Tell her you read all those Regencies for the history. In my case, I think it's just comes with my job, sort of like the way some of my students clutch their pearls because of my cavalier attitude toward the Oxford comma . People generally don't like to have their cherished assumptions blown out of the water. My guitar teacher runs into this all the time as well; he's an amazing musician and can play things that make other guitarists' jaws drop, but his personal taste runs to lowbrow music like Irish drinking songs. And he picks his private students based not on talent but on how much fun they have playing things like Irish drinking songs. He says he listens to talented musicians play at the university all day and there's only so much Bach a person can listen to before he begins to forget that music is supposed to be fun (which is not to say he doesn't love Bach). People find this puzzling. I think a lot of people associate reading with Improvement--it's something you do to improve your mind, your career, your information base, etc. And those people rarely think of reading as something you do for entertainment or leisure. Most people I know read for information, period. And from that perspective, reading something like a novel only makes sense if it's the kind of novel that improves your mind. This is actually something born out by studies--people read a lot these days, more than they did in the past, but leisure reading is slowly but surely fading away. I know people who say they don't do any of those things, and I believe them unless I have good reason not to. Why not? We all have different tastes.