12/30/2011 09:40 am ET | Updated Feb 29, 2012

Dangerous Books for Girls

by guest blogger Maya Rodale, writer of historical tales of true love and adventure.

Fill in the blank: When my mom said she was really into __________, I laughed at her.
  • country music
  • yoga
  • romance novels
  • all of the above.
The answer is d) all of the above. When my mom discovered the amazing songs of country music and the awesomeness of yoga and the cracking-good stories of romance novels, she told me all about it, and I laughed. Awful of me, I know.

But she has had the last laugh, as now I have been practicing yoga for years, I wear cowboy boots and listen to country music so much I speak with a faux twang, and I write romance novels for a living.

But where did that ignorant laughter come from? How did I know to laugh when I had never listened to country music or twisted into one asana or read a romance novel? I don't have the answer for the first two, but I did my homework on the last one. In fact, I've spent two college degrees studying the matter of women and fiction and the often-derogatory attitude toward that combination.

The short answer: Because romance novels inspire and empower women to live and love to a higher standard. And because that's a threat to the status quo, we're taught to ridicule those who embrace that literature, that message, that vision of a life well lived and loved.

The 4:38 minute answer:

The other lesson to be learned here: My mom is always right. Ha-ha.

Maya Rodale is the author of numerous historical romance novels. She lives in New York City with a rogue of her own and their dog, Penelope. Find her on FacebookTwitter, or at Her most recent book is Dangerous Books for Girls.

For more from Maria Rodale, go to

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