I used to only want to read romance books with happily ever after. I thought it a waste of my time to read anything but romance. Sure the hero and heroine have problems, I get heartbroken and shed tears, but I was safe in the knowledge that they're going to get married and live happily ever after. In fact, I prefer it if my book ends with a wedding, or an epilogue about them having kids. I was proud to be a romance-holic.
I also do not like books written in the first-person. I prefer G-d-like views on my books. I am especially in favor of the male-point-of-view too. Nothing is more attractive than to find a male in anguish over his love, a hero who's wavering and dithering about his feelings. I thought I would never read a book with one person's view. I was afraid I'd miss too much, and it won't be as satisfying.
More than a few people I met morphed to condescending mode when they found out. Only romance and happily ever after, and nothing about cheating! It's similar to an admission to a certain stupidity if I say, "I only read romance books." I'd get counter-question like; don't you read Tolstoy and those dead Greek authors and some of those English dead authors? I'd have to reiterate that if they're not alive, and they're not talking about happily ever after, and emphasizing fidelity, and making sure there's not too much sex* in the book, then I am not reading it. Except Jane Austin of course because who could resist Pride and Prejudice?
It's amazing how people who slightly knew me thought I was a intellectual because I only read romance. I don't even venture to anything outside the realms of Diana Palmer, Johanna Lindsay, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Lisa Kleypas, Nora Roberts romance lines, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and tons of serial romances put out by Harlequin and Silhouette, though I think they've merge now. It's even more insulting to see their reactions when they find out what I study in school. One actually gasp that I could fathom Chemistry or Biochemistry, little me and my romance-fiction-only-soaked brain.
My husband was never one of those people. He made sure I have more than enough supply of romance books. By the time we were married 4 months, I had in my own personal collections at least 100 romance paperbacks of authors I like. How amazing is that? He's the best husband ever! He loves it when I read my books. OMG. I cannot believe my luck!
The first time I found out I could actually enjoy non-romance book was on a trip to visit my husband's Aunt C. My husband and I listened to THE FIRM by John Grisham. I love it! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Along came Dave Barry's book about visiting Japan. Absolutely hilarious! Next up is John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee and I'm in love! J.A Jance and Sue Grafton nailed the coffin some more. I am thoroughly wedged in variety. I even enjoyed Matt Reilly's books, never dreaming that was Science Fiction! Dan Brown. Need I say more? I cannot believe the pleasure I get of reading non-romance books.
I read The Red Tent by Ms. Diamant. I was almost convinced she's anti-Semite. Gosh, imagine my shock when I found out she's a Jew. I guess it's still possible! I enjoyed the book, even if I was bothered by some of the details there. These lead me to wanting to read The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan. The reviews are compelling. Even better, if it is DaVinci Code wanna be, that's reason enough to try!
Now I wonder how much romance-fiction snobs might be missing just because of a certain perception out there.
*As I grow older, I realized also that they're no such thing as too-much sex in a book, only annoying copious amount of boring sex in a book. It takes a lot of talent to make sex in a book tantalizing and interesting.