Good book noise

Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books says reading romance is a communal experience. Before digital books and the Internet, people would judge what you read. But now, you can find people with the same reading interests as you online, and it makes the romance community a safer place.

Transcript

Is reading romance a shared experience?

Well one of the things that happens when you read a really good romance novel, and this is common among many romance readers, we make “good book” noise. So if somebody brings up a romance that you’ve really enjoyed and you’ve both liked it, “Oh, I love that book!” “Oh!” We have this noise we make and I’ve described it and had people in the audience of a session that I’ve given going, “I totally make that noise. I can’t transcribe it, I don’t know how to spell it, but I totally make good book noise.” It is a common experience of “Oh, we both love that experience. We have experienced the same emotions.”

There are very few moments where everyone feels the same, and when two readers meet and have had that common experience, you know you’ve had the same emotion as someone else. Like, “Oh my gosh, we may have nothing in common except this book but we’re going to talk for the next five hours about it because it was wonderful!”

Do romance readers connect online?

Well one thing that’s happened with the number of romance readers going online is that they’re connecting to one another and finding people who read the same things they do without risking the personal embarrassment of having to reveal it to someone who may reject them. If there are two people on the same romance website, they’re already in a safe space for each other to talk about their favorite books. It is amazing the insulting and demeaning things people will say to romance readers and it’s really horrific.

I’m reading my romance and I will have people standing above me going, “Hmph. Nice,” or, “You read that?” or, “Is that any good?” which is one of the reasons why romance readers are so embracing of digital books because there is no way that anyone can tell what you’re reading and no one is going to make a dismissive or derisive statement about your books.

I don’t have an agenda to make sure everyone’s reading a romance, that you should try one. I don’t want to convince people that they should be reading them, but I want to defend them and make sure they’re given equal respect. And running the website for six years now has made me a lot less bashful about romances. I read romances. Want to make something of it? . . . I don’t necessarily want to make other people read them. But if you’re curious, I would so love to hook you up with a book you’d like.

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