Friday, August 24, 2012

One Man's Trash

I've read a lot of books.

I've read mysteries, horror, history, turfgrass manuals, Russian novels, French novels, scientific journals and textbooks, literary fiction, comic books, biographies, poetry, and as a teen--YA. I've read the bible. I've read thrillers. I've read autobiographies. I've read non-fiction.

And of course I've read romance.

Some of these books were excellent. And some were not. Some were thoughtful. Some were marshmallow fluff. Some were exceedingly dark and disturbing. And some were uplifting, powerful, and inspiring.

But never once, as I worked my way through this incredibly diverse mix of reading materials, did I think "This is trash."

Romance novels are a lot things. They are about love and hope and lust and longing. They make us cry--tears of loss, tears of joy. They reaffirm our beliefs in happy endings.

There is nothing remotely trash-like in these themes. I can't think of anything more important or universal than love, pure and simple. And that's what romance novels are about. Doesn't matter if you're gay or straight or young or old. Kinky or vanilla. Whatever.

Love is not trash.

I find it fascinating that books which contain themes of love and sex are considered "trashy novels" while books with gruesome and horrific crimes, violence, and murder are fine and dandy. It makes no sense to me.

I sincerely hope the next time I hear the term "trash" it's a book about recycling and the environment.

Because it has no place in my genre. At all.

Proud, card-carrying member of the Romance Brigade, God bless my optimistic soul,


Book Lover said...

You are so right Penny! I have at one point or another read at different genre whether for classes or or my personal curiosity. I will read anything at least once. And as I tell my fiancee, why wouldn't I want to read romance. The world is depressing enough and if I find Happily Ever After with some romance, and love to make me happy. Why is that so troubling...I think it seems pretty obvious. Like I tell him, to each his/her own. But I still wouldn't like to hear romance referred to as trashy. I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure. LOL.

Geekamicus said...

If you have to call it something in that general direction, I prefer "tawdry". Oh, I enjoy thought provoking and soul wrenching, but sometimes, I just need tawdry.

I learned a while ago that romance novels are addictive. I used to try to fight it, but I'm happier when I just run with it.

Heidenkind said...

"I can't think of anything more important or universal than love, pure and simple."

Aw, you made me tear up a little there, Penny. I totally agree and that's why I love romance novels. :)

Penny Watson said...

Hi Book Lover! 50 Shades has caused the romance industry to be thrust into the spotlight, and unfortunately, a lot of the "commentary" is riddled with terms like "bodice ripper," "trashy novel," and of course the new favorite "mommy porn." It's driving me batty!

Yes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Our treasure! And we're lucky for it.

Penny Watson said...

Geek....Have you ever read A Secret Love by Stephanie Laurens? There is a great long-running joke about the heroine's gold cap being "tawdry." Love that term!

Being addicted to happy endings is all good. Don't fight it.

Penny Watson said...

*Penny passes Tasha a tissue*

Viva Romance! (I'll make T-shirts!)

Julia Barrett said...

I've always found it odd the way it's okay to watch violence, but sex is taboo.
My kids were never allowed to watch violent - slasher type - movies. The occasional sex/love scene was fine with me.
Some poorly written books are trash, but a genre? No.

Unknown said...

Michael R Hicks writes some blood curdling stuff in the In Her Name series but And there are some tender beautifully moving and touching love scenes tender and not at all out of place

OMG , I'm going all soft where's ma pills.....

Penny Watson said...

Julia....I also find it strange that our society sees gruesome and disturbing books (horror, thrillers, many mysteries) as more acceptable than love stories. It's bizarre. Many romance novels have NO sex...just a sweet romance. How can this be considered trash? I have no idea. :^(

Penny Watson said...

Tom...I know you like a bit of everything, which is good. You're very open-minded. Now we need to spread the love, man! :^)