think there a lot of closet romance readers out there. 

I agree. They're just not ballsy enough to admit it.

 

 

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
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I sometimes call romance novels "trashy" with other Romance readers, but I won't do it with anyone else.  It's kind of like being able to make fun of your own friends as a joke.  All fiction is formulaic to some degree, and Romance novels are not more so than some other genres.  The main difference that I can tell is that most Romance readers are women.

I have had people who read one books year mock me for my "trashy" books.  I even once had a man on the train tell me that a pretty girl like me didn't need to read that trash when she could get a nice man.  I refrained from punching him in the mouth, and instead told him that as I was an adult,  had an undergrad lit degree and was on my way to finishing an Ivy League doctrorate, I felt myself qualified to choose my own reading material and needed no advice on my personal life from strangers. 

 

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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My ex read a book every couple of years. Yet he considered himself a more serious reader because I read mostly mysteries and romance.  I read 100+ a year through most of our marriage including a lot of classics like many Dickens, Jane Austin, Bronte, Don Qiote (spell?), Count of Monte Crisco and stuff like that.  He only considered books that were instructional (Chess, Poker etc...,) or something like Moby Dick or Sun Tzu as real reading.

Date Posted: 7/31/2011 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
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I hate when people say that too. I'm a romance addict ,and I am insulted when a friend of mine always imply's her Stephen King books should be worth more at a UBS . ( Because for trade ins we get credit)  I dont insult her books, She even talked me into reading " Misery"  which I liked but horror is not my cup of tea. I think she was trying to reform me....lol   not gonna happen.

Date Posted: 8/1/2011 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
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The covers certainly don't help the stereotype.  That said, I don't put down the reading taste of other people and I wish they would extend the same courtesy.

Date Posted: 8/1/2011 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
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 I know no women besides myself in real life who admit to reading romance novels and I find it laughable.

Amanda, I'm the same way. My friends and family are mostly book snobs. Which is why I was so ecstatic to find PBS and a whole cache of women (and some men!) who share my love for "trashy" books.

Like Karen, I hold a B.A. in literature, and have read hundreds of classics, but I didn't enjoy half of them as much as I do Catherine Anderson or Kate Pearce. I would wager a guess that 98 percent of the people who call romance books trashy have never even read one. Which is a damn shame, because they might be surprised at what they find.

Date Posted: 8/1/2011 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
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That said, I don't put down the reading taste of other people and I wish they would extend the same courtesy.

Oh Amen!  I have a good friend at work who reads only mysteries.  Occasionally I have picked up one or two she's recommended to me but as a whole, I'm not into them.  She asked me the other day what I was reading - it was the Pemberley Ranch book which was a western rendition of Pride and Prejudice - she actually snorted at me.   I'm really not sure now that I want to keep her as a friend after that.

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