Why Do We Read Romance Novels and Crime Fiction: “The Night and the Music” by Lawrence Block

The Night and The Music: The Matthew Scudder Stories - Lawrence Block

“I learned to like the music because I heard so much of it there, and because you could just about taste the alcohol in every flatted fifth. Nowadays I go for the music, and what I hear in the blue notes is not so much the booze as all the feelings the drink used to mask.”


In the short-story “The Night and the Music” from the collection “The Night and the Music”


Is that a fact only women read romance novels? I don't buy it. The same way I don’t buy only men read Crime Fiction. If safely exploring the brutal and violent world and the disproportionate threat women apparently face is the motive, perusing academic journals and scientific studies, even TV documentaries, makes more sense than reading stories and literature that feature brutal violence. Is it possible that one of the reasons women (and men for that matter) like reading about human violence and brutality is that it fascinates and even in certain instances titillates? Romance novels sell millions of copies - despite even its fans deriding the atrocious writing. Are the novel's largely female readership using the books as an indirect tool to make sense of (some) women's tendencies to be submissive sexually and willingly degraded by a dominant male? I don't think so. I even conducted a pool on my woman friends, and it’s a “fact”.


If you're into what-turns-men-and-women-on-fictionwise, read on. If your sensibilities lie elsewhere, don't bother.