MY NAME IS ANNE, AND I READ SMUT.

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Happily.
Giddily.
Passionately.

And I’m tired of apologizing for it, or justifying myself or proving that I’m really not a mindless bimbo, no matter what I read.

I used to tell people that I have three degrees from an Ivy League University so that I could read my smut with impunity—how could anyone think I am stupid if I’m so well-educated?

And I would rush to inform them of my prestigious career in national security to assure them—and myself—that no, really, I’m intelligent and accomplished. Even if my choice of reading material doesn’t seem to reflect that.

But, it became inconvenient to carry around wallet-sized copies of my Ivy League diplomas or to “spontaneously” drop the words “nuclear counterterrorism” into casual conversation, just to offset the ostensibly negative impression I was making by admitting that my current book was titled Dark Lover (a phenomenal book that is the beginning of one of my very favorite series by J.R. Ward, about which I’ll have a lot more to say in future posts).

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I’m ready to stop looking sheepish because I love reading vampire chick porn or because shape-shifting dragons make me deliriously excited. Or because I love the fey in all their incarnations, and because I believe werewolves and other lyncanthropically challenged individuals are really just misunderstood and deserve love just like the rest of us.

I love fantasy novels. I live to read my books, and I am never without my Kindle, just in case I have a few extra minutes while riding the elevator to my next appointment, or if I get stuck at a particularly long traffic light. I also enjoy mystery novels, police procedurals, historical fiction and international espionage thrillers. The bloodier, the better. The more fast-paced, the more I love it. The more aloof and super-competent the art-restorer-turned-assassin, the more I want to curl up with my Kindle and dive deep.

I’m ready to come out of the coffin, unleash my magic, and tell the world that this stuff is good—actually, not just good, but great. And it’s not just the literary intelligentsia who get to corner the market on profundity, relevance and knowledge. There is truth in fantasy, my friends, and I want to make sure everyone knows it.

I am smart, educated, witty and charming. In addition, I am accomplished and driven, and I could give Eminem lessons on being cool. Given all of these superior character traits, I had to ask myself—why I am so caught up in all this supposedly low-brow fiction?

Why do these stories and characters stay with me day after day, week after week and year after year? Why do I find myself thinking about them, their lives, hopes, dreams and fates? Why do I want them to get their HEA (happily ever after)? What’s in all of this vicarious living for me—smart, accomplished, go-getter that I am?

These are the questions I’ll be exploring in this space for as long as I have something to say and someone who chooses to listen and engage with me. Because what I realized is that I can’t be the only one out there with these proclivities—there have to be other smart, accomplished folks who yearn to validate their reading preferences. I’m also sure there are lots of people who might think of themselves as smart and accomplished, but who believe that their penchant for smut somehow precludes their elevation to the smart kids’ class. No way. Maybe it’s the other way around, and the smart kids are so busy reading high-brow literary works that they forgot that it’s ok to enjoy yourself along the way.

So, come out with me as I investigate these fascinating genres and all they have to teach us. Because what I finally, finally understood about myself is that everything I know I learned from reading smut.