Holly: A few weeks ago, Rosie posted something about being an Ageist. Basically? That she’s extremely discriminate when it comes to the ages of the characters in the novels she reads. I admit, I’m guilty of this as well. My preferred ages for heroines range from 18 – 25 for historicals and 23-32 for contemporaries. The thing is, I’m soon to be 30 myself. You’d think I wouldn’t have an issue reading about women 5 years older than me. But I do.
Of course, there are exceptions. A few years ago, Rowena and I discovered Jennifer Crusie. We read Fast Women together. I remember it perfectly. We agreed to try some new authors and we’d heard of JC. We were on the phone with each other and we were at the book store (in separate towns) and she said, “I’m gong to get this book. You need to as well.” and I said, “Ok, it looks cute” so we bought it. We started reading it that night and we called/emailed each other to gush over how good it was in the beginning and how much we adored the beginning. “We did good this time!”
But a short time later our tune changed. Ween called me, dismayed. “Dude, did you know these women are old?” Yeah, I’d just realized that. So then what? The story was ruined? I couldn’t read it anymore?
Nope, I continued on and loved it. Absolutely adored it.
Rowena: I realized something today about myself that Holly helped me realize.
I’m NOT an Ageist.
Because when I think about Fast Women, and when I read it all those many years ago, I don’t remember the book because of how old Nell was or how old Gabe was. I remember loving the budding relationship between Nell and Gabe. I loved getting to know them as people. Characters of a book. And I loved Nell’s son. He was a cutie patootie and thought he’d be perfect for Gabe’s daughter. There were so many things that I loved about Fast Women and remembering their age just didn’t matter to me.
It makes me wonder though because I have pre conceived notions about a lot of other book things. Like, covers. If the cover is hideous, odds are, I won’t pick up the book and I’ll never know if the story within the book is the best thing since sliced bread because there are so many other books with prettier covers that I’ll read before it. It’s sad really, and something that I’m not entirely proud of but it is what it is. Holly isn’t a cover snob and she’s read some really attrocious looking books and thought they were the bomb and I still haven’t read it….
…so I guess I got some work to do, huh?
Holly: But you avoid picking up books when the hero/heroine are older, don’t you? Just like we were dismayed when we first realized the hero/heroine of FW were older. I know I’ve put some books back on the shelf at the bookstore after reading they were in the late 30’s or 40’s or 50’s. Because those just don’t appeal to me. Am I missing out on some amazing books because of it? Probably. But that doesn’t stop me from putting them back.
I have issues with other things, too. Like cheating. I read a book recently, Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde. The hero of that book was engaged to someone else while falling back in love with his ex-wife. When I first realized he was still in love with one woman while engaged to another, it bothered me. But I was able to move past it and I really enjoyed the book. But I know there are other books I’ve put down because they dealt with some of my hot button issues and I just couldn’t be arsed to read them. Is it possible, like Fast Women and Once Smitten, Twice Shy, that they were wonderful stories I truly would have enjoyed? Yup, but that didn’t stop me from putting them back on the shelf and walking away.
Rowena: Hmm, well maybe I used to be like that but I’m not like that anymore. I know I used to shy away from Christian fiction but I don’t think I will anymore. I used to think that it would be too cheesy and too full of everything I’m not looking for in my romance but then I read Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury which is basically a Christian romance and I really enjoyed it. More than I’ve enjoyed anything in quite a long time. My sister read the book and we loved it! It’s not something that I would have ever read before on my own because, HELLO! There’s no love scenes in these books and you know how we all are about those love scenes, the steamier the better! But I realized that Christian fiction is just as good as regular women’s fiction, it’s different but no less enjoyable than a Jennifer Crusie or a Lisa Kleypas book would be.
Just really, really good stuff.
And Holly, I think it’s very likely that we’re missing out on great things because of our snobbyness. So our question to you guys is this, have you guys had any preconceived notions about books and ended up being really wrong about them or spot on? Share your thoughts and stories with us, we’d love to hear them.
Holly: I know we’re missing out on some great books because we’re letting our prejudices color what we read. And I’ve had experience in reading things I didn’t think I’d like that I ended up loving.
What do you think, darling readers? Can we move on? Can we pick up a book with a cheater hero, or a heroine who’s 50, or with a Christian theme? Can you?