Not So Guilty Pleasures: An unabashed defense of Nora

I've never really been what most would typically consider a "girly girl." I'm kinda covered in tattoos, love mudding with my brother, roller derby, baseball, cursing like a sailor, and would ALWAYS choose a Coors Light over any drink that's pink. So you might find what I'm about to say a little shocking...I'm totally obsessed with the big "R". Romance.  I love mushy love songs, sob like a child during romantic comedies (and well executed Visa commercials incidentally enough,) and anything Jane Austen... but the pinnacle for me is romance novels. *gasp* The pariah of literature according to the New York Times and pretty much every literary snob that we all have known at some point in our lives. But I'm here to take a stand.  To come out of the literary closet.  I love smutty romance novels. 

Growing up, I was very quick to pick up reading, literally devouring the books appropriate for "my age" and quickly became bored with the traditional Babysitters Clubs and Sweet Valley High books that my peers were reading...and then my parents were reading (I read everything John Grisham wrote by the time I was ten,) and then moved on to the "hard stuff." Shakespeare? Bronte? Wallace? Nope. ROBERTS. Nora Roberts.  Nora who you may ask?  Go look at your mom's bookshelf.  It's like a mom rule.  Moms love Nora.

I'll never forget my first experience with Nora.  We were on a family camping trip and I'd run out of reading material, (not a good moment for Ashley Fears,) and so (surely without thinking about what she was about to do,) my mother handed me a worn paperback copy of Sanctuary.  Oh. my. lawd...  There was murder. There was mystery. There was sex.  But best of all, there were female characters who didn't just sigh (their milky white bosom heaving,) and wait for prince charming, (who inevitably would look like Fabio,) to ride up and save them.  They were complex, interesting, and flawed women who had interesting jobs and interests & didn't want to immediately get married and breed.  I became a total Nora devotee.

Now I'm not sitting here saying that I only read chick lit, or that you should somehow offer Nora the next Pulitzer for literature.  Her books are incredibly formulaic, from the initial meeting where the characters meet, (who are always incredibly attractive and mutually attracted to one another/repulsed by one another,) to the inevitable fight, break up, the near brush with death/the killer, (if there is one,) and finally the "we realize that we can't live without each other and that's okay" ending.  And I love every predictable minute of it.  There's really nothing like getting lost in one of Nora's artfully detailed worlds for a few hours, or a few days, (generally the time it takes me to tear through one of her novels.)  You know it's just going to be a lovely adventure with a happy ending.  And sometimes, that's all we really need right?  (Regardless what the New York Times says.)


  1. Chick lit is one of my FAVORITE guilty pleasures! I've never read any Nora Roberts books, but I'll have to pick up one of her books next time I spot one at the thrift store. I normally stick to Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, and Sophie Kinsella.


  2. I read a bunch of Nora Roberts books when I was younger - who cares what you love to read :)