I love to read. My fascination with books really knows no bounds - it's an addiction that grows stronger every day. The perfect day for me would feature a good meal, a good book, and a trip to the area used book stores where I can hunt to my heart's content. A dorky librarian's dream.
So why does someone who appreciates good books, and is grossly overeducated in some respects, want to waste her time reading drivel like romance novels? Simple - I don't think it's drivel.
I may be a smart ass, but I'm also an optimist. I'm one of those annoying people who thinks that it "will work out in the end" no matter how dire things become. Romance novels feed into this philosophy. No matter how miserable the characters may be, no matter the odds that stand in their way, they always get a happy ending. Always. The heroine doesn't die of cancer at the end; the hero doesn't leave his wife for his beautiful young secretary.
I'm not going to lie to you - there are awful romance novels out there. Likewise there is bad science fiction, mysteries, non-fiction and literary fiction that is published every day. It's easy to harp on the romances because there are literally thousands of them published every year, with the market getting flooded with a new batch every month.
Romance readers are among the most serious book junkies I know. They think nothing spending their free time hunting down that elusive author's backlist or dropping a wad of cash at a bookstore. They also are the most serious readers I know. They never leave home without a book - because what if they get stuck waiting in line at the grocery store and have nothing to read!
I can appreciate a classic work of fiction, as can many romance readers. Ask one sometime what their favorite book of all time is - you might be surprised at the diversity you find. For the record - mine are Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck with Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes sliding in a close second. Not bad for a romance reader huh?