I used to be obsessed with romance. I couldn’t get enough. I immersed myself into books as though they were the oxygen I needed to survive. I watched movie after movie. And I spent hours upon hours writing love shorts and erotic snippets to appease the romantic dreamer inside me.
That was as close as I had ever come to really feeling the things I wrote about. Let that sink in … writing them was as close as I had come.
Don’t get me wrong … I had a “first love” and a few major infatuations as a teenager. Hell, I even had a kiss-you-crazy-against-the-wall type of thing, but it (he) was too intense for me at the time.
Still they weren’t the passionate, all-in, love-you-deep-in-my-soul, kind of love. They didn’t last. There was no committment. It wasn’t really love. So I drank in the words and scenes of beautiful, passionate, unbreakable love because I thought for sure that was what was missing in my life.
Throughout my first marriage, I survived in an alternate world. I read 3-5 novels a week. I escaped to a world of Carpathians, Vampires, Shape-shifters, Highlanders, and other strong heroes who saved their women from an evil villain and loved them with a passion that truly only exists in fiction. Still, it was an escape from my reality, and at the time, it was exactly what I needed.
Today, I still enjoy a good romance. But I don’t shoot them down like cheap vodka anymore. I sip them – a chapter here and there – like a fine wine I want to savor.
Perhaps it is because I no longer crave the escape from reality. Or maybe I no longer believe that what I find between the covers of an amazing romance novel (such as that written by Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, KMM, or any number of my other favorite authors) is what I desire in my real life. Maybe I am just content with my life (and love) and my taste in genres has therefore changed.
Nowadays, I prefer a glass of wine and a dose of true crime or mystery. Throw in some suspense, psychological thrills, and maybe even a paranormal twist and I am captivated.
I’ve ventured back to V.C. Andrews. John Saul. Stephen King. I’ve started looking for murder mysteries and kidnappings and hauntings. Things that give me chills, build suspense, and keep me turning the pages.
I’ve reached for “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids” and “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy”.
And I’ve written my truths – the painful and the joyous. I’ve shared my happiness and my tears and the memories that have shaped the woman I have become.
I am not the girl I once was. It’s not the unpredictability of young passion and freedom I crave. I’m a mother. A wife. A full-time paralegal. I’ve grown, both in age and in experience.
I used to wonder why the *adults* in my life loved the type of books they loved. I always wondered why they weren’t drooling over the heroes of romance novels.
I get it, y’all!!!!
Give me a mystery that makes me think. Give me true crime that truly takes a look at humanity and reminds me of what I escaped. My blinders have faded with age. I’m no longer an innocent. I no longer need to hide from the ugly in the world. I slept with it in my bed for 15 years.
Now, when I pick up a book, I’m seeking self-reflection, truth, experience, help, or relaxation. I no longer need to escape, though a good book will always pull you in. Reading isn’t my life anymore. Reading is one of my most beloved hobbies.
What about you? What does your bookshelf hold? Why do you think that is? Got any great recommendations for me?