Since having Edith, I have had to do all my reading on my phone. This is new to me; I don’t especially like ebooks, and so I don’t know what the good apps and so on are, so I just use Apple’s Books app. It’s fine. I’ve gotten in the habit of perusing their $5 or less section pretty much daily to see if there are any hidden gems. This is the lamest possible shopping addiction, but it’s something I can do with one hand while nursing a half-asleep baby, so I’ve done a lot of it.
I’ve amassed quite the collection of decent books in this way, but you have to pick through a lot of garbage for the rare find. A lot of what’s there are romance novels, and I’ve become fascinated by the covers. I’ve never really read many romance novels, being pretty aromantic and also having a gag reflex to shitty prose. So I didn’t really know what was out there. (I am, however, fairly well-versed in the various genres on AOOO, so make of that what you will.) But now I feel relatively familiar!
Here are some covers I’ve marveled at recently:
There’s a whole genre that’s basically “Texas,” which is odd to me, because I can’t think of much that is less romantic than Texas. It’s certainly not exotic. Why are people into this? I guess it’s the cowboy thing.
I like to think Texas Baby Conspiracy is what my old neighbors whispered to each other as they noticed me become heavily pregnant during a quarantine while living alone and not having left my house or received any visitors in over nine months.
Then, there’s pregnancy porn with a sort of international coffees theme that would be racist were it not 100% limited to white European countries. This seems like more of a male fantasy to me (having been pregnant, I can now say definitively that it is not a particularly amorous condition unless you have a vomit fetish), but I can’t imagine men are reading these books. Are these…translated novels?
There’s quite a lot of copaganda stuff, which is whatever, but then there is also a whole line of…K-9 unit romances? Are these romances for furries? Is it the dogs themselves who are having romances? I don’t want to kink shame, I just don’t understand who gets off on this or what the angle is:
Then, there’s a crapload of Amish ones. I have no idea why Amish bodice rippers are so big. I guess it’s because of Witness? But that was so long ago! These all look like Hallmark movies, but I assume people hook up in them, or at least kiss passionately, since they are titled “Inspirational Romance.” Anyway, the Amish really do it for people, apparently (I also note with the Amish ones, men are never pictured, which makes sense as this really seems like a fantasy series for fundies who are frightened by sex or possibly repulsed by it):
I’m sorry, but I have to ask…is this lady about to fuck this horse?
Note also the version numbers on these things. The one above is BOOK SIX of a line called “Indiana Amish Brides.” This means that there are at least six different ways of getting off to Indiana. Amish. Brides. Personally, I can’t think of a less romantic concept than being Amish in Indiana, and yet!
The thing I like about all of these is that they’re not subtle or sophisticated about what women might be attracted to. They don’t come up with elaborate ways to hint at those baser impulses or dance around them; they’re just like “brawny cop holding a baby” and I assume they all do exactly what they say on the tin:
You might think having gone so far as to look at and screenshot all of these, I’d be curious enough to at least spring for $2 and check one out, but I feel like I can only be disappointed. The covers are bringing me a lot of joy, and sometimes it’s better to leave a bit of a mystery.