There Are No Reading Police

I had plans for today’s blog entry, and I am going to ignore most of them. Apparently, the fact that I have them is enough for me to dive in with some measure of confidence, so will file that away for future use. Today, I’m snappish and grumpy, which is a sign of not enough sleep and feeling crowded, so, after I get this off my plate, it is time for a big ol’ mug of tea and some time in Sims 4. First, though, you get this.

Yesterday, Housemate and I went to the library. I headed straight to the romance section, and, within minutes, had my arms full of these:

 

tbr281216.jpg

“Nothing to read” will never be one of my problems.

Okay, not all of these. The last four. Use On the Jellicoe Road as the dividing line. That’s my third time trying to get into that one, and this time, I am going to make it. I get bogged down in the first fifty pages, but I’ve been told it’s worth it to make it through, so this is the time. :raises fist to sky (not Skye) for emphasis: That was another trip, though. This one was only for romance novels. One anthology, What Happens Under The Mistletoe, because I am helpless in the face of Christmas anthologies during the tucked away week (I am reading one right now on my Kindle, as a matter of fact) and it jumped off the shelf, recognizing its mistress. Okay, I saw Meredith Duran’s name on the cover. That helped. The Highlander, by Kerrigan Byrne, whose voice and use of emotion made me weep when I first discovered her, and the latest two installments in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane story world. (A book for Alf, finally, at last, pace yourself, girl, you have to read the other one first.) Respectable hunting trip, this one, especially as I hadn’t been expecting to take home anything at all, but that’s how these things tend to go this time of year.

My first thought, when I walked out of the library with four books in my bag was, “wow, their security is lax.” Uhhh, no, that wasn’t it. Don’t steal library books. Check them out. My actual first thought was “I have no right taking out four new books.” Because I have a full TBR shelf at home. Because I have a fully loaded Kindle. Because I have a storage unit with oodles of books in it. Because I have books yet to read for posts I am committed to write for other sites. because I am behind, oh woe, so behiiiiiind (please read that last word with an echo, if you can) on my own writing, as well as reading goals. Because a million things, really, but then my second thought cut off my first one.

My second thought was, “forget that. I have every right.” I have every right to read whatever books I want, whenever I want to read them. I have every right to drown myself in historical romance, should I want to do so (and I totally do) and gobble more, more, more, more, until it oozes out of my pores and onto the pages I create. There are no reading police (and, if there are, I do not recognize their authority.) Read what you want, when you want, however you want it. Nobody else has to like it. Probably, nobody else cares. Maybe those who follow me on Goodreads (I’m here) or read my posts on this blog and other sites, but that’s it.

There are no reading police. Whatever genre you love, great. Read it. Breathe it. Gobble it. Swim in it. While I stood there in the romance section, a trio of teenage girls stood behind me, in a nearby section, giggling over how silly the books in that section were to them, to the point of grabbing books and giving each other playful shoves. Even with all that, they left with at least one book, even if it looked “dumb” to them, or if they wanted others to think they found that sort of book beneath them. Part of me wanted to turn around, take the “dumb” book from them, flip it over to read the blurb, and say it looked interesting; I’d take it if they didn’t want it.

I didn’t do that, as A) I had enough books of my own, and wanted to get home and decide in which order to read them (hint: it’s depicted in the image above) and B) hey, these young women are reading. When I was their age, I lived with a single father, who was adamantly against the romance genre on principle, but it called to me and I answered the call, and have never regretted that for one single second. I remember what it was like to sneak around the library, tucking what historical romances I could find from the spinner racks under my arm. I don’t know these young women, I don’t know what brought them to that section, if this is a new genre they are exploring, or one they already love, but think others might form opinions of them for it. I don’t know what the “dumb” book is, or if they really do read books to mock them, but I do know how I felt, walking downstairs with my own carefully chosen haul.

 

I felt more complete, as though I’d gone to the shelf, found pieces of myself that I’d been missing, and put them back into place. Maybe that’s what these young women were doing, whether they knew it or not. It’s none of my business what they read or why they read it (unless they are reading my books,. which they totally should do, because there’s a new Kat Von D palette at Sephora, but that’s beside the point) but I’m glad they were there. Read on, heroines of tomorrow. Whatever the heck you want.

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