Romance and Rom-Com Reading: My Non-Guilty Pleasure

Until a few years ago, I’d never read a romance novel, unless you count original classics like Pride & Prejudice or Jane Eyre, and wow, I was missing out big time! So I’ve been playing catch-up, reading the all kinds of romances, and having the BEST TIME EVER! I’ve always liked reading and enjoyed a good book—mostly recommendations from friends or family—but now I’m borderline obsessed. And I’m supposed to feel guilty about this? I don’t think so. So here’s why romances have become my go-to…

 

1. Guaranteed Happily Ever After (HEA).

Yes, some people avoid romance for this reason, but with so much havoc and unpredictability in the world, I don’t have to stress out reading the book. Ok, maybe some angsty parts of the story will mess with me, but I can deal because I know the couple will get there in the end and karma will get the villain. And the endings usually carry so much hope and beauty, with some absolute masterpieces of joy (see my post on best endings). So knowing I will feel happiness and hope at the end is enough for me!

2. Humanity and Empathy

Speaking of truth and feelings, romance books are filled to the brim with them and help us connect with people—some who are like us and some who are wildly different.

As a massive introvert who’s not so great at human relationships, reading romances brings so much to my life—I can learn from people who are clearly more comfortable with others than I am, see an extrovert’s thought process, find solidarity with introverts, and discover comfort in knowing there are people with my issues and comfort in knowing things could always be worse.

These books also evoke empathy for people who are struggling through situations I don’t have any experience with. For example, I recently read Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay, where the main character was dyslexic. Yes, I know what dyslexia is, but to see it through the eyes of the character and get a feel for how it affects her life and what she’s overcome helped me see it in an entirely different light.

3. The Storytelling

Great storytelling isn’t limited to whatever the literary snobs say it is. The best romance authors (really the best any kind of authors) weave beautiful and riveting storylines that suck you right in, where you have to know what happens next and how these characters will move forward or get out of a jam or whatever it is. You get to see a journey that’s beautiful or hilarious or riveting or all of the above.

You can find some of my favorite storytelling of 2023 here. 

4. There’s Something for Just About Anyone

Within the romance genre, you can find just about anything—hot and sexy, sweet and understated, small towns, big cities, gorgeous vacation destinations, kick-ass women (and men and others too), lovely friends, people looking for a fresh start, twentysomethings, GenXers, villains, fantasy, angst, family drama, hot messes, and every kind of relationship there is.