Why Rain on Someone’s Favorite Genre?

A Weird Thing I’ve Seen in Bookstores

Anne Marble


I’ve seen people in bookstores start browsing through a genre they don’t read — then mocking those books for no reason other than boredom or bad manners.

Who has time for this sort of nonsense? Is there nothing else in the bookstore they like? Maybe they should seek out the self-help section instead.

A book table with a display of contemporary romances within a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Most of the books have the “cartoon covers” that are currently popular with publishers. A sign on the display “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and offers a buy one, get one for half price discount.
A Display in a Bookstore. (Source: Photo by the Author.)

I’m Bored, Let’s Make Fun of Romance Novels

One day, in my local Barnes and Noble, I wandered toward the genre fiction sections. That’s when I came across three young people laughing at the covers of historical romances.

Yes, I know, romance novel covers are often silly — but why did these people care? It’s one thing for romance fans to admit that the covers can be painful — especially on historical romance mass market paperbacks. Romance fans are “part of the club.”

These “readers” had no membership in this club. They were punching down. And it was mainly the two guys doing it. (I know, I know, I’m shocked, too!)

As you might expect, one of the guys started opening the historical romances to random pages and reading passages of dialogue. Of course, he loudly joked that no one talks like that.

Dude… no one talks like the people in Austen or Dickens novels, either. Not anymore. But at one time, people did talk like that. That’s the point of writing dialogue that matches your setting.

What if somebody wanted to browse through the romance section right then and came across them? These folks were in everyone’s way. All because of a “performance” they decided to put on. Some readers would push their way into the section and ignore them. Many readers would give up and come back later.

It’s not just guys, though. I’ve seen small groups of teenage girls doing the same thing. Ambling through the romance paperbacks and giggling at the covers and titles. Never actually picking one up and learning about the book. Oh, no! We can’t have that! We might have to change our opinions about romance novels!

Once they were done turning up their noses at romances, they hurried off to gaze lovingly at manga or young adult (YA) novels instead.



Anne Marble

I’m a writer and a copy editor with experience in editing science and engineering articles. Click Lists to find my most popular articles. And hidden gems.