The New York Times had an article this week (yesterday, if we’re going to be technical) about an revolation that, to be honest, doesn’t surprise me. Here’s the headline:Recession Fuels Readers’ Escapist Urges.
If you have only a little time, let me sum it up for you. Basically, because the economy is so depressing, and people are so broke, no one wants to pay the $14 for a Trade size or the $25+ for a Hardcover book about “real life” with struggles, personal experiences, and (lets face it) the fact that life kind of sucks. When you pick up a book, do you want to spend your precious free time reading Anna Karenina, spending 838 pages listing to a woman bemoan her marriage just cause some hottie shows interest in her, only to have her *spoiler* step in front of a train and off herself because life just didn’t turn out the way she wanted?
If your answer is yes, this post is not for you. My suggestion, go take a copy of Chopin’s The Awakening and have someone tell you the truth about Santa, Fat-Free potato chips, and Friendly Fire.
If you said no, not only are you a card carrying member of my favorite organization (Intelligent, Motivated Readers Interested in Good, Honest Trite), but you’re aware that too much brutal honesty can really bring you down. And like the rest of the I.M.R.I.G.H.T. society, you don’t mind suspending reality just long enough to see that: boy meets girl and rides off into the sunset; the hero saves beats the bad guy, and saves the ___ (insert term of choice, ex. day, world, cute-fuzzy puppy, alternate universe run by subservient sex-bots created with the sole purpose of providing pleasure to the lucky 43 year-old men that live in their mom’s basement); and when you turn to the last page, all is right in the world, with a solution for world peace, the plan for functional universal health-care, and an execution date for every adamant believer that the unitard is sexy.
All the article is telling us is that when times are bad, you want to feel good, not worse. Shocker. More importantly, it’s telling us that some companies are making out like BANDITS because they jumped on the “Love Train”…literally. Check out the line at the Romance section and tell me Harlequin isn’t cashing in on this addiction!
So yes, role your eyes at the awful, Fabio-esque men baring their chests (and sometimes more) on the cover; laugh at the absolutely implausible story about the chubby, geeky virgin that the George-Clooney-wannabe has the hots for; and cringe at the godawful dialogue during those laughable (read cheesy and unlikely) sex scenes that seem to happen every 8 pages.
But remember, just like you pamper yourself with an alcohol-induced coma after a bad week, many readers turn to the happily-ever-after school of thought during a recession. And if you’re smart, you’ll come up with a way to join in and squeeze every dollar you can from this market.
And on that note: While Man’s highest joy may be victory (Genghis Khan), Woman’s highest joy is getting him to shut up about it!