I’m unhealthily obsessed with romance novels
My journey through reading has been a mismatched bumblef**k and I want to talk about it.
Like every other kid born in the late 1990s, I grew up on wizards, vampires, and eccentric kid geniuses (anyone have a guess for which book I’m referring to?). These books pulled on the imagination strings of youth and didn’t let go. It also didn’t help that during my childhood, every popular YA book was being turned into a fantastic movie (I know it’s a hot take but I will die on this plot-hole filled hill).
However once I graduated from the last time I felt happy to 6th grade, came “required reading”. I will admit that these books were classics for good reason — they shaped our young minds and taught us about the world. BUT DAMN DID THEY MAKE ME WANT BURN EVERY BOOK AROUND LIKE MY MIDDLE SCHOOL WAS THE SETTING FOR FAHRENHEIT 451.
This phase made me believe that since I was reading at school, reading at home was unnecessary and ~additional~ homework I was putting on myself. So I moved on. I got a phone, that had internet, and that was the end of the story for my free time.
It got even worse in college, where reading was now a sport of intellectuality. I was now surrounded by people who had actually read The Giver AND LIKED IT OR UNDERSTOOD IT. And like the idiot I was and still am, I had to lie through my teeth in our first week orientation round circle.
Hi my name is [redacted cause of the internet footprint], and my favorite book is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
First off, I have never read Outliers and as a point of confused pride I now never will. Second, my favorite book is The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan — an amazing Shakespearean tale of a 12 year old kid living in NYC figures out that he is a Greek Demi-god and the Son of Poseidon (you should read it, DON’T - I REPEAT DO NOT -WATCH THE MOVIE).
Anyway, I had to lie because you will not believe the book titles that came out of these 18-year olds mouths — PSA anyone who says their favorite book is 1984, CLIMB OUT OF YOUR ORWELLIAN ASS.
My journey through college was pretty much this orientation circle experience times a thousand. It was also my bad, for taking a Comparative Literature 100 class that was — i’m not kidding — focused on the death and funeral rituals in ancient sapphic Greece. Reading lesbian poetry and then watching a black and white film of women scream around a coffin all in a 90 minute block, really makes you never want to think the word ‘literature’ again. I still to this day do not know what I gained in that class but I do discuss what I lost every Tuesday with my therapist.
So now what does one do when they become a twenty-something working in big bad corporate America from their childhood bedroom because of a global pandemic? They pick up a book. Why does it seem like the entire world started reading like the Scholastic Book Fair is tomorrow? I’m not sure, I wish I had a good profound reason. But to be honest, I think people re-found their passion for reading when they remembered the autonomy of reading for our dreams.
In our childhood, we chose the books we got to read. Therefore, we read dystopian or magical novels that showed a world much cooler than the one we have. I got to dream of being the underdog hero or the child prodigy, essentially a world of possibilities. That was the dream as a child, because that’s what I was -a world of possibilities. All I had was a future, no past. Now as a twenty-something my dreams have changed. I dream of a nice 2bd2ba with a W/D in unit. just kidding. Now, I dream of love and romance and a family, because the rest of my life is no longer a world of possibility (depressing, I know). I have a career, a home, a friend group, and a keen understanding that some of us may actually be Muggles.
Overall, this is my long way of saying that I devour romance novels at an alarming rate and I should stage an intervention for myself. But it is also my long way of saying, that if you aren’t reading I think that’s dumb. Go out there and pick up a book. Figure out what you dream about and read about it. Maybe it’s still magic and wizards or maybe its getting through a conversation with more ease, no one gets to define your dreams and no one gets to define you reading (at least not anymore).