Browsing Hudson News before a flight at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, says Katie Fustich in LitHub, I spotted Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I, the inspiration for the Netflix series Bridgerton. “No,” I thought, “I can’t.” Surely I’m above reading that sort of tripe? But when my boarding call rang out, I panicked and took the plunge – blushing furiously as I practically threw my money at the shop assistant.
By the end of the flight, I felt I had learnt a great “bookish secret”. Forget trying to be intellectual, desperately “ingesting, without question, what dead male academics deem important to the literary canon”. Instead, read romance. You’ll get pages and pages of “crystalline character studies, incisive dialogue, thought-provoking social commentary, and yes – lots of very good sex”. In one survey, the majority of romance readers admitted to hiding their books. It is, after all, the only literary genre considered anti-intellectual. But who cares what anyone else thinks when you’re having so much “damn fun”?