I went from reading around 30 books a month in two languages to hardly reading any, because I lapsed into the ‘I’m gonna re-read the hundreds (if not multiple thousands) of fanfics I have on my Kindle again’ phase.
(And I have a weird relationship with fan fiction, where I have a couple of specific fandoms, two which are based on TV shows I’ve never watched a single episode of (and not going to), and another one is Star Trek, and mostly skip the porn and any lengthy angsty staff, and focus on fluff-and-comfort and weird comedy AUs.)
Problem is, there is only one kind of books I want to read, and it often feels like it’s the opposite of what ‘publishers’ and ‘public’ believe constitutes a good book.
In fact, the only books I would say fitted into the ‘what I need from a book’ the closest were self-published books with a relatively small fan base.
And what I need are the books that make my life better, that bring something positive into it. Books that are not based on the nauseatingly popular ‘angst is cool’ and ‘death, gore, suffering, and pain are even cooler’ presumptions.
I went through the phase when I read all kinds of books the world has to offer—the classics, the dead white guy hits, the award winners, the problem works—when I was a teenager. I had two good English Lit teachers in high school who also chose books meant to teach you something (Color Purple, Black Rain, 100 Years of Solitude, etc). I also did my postgrad thesis on women’s literature, including people like Tony Morrison, Joan Didion, Dorothy Alison, Loise Erdrich, and others.
And the thing is, that was more than enough. I don’t need any books that try to teach me about monsters in my life anymore. The things people call ‘profound’ and ‘raw’ and ‘deeply influential’ and ‘unsettling commentary’, with all the ‘exploring the challenges ans struggles’. I don’t need books that focus on the portrayal of horrors, pain, human problems, conflict, hatred, prejudice, drama, and all the other negative things that for some reason are considered to be a must-have for a book to be a bestseller. It’s like people think that a story is only worth telling if there’s pain or sadness in it. Like ‘good’ is not enough to be interesting.
I need books that banish and eradicate horrors, pain, human problems, conflict, hatred, prejudice, drama. Books that focus on good, happiness, love, and comfort.
And honestly, I don’t get why they are so hard to find. Why people are so obsessed with angst and drama that they think a book cannot be considered a book unless it has some hurtful drama in it.
It’s why I binge-read so many weird romances in the last year, because they felt like the closest you could come to literature made for fun and comfort, but then even the silliest comedy-romance books (in any genre) would have some ‘weird unnecessary drama’ phase around 70% into the story, like they all went through the same cookie cutter. Like someone told all writers and publishers that a book won’t sell if you don’t put some unnecessary angst and stupid drama into exact same spot in every book. And I’ve literally read hundreds of them, and found out that about 90% follow the exact same pattern.
Right now, I believe that books that don’t make my life better—and I don’t mean some “educational” and “how-to” crap, I mean the books that make me feel better, that bring me positive emotions, that make me smile, that take me somewhere where I don’t need to deal with angst, pain, and drama—are just not worth my time anymore. Why would I willingly spend my time on something that bring me negative emotions? Why do other people do?
So once again I find myself too tired of angst and drama to open any of the 100smth unread books I have piled in my apartment, and am hiding in a ton of fluffy fanfiction instead.