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Friday, August 4, 2006

How Old Is Old Enough?

For as long as I can remember, my older sisters read romance novels.

When I was younger and used to idolize my older sisters, there were many a nights, I stayed up listening to them talk about this hero and that hero and how glorious this story was and that story, but by the looks of the books that they read, I couldn't understand why they liked to read those horrific looking books (I totally blame my sisters for making me into the cover snob that I am, the books they brought home were atrocious and just unappealing to me as a young lass and still have the same effect on me now as a grown woman). There were times when I would pick up one of their books at the young age of 12-13 and just skim through them, not really wanting to read it or anything, but wanting to see what the big deal about those books were and each time I would pick up the books, my sisters would take them away from me and tell me that I was too young to read them.

It wasn't a big deal to me back then, because I was young and didn't want to read anything that didn't have pictures in it. I had read a handful of books, like the Babysitters Club, the Sweet Valley High books and even a lot of the Judy Blume books, but when I got older, around 14-15, started high school, reading was on at the bottom of my list of fun activities to do, back then talking on the phone with my best friend or going to this party or that party or sleeping at this friends house was much more fun to me than sitting at home, reading. There were people to see, things to do and I was always out doing them.

But after I graduated from high school and turned 18, I spent my days babysitting, my nights taking classes at the community college and so during the day, while the kids napped I had a lot of time on my hands.

I remember it was in January sometime when I picked up my first book. It was a book that all of my sisters had just finished reading and I saw each of them read the book and each of them cry through the book, wondering what the big deal was, I picked it up and started reading it myself. It was Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught. I remember thinking about that book long after I finished the book, fantasizing about finding my very own Jordan Townsende and I'm ashamed to admit that even while I was sitting through Church, I replayed scenes in my head and grinned wickedly throughout the various sermons and what not. I became hooked after that, I inhaled every JM book I could get my hands on until I had read every book on her backlist and then I moved on to others that my sisters had on their bookshelves, Julie Garwood being one of them.

Now, I was 18 when I started reading romance novels and some of you guys who read my personal blog, may remember me posting about my Mini Me, Chelsea. Chelsea is 13 years old and called me earlier this morning to ask me about a book because it's summertime and she's bored at home and she wants to know if she can read, Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. I told her no, that her mother would kill me if she found out I let her read that book, so she's like, "Well how old do I have to be to read that book?" I just shrugged and told her to find another book to read, there's plenty to choose from, so grumpily she agreed to read some other book but she made it clear that she was unhappy about not being able to read that book.

So my question to you ladies is twofold, When did you start reading romance novels and How old is old enough to start reading romance novels?

*Edited to add:

Oh hell, I just got a call from my other niece, Chloe who said that Chelsea has been reading all day and hasn't done any of her chores because she's got her nose stuck into one of my books, which she doesn't think is appropriate for her to be reading, so I'm freaking out, thinking she went ahead and read Lover Eternal anyway, so I asked Chloe if it was a big paperback or a small paperback, she said it's a big paperback, so I calmed down a bit thinking she's reading one of my chick lit books which I've already okay'd with her that she could read since it's like PG-13 or so but then she told me what book it was and now I'm back to being terrified of my sister finding out, because the stupid little shit is reading, Linda Howard's MacKenzie's Mountain.

Oh freaking great!

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