I finished “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers in less than a day. I started it on a Friday and finished it on a Saturday. It was an amazing fictional tale of a girl that was sold into sin at the age of eight, escaped, fell into similar circumstances, but then rescued by a godly man. After the rescue, her tale doesn’t end, but becomes more complicated as she struggles with her sinful life and trying to overcome it. The book is primarily a love story.
The reason why I even started to read “Redeeming Love” was because my pastor talked about it in one of his sermons a few Sundays ago. I decided to take a chance and read it. When I finished it, I told my pastor and he laughed. “You’re the third man that told me he read it. We should start up a men’s reading club that read’s romance novels.”
This isn’t the first romance novel I’ve read before. It most likely won’t be the last one I read. I really enjoy romance novels. There are a few reasons why I enjoy them. The first is, I like happy endings. My parent’s marriage didn’t have a happy ending, nor did mine which is probably the reason why I like seeing other people happy. The second reason sort of links with the first reason. At my age, I will probably not obtain a happy ending when it comes to finding my “true love”. In essence, for me, finding true love is about as fictional as two short people tossing jewelry into a mountain of lava.
It ain’t ever going to happen.
The third reason is that men can like romance novels too. There’s a common misconception that men can’t read and enjoy romance novels. Whenever someone asks me what I’m reading, they laugh if it’s a romance novel. Sometimes, I hide the fact that it’s a romance novel by saying “well, it’s a story about magic” or “there’s time travel involved” or “well, it’s a combination of four or five different genres.”
I’m not sure why I feel like covering up the fact that I’m reading a story about the love between a man and a woman. I mean, if it were a story about the between a man and a fine Cuban cigar, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to lie about it. If you’ve ever seen the Simpsons, then you might understand that reference.
I mean, I’m not the only guy to read a romance novel.
According to Nielson Literary Liaisons, in 2014, men accounted for 15% of romance books purchased. That compares to 12% in 2013. Seems like the trend is growing.
Since it’s a fact that men read romance novels, why do some of them feel the need to hide it? Well, as a dude myself, I’m pretty open about the fact that I read romance. I mean, that was the first line of this column. Having said that, I’m still a bit shy about it. I remember listening to a romance audiobook in the car a few summers ago. It was hot out and I had the windows rolled down. I was sitting at a stoplight and I wasn’t aware that it was one of those “adult” sections of a romance novel. Now, it wasn’t like a “Fifty Shades of Grey” type of thing, but still, it was awkward when I looked over at the car next to me and a car full of younger ladies were in fits of hysterical laughter. If TikTok were a thing back then, I’d probably have gone viral.
Ever since, no matter what audiobook I’m listening to, I tend to lower the volume when I have the windows rolled down at a stoplight.
If you’re a dude and reading this, you don’t have to be secretive about your romance reading. You should never feel awkward or ashamed of reading a book… unless it’s a book by James Patterson. Who cares if you’re reading romance or science fiction or fantasy? If you’re reading something, that’s the important thing.
I’d like to think that we all need to unplug from the internet and read more.
There’s a lot of great romance novels out there that men would like. If you’re a man and you’d like some suggestions, I’d say just about anything from Nora Roberts. I’d also suggest Francine Rivers and “Redeeming Love.”
Categories: Mastering the Craft