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Topic: Why do you read romance?

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Subject: Why do you read romance?
Date Posted: 10/18/2007 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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My husband has asked me this question and I really can't come up with an answer that will satisfy him without making him feel "less than romantic" (his words).  So why do YOU read romance?


Date Posted: 10/18/2007 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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I got into them because DH was deployed w/the military and needed some fantasy material.  I also was trying not to watch our TV shows so I could watch them with him when he returned. I got addicted.  I can't get him to try some of the things I've read about.  He calls them my "porno" books.  I tease him that "well in most romance books the hero would do this....," 

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2006
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 3:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2007 5:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Mary that's exactly what my husband calls them too - "porno books".   But I agree with Gayle wholeheartedly.  When you can lose yourself in a book - even the same book over and over like Outlander - its great.


Date Posted: 10/18/2007 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2006
Posts: 749
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I got into reading again because I got sick of  TV. It was a pain to try to keep up with when a new episode would be on. I also have 3 kids and it's easier pick up and put down a book than watch a TV show. I got into romance because I like the happy endings. The couple may have a rocky road getting to it but it's there. I enjoy all kinds of romances and I'd like to say ditto to everything Gayle said.

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 12,172
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I'm a sucker for a happy ending.  I love romance novels because they ALWAYS have a happy ending.  You don't find that in a lot of other kinds of books.  It's fantasy and escape and a great story with a great sexy guy all in one.  What more can you ask for?

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2006
Posts: 29,785
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I started reading romance because I like happy endings. There are so many sub-genres in romance that you could never get bored. I do enjoy cozy mysteries as well, but there again, there's usually a happy ending and they make me feel good! I don't like being creeped out or scared to death and regular mystery fiction just doesn't seem to 'do it' for me. I've tried a few like Dean Koontz and James Patterson but just wasnt interested enough to keep going.

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
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I'm in the feel good group too... I like books that make me feel happy for the characters in the end. I don't want to feel all depressed reading about abuse or horrible divorces... I want characters with flaws of some sort to find happiness with another flawed soul (cause most people in romances are not perfect).  I too read the cozies, cause they're light, don't focus on the death, and do have happy endings.

I love the historical romances cause they transport me to a different time and place.

I have thousnds of other books genres of books around me all day, but rarely find one that even remotely interests me. :)

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2007
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Sign me up for the feel good reasons too. I love being able to lose myself in a book that is guaranteed a happy ending without being too complex.    I can relax and not have to think too much.    Much like a calgon moment.......

Date Posted: 10/18/2007 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I read them for pretty  much all the reasons already listed! I also like light romances to the erotica side depending on my mood and the storyline. I like to lose myself in the stories, get some good ideas, and enjoy the happy ending plus I like reading period. also like mysteries.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 139
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What could be better than reading stories about people who fall in love and wind up finding a way to be together despite obstacles put in their path?  Do we really read these books just for the sex scenes?  No...I bet most romances have no more than a dozen pages of bedroom scenes despite being more than 300 pages long.  Many have no sex at all, yet we snap them up by the dozen.

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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Started reading only mystery, but found I liked those best that had some romance.  Then a friend at the Zoo gave me some of her vampire books, the some straight romances and that was that.  I love this forum for a lot of reasons, but particularly because I discover new authors all the time.  So, thanks!

Date Posted: 10/19/2007 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,660
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Personally, I started reading last year after I had a stroke last year at 43.  I was so anxious about my health that I had tingling in my hands and feet (not neurological the neurologist said, but from anxiety).  I found that watching tv did not distract me enough and I could sit and worry while watching tv, but due to the imagination required when absorbed in really good fiction, I couldn't worry while reading and the anxiety decreased somewhat. 

 I knew I liked historical fiction---books that would transport you to another place and time--and started looking at the NYT bestseller lists for books to read.  I read the Kite Runner, Snow Flower & the Secret Fan and then Reading Lolita in Tehran (all excellent) and then asked my best friend for recommendations.  She recommended Outlander.  I was sceptical when she told me of the plot (time travel to 18th century Scotland) and asked whether it was romance -- because I don't read romance (I was a romance snob). She said it had romance in it, but she wouldn't call it a romance.   After the first book (Outlander) I was truly hooked.  I read all 6 approx. 1000 page books in 6 weeks and my husband threatened to divorce me unless I stopped reading because I became so obsessed.  When I finished the last in the series (Breath of Snow and Ashes), there was a gaping void in my life, since Gabaldon hasn't published book 7 yet, and it may not be published for a couple of years.  I looked for similar books to fill in the void while I waited for #7 in the Outlander series.  Since bookstores carried Outlander in the Romance section, I looked there.  However, I always researched book reviews and authors first since I won't read "trashy" fiction.  The books I read have to be historical, interesting and well written. 

