I should probably say there is nothing wrong with romance novel reading. It was actually my dad’s favourite genre after Zane Grey. He was always taking my mom’s books. What I’m pissed off about is the assumption that that is the only thing that most women read.
My guilty pleasure is cozy mysteries which don’t exactly strain the brain and can be for the most part finished in an hour or two. The only problem is they are finished too quickly and are gone. You are lucky if you even remember who done it by the time the next one in the series come out. But cozy mysteries are kind of the equivalent of reading junk food, you have to read other things for a healthy mental state.
I call it junk food because I get the same kind of cravings to read a cozy mystery that I get to eat junk food. It just doesn’t do the same kind of damage to the body that a bag of Brach’s classic jelly beans might.
I try to leaven my reading with historical mysteries like ones from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Ireland or Medieval or Elizabethan England so I at least learn something. Or I read Sci-fi or fantasy that takes more concentration. Or I read non-fiction about a variety of topics like philosophy, biography, history or metaphysics/Druidry at the moment. I downloaded a bunch of classics for my Kindle that are free. I noticed “War and Peace” was free but I still have no desire to read it. I’m afraid a lot of classics are classics in the same class as broccoli or spinach. Some taste good but some are of the kind some decided was good for you not a really good read. I tried Silas Marner, never been so bored in my life and I don’t care for gloomy Guses like Steinbeck or Dickens either. Hated the “Red Pony and “The Pearl”. On the other hand I love Alexandre Dumas, per and fils. He knows how to tell a good story.
Which I guess is my main criteria in fiction, tell me a story, start it from the first sentence and tell it well. And most importantly MOVE IT ALONG! Include plenty of colour but move it, move it, move it forward. Too many of the so-called classics don’t. they navel gaze and try to show you what clever writers they are instead of just telling a story. It amuses me that writers who tell a good story are sometimes considered not as good as ones stagnate in their story telling. J.M. Barrie knew how to move it along as did Jane Austen and L Frank Baum but then Barrie, Dumas and Baum all wrote plays and knew how fast they could lose an audience.
**Sidebar – I just got to type in a record –“per Rose, the Dr is retired.” Which I suppose is only funny if you are a Dr Who fan. **