Lately I've had a lack of romance in my life. Not just me, but so many of my friends have recently gone through break-ups on their own, and I have been there to watch it unfold. Not pretty. That, and a growing pile of reports for school have led me to dive into books even if I shouldn't. Especially romance.
A couple of years ago I was a foolish girl that believed that when a book got over a 4.0 rating, it had to be good. Right? Isn't this why we rate books after all, to let people know what level of quality it has? Either my standards have reached an untouchable level, or the general idea of what a good book is different from mine.
The finalists of GoodReads Choice Awards were presented this morning, and I could not have been more surprised. All of them have an average rating higher than 4.0, yet I find zero quality in any of them. Maybe I am wrong person to judge these books since I have not read them. What I have done is listened to people with opinions I trust, and they have screamed at me to stay away! And stayed away I have. Why? Well, because of several reasons.
First, one of the books is written by an author that I have bad experience with when it comes to originality. I'm sorry, but I do not want to read a book by an author that, in my experience, have few original ideas and instead spins on already written works. And this is not even regarding the pulled from fan fiction that somehow managed to steal a place as a finalist.
Second, I don't find stalking, violence, and men being so possessive that they see their woman as their private property sexy. Not even close. These kinds of things are reasons for several crimes where the woman is the victim. I can't find something sexy in these things if I so bring out a magnifier and search through every paragraph of a book. Yet, this is today the very core of romance in the finalists for Best Romance in GoodReads Choice Awards.
Third, I long ago lost my interest for a bad boy that has slept with more women than I have books. This is quite a feature if you could see my bookshelf, I'll tell you. So no, the bad boy does not impress me. In fact, it often puts me off just reading this word on the backside of a book. Nor am I a fan of a man being unable to voice the smallest hint of an emotion. I'm not asking my male characters to jump on tables singing at the top of his lungs, or start spewing out poetry such as Shakespeare's. Neither do I want a man so shut down he needs to take on his emotions or demons in sexual activities.
I would actually like to make this list longer, but I can't. To prolong this list would mean some bigger differences between these books. Sadly, the general idea of most of them is the same when it comes to the love interests. Honestly, it is sad this list is so short. Almost horribly sad. Most of these books have dysfunctional relationships that rarely end well in the real world. From what I've heard of some of these, I can easily see at least half of them ending in domestic violence or even death.
Am I that out of tune with the rest of the GoodReads community to find these works daunting to begin with? I am after all a masochist when it comes to books and can get through most things. However, these books won't be read by me. None of what is portrayed in these books is romance. It's against so many of my beliefs, and I am not changing them. It took me experience to get where I am today and realize violence is wrong, that stalking is not sexy. Nor will I ever degrade myself to become another person's property, no matter how good he or she looks.
So I can not with good conscience read books that romanizes these themes. To me, this behavior is a road heading toward destruction, and I have no intention in watching the car crash at the end of the road.