I credit my love of romance novels for a lot of things, among them, my ardent feminist views, my decision to pursue a career in publishing, and my optimism and belief in a happily ever after, but before 2014, they weren’t even on my radar. I’d read plenty of Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot in high school and loved those books for their spunky characters and happy endings, but at the time, I didn’t realise that many of those books fell under the romance genre. I didn’t even really know about literary genres, full stop.
I didn’t start using Goodreads until 2014, so before then, the way I picked out books went: walk into the library, go to fiction, non-fiction, and teen sections, choose books with nice covers and interesting plots, check out, go home. Sometimes I’d peruse the library’s online catalogue, looking for books similar to those I’d read before, but I generally preferred my more serendipitous way of finding reading material. I had no idea how to articulate what exactly I wanted to read; I just hoped that luck would lead me to some books that I would enjoy. I never even asked the librarians for help, something I cringe about now that I myself am a certified librarian and geek out when my friends ask me for book recommendations.
I started using Goodreads at the suggestion of my brother, a wonderful person and an attentive listener who is always looking for ways to make my life easier. When I lamented that I had no way of tracking all the books I was reading, he told me to sign up for a Goodreads account, and oh, am I glad I did! Soon after that, I read what I consider to be my come-to-Jesus book: Nocturne by Syrie James. I devoured this book one cold, wintry morning, and after finishing it, immediately logged on to Goodreads to find other books like it. Somehow, I found my way to a page of Eloisa James books, and from then, I was hooked on romance. After Eloisa’s Desperate Duchesses series, I found Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, which I know now is the gateway series to regency romance. Since then, I’ve devoured hundreds of romance novels from all sorts of sub-genres, and in the process, found a community of like-minded book-devourers on Twitter, Instagram, SmartBitchesTrashyBooks, All About Romance, and Love in a Time of Feminism. Reading romance is absolutely the best decision I have ever made.