You want to stick it to the patriarchy this Valentine’s Day? Read a romance novel!
We know what you’re thinking: A delicate (yet heaving) bosom falling into the muscular embrace of a rugged (yet gentle) rascal is hardly progressive. What’s the pursuit of true love and hot sex in light of our country’s driving need for the advocacy, safety, and equality of all minorities?
1. Have you met any congressmen who feel the need to sacrifice love and sex for basic rights?
2. When was the last time you read a book that centered on women’s desires, where those desires were explored and celebrated and ultimately rewarded with a stable, loving relationship? What about for people in the LGBTQ community? For people with disabilities?
3. Why should we be limited to reading books in which the bosoms lie motionless, the rogues have no souls, love is ironic, and people — let’s face it, mostly women — who just want a little love and passion to leaven a brutal world end up victimized, dead, alone, or unhappily married?
The best romance novels — and they get better every year: more diverse and self-aware — offer escapism, fantasy, humor, titillation, and catharsis, without sacrificing the protagonists’ fully realized humanity. Maybe they fall into the wrong cowboy’s arms (who hasn’t?); perhaps they’re stubborn or spiteful (who isn’t?); life is still going to work out okay for them because they are people, and in the world of Romance, being a person means you can be smart, quirky, different, flawed, horny, and happy ever after.
good, right? Here are some of our recent favorites. You’ll be hooked.
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I. Heaving Bosoms, With a Twist
II. Diverse Heroes and Heroines
III. Love Takes Many Forms
IV. Written by or Featuring LGBTQ+ Folks