The past few days found me perusing some different avenues for new book suggestions. I’ve glanced through the New York Times book reviews, skimmed a page from a fashion magazine, even actually clicked on Audible’s suggestions of “great new reads.”
Maybe I’m not the target audience for those bursts of recommendations. I don’t run to the bestseller lists. I don’t read what everyone else is reading just because I see it on everyone’s reading list, coffee table and twitter post.
(Although I might grab a hugely discounted copy or borrow from the library after months of hype.
I actually read all of Twilight, thinking it might get better. And for my sister who bought the copy for me.
I’m still trying to forge through Fifty Shades. I think I might be in chapter two.
Both of which insulted my intelligence, my hard-earned English degree and my sense of art in fiction.)
I’ve found myself in recent years more open to new authors and more respectful of the effort it takes to get published (when you don’t know/blow someone in the editor chairs).
But I do have a few genres I stick with, because I like them, not because they are popular. So I never read Eat, Pray, Love or the Life of Pi. That doesn’t discount them as being good or bad according to my one opinion among many. And it doesn’t make me look smarter if I have read them.
I don’t belong to a book club. I don’t follow the crowd. I don’t read popular books because they are popular. I read the books that fall into a broad category of genres that I enjoy. That way, when I review them, I have experience to back up my opinions. I know the rules and tropes and I know that when those are artfully broken it won’t fit into a specific label.
That is why, when I am actually approached to do a review (rare and exciting), I appreciate the one who’s researched even the tiniest bit my reading habits. (That is probably the most you’ll find on me online: what I read.)
I appreciate finding authors who are a little twisted in the imagination and don’t follow the formula scene by scene.
I appreciate authors who push the boundaries of their genres at every level, from those who just kind of nudge them out of shape to those who burst through, shattering rainbows of happiness.
I appreciate those who have the fortitude to pursue their dreams and get that nagging story out for writing the story not just churning out the formulas with cliché after cliché.
So I’m raising my glass in a toast to the writers who are artists with passion and dedication and who have enthralled, surprised and entertained me. You may not have the paid for hype, but you have the talent. Thank you for sharing.