Sucker!




I am a sucker for gay romance novels. Yep. I even follow Rick R. Reed here on blogger to catch up with what he's writing. I know some people consider romance books lowbrow. A drugstore staple that can be found between the Aspirin and the Alka-Seltzer. The gay equivalent of bodice rippers. And I don't care. I would sit down and read one of those novels in an afternoon and not bat an eyelash. Is it escapism? Is it a reactionary vision of romance? Is it vicariously living through those roguish, impossibly handsome characters? Is it none? Is it all?


Let's see. Of course there's escapism in reading books, be it Hemingway or any of the myriad authors you can find on any given bookstore selling romance novels, people read those stories to live in the world the author has crafted for us. But this escapism in not frivolous. We want to read a story that transcends and sometimes transforms reality. You want heroes that overcome terrible situations and raise to the occasion. I want to read about men who have fantastic sex in fantastic settings.  Do you think I like that happily ever after ending? You bet I do. You need imagination to read, and that is something I have in spades. Slightly delusional? Maybe. But it's served me well. I've read ever since I can remember. My mom used to read a ton, and I caught up with her when I was barely a teen. And I've never let go of books ever since.



Some may say it is an outmoded, outdated view of romance. But what is romance, after all but a second hand emotion?  (thanks, Tina!). Kidding. Romance is very personal. I don't think there is one notion that covers what being romantic is. It's everything and it's nothing. That's what reading all those incredibly detailed adventures of men in love (with other men) is so rewarding.  And the sex is hot. Have we talked about the sex in gay romance novels? It's fantastic, of course. Because romance novels take the pedestrian and embellish it to the point of no return. Is there some sacrificial love element in many of these romance novels? Of course there is. It's usually the source of conflict in the novel. Is ti realistic? It can be. As gay men, we don't have many role models of healthy relationships in what concerns romance. World literature is not always bursting with same-sex romantic models of courtship and relationships the way it is with heterosexual models. So yes, I'll devour a gay storyline in an afternoon without thinking it twice.



As for the vicarious experience, of course there is a need to find characters that we can relate to. it's fun to read about somebody who goes through something we could go through and even if they are in a fantastic situation (love me some gay sci fi and fantasy!) the human component will always be present. Is the sex unattainable? Probably. But the whole idea of romance novels is to provide an experience that we don't find in every day life. Watching the growing arch of a character in a romance novel, though,  does require some reflection and even though not all romance novels delve deeply into a character's psyche (we're here for the party, aren't we?) there's always an element of observation in us as readers that cannot be overlooked.

So yes, I'm a sucker for gay romance novels. Are they deep? No. Do we want them to be deep? Of course not. I read them because I like to read. And I like to read about men falling in love more than anything. And I like to support the people who write them. Nowadays you can find them mostly online. Some self-published. And that's a pity. I remember when I made bi-weekly visits to bookstores looking for my next novel. And it was fantastic.

So the next time you're browsing for some content online, go read a good M/M story. I promise you'll like it.

xoxo


Comments

  1. Like you, I enjoy a good m/m romance novel. And you’re right, a good imagination helps to visualize the action on the written page/screen. Unfortunately with all the other media demanding my time I don’t have a lot of time to get into the novels. I SHOULD make the time, because we can all use s little escapism nowadays, can’t we? I guess that’s why I check out your posts everyday, babe. And thanks for bringing the mistress onto my radar. Those posts are well worth the time, too.

    XOXO ­čĹĘ‍❤️‍­čĺő‍­čĹĘ

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