I've been reading romance in one form another since I was 16 years old. My first real romance was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss - can you say "bodice ripper". There was Rebecca Brandewyne, Roberta Gellis and a few others who I have either lost track of or outgrown. Then I discovered Nora Roberts - she was the first author I read whose stories and characters seduced me. They flirted, they laughed and danced and when they fell in love, so did I. I never wanted to leave their world. From Nora I progressed to Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard and Jayne Ann Krentz who started at Harlequin and Silhouette. I've followed them through the years from publisher to publisher and genre to genre. These women, along with Jenny Crusie, are a chosen few, whose books I will rush out to buy to this day. I've followed them from paperback to hardcover without a qualm. I've added and subtracted authors from my list of must reads, want to reads and might reads.
I immersed myself in Erotic romance, when it first started and over the years I have watched it morph into an entity that I think has gotten out of control and lost it's way. I've read traditional, historical, fantasy, shapeshifters, aliens, elves and ghosts. I've delved into anime, yaoi, m/m (male/male), multiple partners and even some (f/f). I hate chick-lit. As far as I am concerned, it's a string of pages of whining, selfish drek, written about self-absorbed, spoiled brats. I could care less if they couldn't buy that pair of designer shoes, or take that trip to Europe because their rich, equally whiny, self-absorbed boyfriend/husband/girlfriend, found someone else with an original thought in their heads. And I'm at a loss. There is so much out there that is awesome, some that is mediocre and, unfortunately, a whole lot that's just garbage.
I am thinking of taking a break from all of it. Well, I was thinking about it, but I am a voracious reader. I can't go a day without opening a book and at least reading a few pages. How do you just stop reading? How do you abandon something that has seen you through love, heartbreak, grief, happiness and the everyday blahs. A book to me is a friend, who doesn't care if you gain a few pounds, cry on their shoulder, yell at them or think their insane. A book doesn't judge you, it doesn't hate you. It's always there when you need it and hopefully always satisfies you.
I read romance to escape and reaffirm my belief that love is real, it's possible that someday my prince/sheik/billionaire/cowboy/pilot/space warrior/navy seal will come, sweep me off of my feet and we will live happily ever after.
Can I give all of that up? I don't know...who knows, tomorrow I might discover a new author who will re-awaken my love for the genre that I fell in love with.