Recently I made this blogpost on social media and opinions in the m/m genre that focused on one of the more negative sides of this genre. That got me thinking too. Every low point must have a high point. A flip-side. The positive to the negative side.
That is why I thought a follow-up post was in order. Specifically on what I do like in this genre. It got me thinking on why I started reading the m/m genre and why it’s my main go-to genre when I pick up a book. Because I used to read a lot of mainstream (romance) books in all genre’s, but now even the books on my shelves are mostly divided between mainstream Young Adult and m/m books, with a few stray Shakespeare, historical and mainstream books.
First I feel I need to clarify that I’m one of those person who mostly reads stories with gay stories. While I don’t dislike stories with lesbian, transgender, asexual or other characters, the story has to really interest me before I pick it up.
So what do I like so much about m/m books and the genre?
- Well for one thing the romance. I’ve always been a sucker for some good romance and that hasn’t changed. Though in the last 10 years I’ve come to read more gay romance books than others. If you were to ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. In part I think because I like strong female leads in (romance) books and romance has been lacking that for a long time. There are some yes, but not the level I want. Women always tend to look toward the strong, capable men to solve their problems and act like a brainless bimbo in between (Yes, I realize I’m stereotyping and yes, I have a problem).
- For another, I’m as shallow as a baby pool. I like men. I like men in leather and I like them with cowboy hats. I like firemen, men in uniform or in armour with swords. Put dragons into the story and I’m sold.
- The authors of this genre. Over the last 10 years I’ve come to know a lot of authors in this genre and I even met a few of them at the conferences. In a way – for me – this genre is a lot more accessible. Of course if I put an effort into other genres… No seriously, a large part of why I keep reading also has to do with a personal connection to some author. Also the extra work they put into their craft by posting flash fiction or even freebies online. I love the artwork that some (not always author, but also fans and other graphic designers) pull of for this genre.
- There are a lot of good stories out there in the world, but I keep finding he stories I like best these days in the m/m genre. Apart from the men or even the gay romance, there are some really good (short)stories out there. Particularly in the fantasy and urban fantasy genre. Not to forget the mystery genre. It’s true, this genre likes drama and tortured heroes and it could use a lot more humorous or comedy stories. Not to mention that the genre is at times flooded with half-assed should-never-have-been-(self)published stories. Despite all that, half of my top 10 of all-time books come from this genre.