 As soon as I finished one book, I had to have another, or there was a void in my life.  I guess you would say, I read for distraction and entertainment and like books that carry me away to another place and time.  I find that I like a steamy romance with a lot of intense emotions--not necessarily a "sweet" romance.  I like dark, tormented heros and a lot of plot twists and turns.   Perhaps you could call this "intellectual and emotional stimulation."  I found I liked romances because, although they could be emotionally intense, there was usually a satisfactory ending to the story. That is, the main characters didn't die or have something terrible happen to them in the end.

 I would guess that each of us has our own reasons for reading romance and they are not all the same.  It would be interesting to do a survey.  Too bad they don't have a "survey" capability in PBS.

Last Edited on: 10/19/07 9:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/19/2007 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Claudia: I used to be a "romance snob" myself.  My first one was The Lady of Lorne by Terri Brisben.  V good book, I might add. I was hooked after that.  I was feeling a little lonely and romance starved after DH went back to sea duty and left on his 1st deployment in 4yrs.  That book caught my eye at Walmart and I decided to give it a try.

Date Posted: 10/20/2007 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I don't read as much straight romance any more, but when I did it was because I liked the certainty.  Also, while my life is busy and dramatic, I need fiction with a bit less suspense than at other times.  When life is calm and happy, I get my drama and suspense from books.

Date Posted: 10/20/2007 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2007
Posts: 530
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I like the happy endings, and the fact that it always works out well no matter what went wrong. If only life was that simple!!

My dh calls them " socially acceptable pornography for women"

Date Posted: 10/21/2007 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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I read them as an escape also, just like alot of the other readers have said. I like the happy endings too. Who doesn't enjoy Love?

Date Posted: 10/25/2007 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,660
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My hubby has actually read a few of my "romance" books.  He liked Outlander and a few of the Kinley MacGregor books as well as some of the Moning Highlander series.  He also somewhat liked "the lover" by schone. 


However, he now says that romance books are "all the same", which bugs me.  I read different historical time periods--medieval, regency, victorian, georgian, etc.  and some are time travel/fantasy (Karen Marie Moning) and they are all set in europe.  About the only thing they have in common is a european historical setting, a happy ending and a romance between the two main characters. Otherwise, they are completly different. 


I will admit that if you read too much of one author, they may be similar books, but I read a large variety of authors.  Help me prove him wrong!

Date Posted: 12/7/2007 8:53 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 305
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I would love if my husband read a romance novel!  He calls them my smut books, which is such a stereotype.  I have always been a reader (I still have the whole collection of the Bearnstein Bears) and this was just another phase in books for me.  Started with stealing my mom's copy of Outlander.  I have to read to relax and I need something that captures my interest.  I read before going to bed so I can't read anything with violence or blood, so romances are perfect. 

Date Posted: 12/7/2007 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
Posts: 812
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I read all kinds of books including a lot of non-fiction european history.  I also read a lot of contemporary fiction, which, as someone else said can be a little depressing.   I have a job that can be stressful and demanding, so when my brain needs a vacation it's wonderful to pick up a romance.  It is relaxing and fulfilling. 

It's a comfort to me, like chocolate and a cup of coffee or tea. I don't agree that it's "porn", because words are creating an image in your own brain.  There isn't a human being that is "being objectified".  I can't say that it's always wholesome, but very little in our society is.  Just my own opinion, FWIW.


Date Posted: 12/7/2007 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I like the world-building, the focus on relationships and feelings, the happy endings and the suffering before the happy endings! :-)

Date Posted: 12/7/2007 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 1,015
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I used to read all kinds of things for research for work, for info for articles to write for the town newspaper and to just keep informed.  I read romance for enjoyment.  Now that I'm not working the other reading has sort of dried up.  Romance didn't though, I think because for years I had a romance reading group that I went to and had such a great time there.  The bookstore closed and the people scattered and boy do I miss them.  The husbands started retiring and that was the final blow to trying to keep it together.  A lot of good memories and feelings attached to those books though.


Edited for the usual, correcting my typos.

Last Edited on: 12/7/07 5:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/8/2007 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 8
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I read them because I deal with the trials of life every day and I have good and bad things happen.  Why read about drama and what not too.  So I figure I read them because there is always a happy ever after and just sometimes I need that in my life. LOL. 

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 527
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I just recently got into them (though I've always read Nora Roberts and had a brief affair with Blazes a few years ago) and I agree that they're a lovely escape. I love contemporary ones (especially if they're funny and I can relate to the heroine) but I'm into historicals now because it's really a trip to another place and time. Even though I don't think I'd want to live in that time, from a book it's very romantic and it's fun to read about how different society and relationships were back then. I love my boyfriend and he's very romantic, but men in romance novels are romantic in a way that doesn't really happen in reality, and that's just fun to experience :) I love horror novels and suspense thrillers too, and it is nice to mix up murders and sad endings with happy ones and witty conversations before passionate lovemaking. I'm also such an emotional sucker that I'm always excited when they end up together after it looks like they masy lose one another, my brain knows that they will end up happily ever after- but my heart is always caught up in it and then I'm cheering at the end!

Oh, and I have learned a few "tricks" from the, um, love scenes... I owe a lot to the authors for that!

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 4:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 2