Feminist books and romance novels in Los Angeles | Where Locals Go

-I think all of the stigma
around romance comes from men. There was an entire
generation of men who seemed very threatened
and freaked out by the notion
that women would have, first of all, an entire genre
all to themselves, and that the books
were about love and, along with that, sex. -I started reading romance
when I was 12 years old. Both of us, I think,
were looking for stories about women and I,
in particular, was looking for stories
about women in history who got a happy ending, who weren’t a footnote
in a man’s story. -And I think also what
really brought us to romance was browsing in book stores. We’ve always known
how important community is, and I think given
that we started from a crowd-funding platform, it’s so ingrained
in this business that was started by basically
the two of us plus 610 other people who gave us
their money to start. So we do all kinds of events
here locally. Our comedy night is one
of our most popular events and we keep that free
so that really anybody can come. -I was, like, living out
of a Saturn for six years. Don’t feel bad, like,
a four-seater. Not a bad gig,
you know what I mean? -Stand-up comedy has not
traditionally been a very friendly place
to women and people from
other marginalized communities. It’s kind of always
been a boys’ club. -My name is Erin James,
or as most men call me, are you using this chair? [laughter] And I will totally
respond to either, so. -But there’s a lot of stand-up
in LA, and I think what sets
this show apart is that it’s really focused
on women and queer people
and people of color. It’s a monthly event, so we get a lot of people
who come every month. And then we always
have new people who are coming by
to check it out, so it’s a really fun way to
introduce people to the store. -It can be very emotional here. -There have been more than
one customer who’s cried. -Yeah. Romance is the literature
of hope, so to come to this bookstore
every day where people are finding
those stories and sharing them, it’s really heartening to see. -It’s when customers find
a romance novel that they really feel
represents themselves, especially if they haven’t
been able to find one before. Romance is really trying
to push itself forward in terms of racial diversity
and diversity of sexuality. I think when people are able
to see those books and hold them in their hands, they really feel
validated and seen, and that’s really exciting
for us to be able to facilitate. -I think especially that they’re
love stories is so special because to see someone who looks
like you getting a happy ending is so meaningful
for a lot of people.

7 thoughts on “Feminist books and romance novels in Los Angeles | Where Locals Go

  1. It's a shame the reputation feminists get. Not every feminist is an extremist.

  2. You can’t find little jewels like this any more, the local libraries don’t even cover that many books in their stock. I would spend hours in book stores, now you have to go online just to order one book. It’s so sad….

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