by Cathy Maxwell
When I was a child, I was encouraged to read anything that struck my fancy. If it intrigued me, the adult mentors in my life considered it a good book. Pirates, starships, alien creatures, time travel, historicals, dramas, and comedies—they told me to have at it and I did.
In fact, living vicariously through those books taught me important lessons about life, lessons that growing up sheltered in a small town in Kansas could never have offered.
Then I became an “adult,” and suddenly, I was judged by what I read. From college professors to book-loving friends, I was told that intelligent people read “important” books. Commercial fiction, especially my favorite Romance, was not the stuff for a bright mind.
And so I stopped reading because it was no longer fun or engaging.
Fun—a very important word to my enjoyment of life.
We let people watch whatever they want on television or in the movies because it is fun. Nor do we question someone’s intellect for enjoying video games.
No, only with books do we apply arbitrary intelligence standards and want to rule out “fun.”
When I returned to reading Romance—with a vengeance, I might add—I had much reading to make up for I realized what I had been missing. I like fun. I’m keen on couples who spark the best in each other, in reality, and in fiction. I do believe that how well I’m loved and how well I love in return are the only true hallmarks of a fully lived life. I expect happy endings. I work toward them. So, why would I wish to remove any of these values from my reading?
And if someone wishes to question my intelligence for reading Romance, well, I’m too busy having fun to care.