In My Defense: Harlequin Novels Count As Literature (For Now)

That’s right, I have a new guilty pleasure and I’m not going to feel (all that) guilty about it.  Okay, I’m feeling a little guilty, or at least embarrassed  because I sure as hell won’t be adding these books to my Goodreads account…but it’s true…I’m reading the free and often cheesy Harliquin and Harliquin-like romance novels from the App Store and I’m kind of liking them.  I’ve not just read one trash book.  Several.  Sometimes several in a week.

I do feel the need to apologize to my High School AP Lit and English teacher, Mrs. Risch.  She did teach me better than this.  Before Mrs. Risch, Danielle Steele was my author of choice.  (Fortunately my parents didn’t read books because I can promise you if they knew what I was reading, there is no way they would have let me read Danielle Steele at twelve-years-old.)    I loved her period pieces even into college I read them.  However, Mrs. Risch didn’t let me graduate high school without knowing the value of real period pieces like Chaucer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis and, of course, Jane Austin.

My Mother in law, Sandy, has also been a great source of book recommendations.  She’s an avid reader and any of the books on my Goodread account are probably recommendations from her.  Jodie Piccoult, Wally Lamb and Alice Seibold are examples of more modern authors I’ve enjoyed.  Besides Novels, I’ve also been a big fan of those trendy thought-provoking business-minded reads.  Malcolm Gladwell – type books.

So, anyway, I’m not going to say that I was ever uber-sophisticated with my reading.  Kyle loves to read Thomas Pynchone and Ayn Rand and I’m not nearly smart or patient enough to get through one of their books.  If I had to some up my book choices, I’d say, I have always liked really well written but simple-to-read books with relatable, strong characters overcoming thought-provoking plots.

And now, I’m reading Harliquin romances.

In case you’ve never read one, they typically are not well written, especially not the free app store version with all the typos.  The characters are not very often that interesting and even if they are, because the books are normally about 250 pages, there is no time to develop them.  Also, there is nothing relatable for me about two people meeting, despising each other and then falling prey to mutual attraction that magically turns into love, marriage and happily pregnant in a two to 30 day period.  I mean seriously, even the 50 Shades trilogy had the decency to discuss [in painful detail] every sexual encounter over a full year period.

So why do I keep reading them?

They give me a mindless escape for those hours between when I want to go to bed and when I can actually go to bed.  I always know there is going to be a happy ending.  The people will be beautiful, rich and successful and they will take each other to the greatest heights ever with their biggest obstacle being proving their love to one another.

It kind of makes me want to puke just writing it…it is trash.  However, yesterday’s trash is sometimes today’s escape.

I like escaping every once in a while.

The books I read in the past challenged my thinking or gave me intense experiences or harrowing stories of people overcoming difficult circumstances.   Excuse me for swearing twice in one post but, why?  Why in the hell would I want to read about that kind of stuff right now?  I have zero need for made-up adrenalin in my life.  Intense is a little too close to home.  No need to seek intensity when you’re still picking up the pieces of your own intense and very real life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting I don’t have a wonderful life.  I do.  I have a really blessed and great life.  It is also exhausting and intense.  And some nights, as I listen to the snores of the three loves of my life echoing off the walls upstairs, I like to moonlight in a fantasy world of a Harliquin romance.

I can’t say I’m proud of my most recent book choices, nor will I recommend many of them, but I do accept that, for now, I’m okay not getting a lot of mental stimulation from what I read.

PS, if you want to watch a movie with me, please note, my movie choices are looking a lot like my book choices these days.  Light, funny and over quickly is about all I have patience for in my entertainment.

Endless love
Millzero Photography / Travel Photos / CC BY-SA
© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

12 thoughts on “In My Defense: Harlequin Novels Count As Literature (For Now)

  1. Im guilty of watching “trash” tv.. at the moment its lots of reality shows inc Made in Chelsea (prob not heard of that one its a london based one – think “the hills” ) housewives of alanta, Oc, ny or where ever and millionaire matchmakers… one of these always seems to be on while feeding the twins.. which with owen can be a long process. Or settling owen which again is a long process enabling me to move. Trash tv or books are a easy way to escape the stresses without having to think too much.
    My husband teases my cheesy tv .. but he recently downloaded series 1 of knight rider 😉

    • I think your husband definitely has you beat on the cheese with Knight Rider. I love it! The for the solidarity in the cheesy entertainment choices. Many of the ones you listed were faves last year. I guess I’ve graduated to Harliquin romance novels, haha!

  2. I have to say I love harlequin romances…especially the love inspired ones. They are the Christian ones where there isn’t any trash, just cheesiness, lol.

  3. My guilty pleasures? Crime fiction, rom-coms (if my students knew they would disown me), Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars in the US, I think). Oh and blogging, which I do anonymously and in secret hiding in the bathroom, on car journeys or under the duvet when everyone else is asleep. No one knows I’m doing it but me!

    • Your hubs doesn’t even know? Ohhh, now I’m going to have to travel to England and search you out 😉 I need some good expose content in the blog and it’s been 15 years, I guess I’m due for a trip to England.

      • No not even him! That’s why there are no pics in the blog and the silly aliases, which I have mixed feelings about. He and I are in very different places in terms of accepting what’s happened over the last 13 months. Things have changed a lot in the last couple of weeks, but I don’t know that he’d get why I do it. But if you ever come to the UK you should definitely hunt me out!

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