Now the Huffington Post ran this pic of President Obama accepting a signed copy of Geri Krotow's A Rendevous to Remember. Geri signed it for Michelle and the First Lady made a point to come over to thank her personally. (Judging from the photo, Michelle may have a time wrangling it away from her husband.)
The HP goes on to suggest that literary circles will be dismayed that Michelle might be reading (insert horrified gasp!) genre fiction. First of all, Michelle Obama is entitled to read whatever she wants, just like the rest of us. And secondly, there is nothing inherently wrong with genre fiction. I tend to agree with Mark Twain on this matter. He said,
"A classic is something everyone wants to have read... but nobody wants to read!"
Don't get me wrong. I love the classics of literature. I didn't cheat, like my DH did, to pass my World Lit classes. (It was all about doing as little as possible with him. That bad boy always started at the back of the book and read forward till he had enough of the gist of the novel to write his paper! He managed a B without finishing a single tome! What do you expect from a Math major?) Even now, when I want my presuppositions challenged, when I want to think deeply about serious issues, I'll turn to a literary title.
But sometimes, I just want to be told a story. And there's nothing wrong with letting a well-told tale wash over you.
Living in New England, where only 12% of the population will admit to ever having read a romance novel, I feel a little vindicated by this story. Writing novels that will entertain and encourage people to feel happy is a worthy goal.
Can it be that in these uncertain times, folks in academia and the halls of power are finally realizing a guaranteed happy ending is a force for good? Why are they so surprised when people opt for feel-good fiction when their 401K is tanking and pink slips loom?
Why does the romance genre carry such a stigma with opinion-makers?