The Romance of Reading Glasses

It’s not enough for Andrea Levy to win the Orange and the Whitbread. She’s just been nominated for a third award: the Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Normally, we wouldn’t have any problems with this. We’ve long been awaiting Small Island‘s inevitable paperback version of a long-haired hunk mounting some bodice-ripped brunette against a conflagrating background — if only to have the hopeless Harlequin crowd accidentally reading a moving tale of two couples on an island.

The chief problem here is that the prize is sponsored by FosterGrant Reading Glasses. And while our librarian fetish is well documented, we have to point out that FosterGrant frames aren’t exactly daring or, for that matter, romantic.

And they damn well should be.

One would think that after centuries of eyewear technology, FosterGrant would have stumbled upon the ultimate solution — frames that provide practical vision for the far-sighted while considering the requirements of lascivious literary types.

Expansion of eyewear translates into expanding ideas of romance. And for far-sighted novelists, we’re talking a sharp dropoff in “slither slither” Wolfe-style bad sex and a veritable rise in “romantic novels.” So what of it, FosterGrant? Where are the reading glasses I can wear for the dominatrix? If we can’t be indecent on television, then we can surely be naughty in literature.