When one gulps books by the bucketful like a thirsty avocado (like me, I am this avocado) sometimes books start to sound eerily similar. I could avoid this, I suppose, by reading less? BUT I WANT TO READ ALL THE BOOKS. And I will. Even if I have to live forever to do so. (Sheesh, the trials of being an intense bookworm. Immortality. Such a bother.)
But some books just absolutely stand out from the others. They totally stick to my skull and I remember them. They’re unique. They seem better than other books in their genre because of this. They’ve kicked the generic bucket or they’ve done this plot twist I’ve never seen in that genre. Or sometimes the plot is 100% average but the writing is the most beautiful thing to ever roam the universe. Either way — I END UP IN LOVE. And I feel like they are the pinnacles of their genre. I love when they say something that not everyone else is saying. Fresh books = my one true love.
And then — gasp — I start to demand this of all books.
Is that fair of me?
Should every book bring something new “to the conversation”? Should they always have an aspect that stands out? Is it fair to ask this?!?!
Obviously what makes a book “stand out” probably differs from bookworm to bookworm. And it’d depend on what said bookworm has read too. For instance, when I first read The Hunger Games (published 2008) I’d NEVER read anything like it. It was so unique and original to me. But…there was a series (that I still haven’t read) published before it (2003) called Battle Royale where kids are forced to fight to the death. SO ANYWAY. It always depends on the bookworm and what books they’ve devoured like hungry cheetahs.
And obviously there’s “nothing new under the sun” and themes and messages are going to be rehashed a MILLION times. But, for instance, Tithe by Holly Black and Lament by Maggie Stiefvater are both about Celtic myths and creepy faeries — but they couldn’t be MORE different. Same topic. Totally different style and angle.
When I read books that all follow the same patterns, they just smoosh together like soggy pineapple pies. Like Pawn and Starters…dystopians that felt totally the same to me. Interchangeable story lines? I THINK NO.
I long for things that are different.
But if everything is different…does that make NOTHING different?! Do I only suffer from this because I read so many books each year?
I guess many books get stuck in the tropes and cliches of their genre. And not every book will resonate with a reader, so even if it is unique, that doesn’t mean everyone will like it. And sometimes books that DO stand out are too underrated and we don’t even hear of them. And this pains my bookish soul. It does. (Look at me, in all this pain.) And we can’t expect authors to read ALL the books in their genre, so how would they know about everything that’s been published?! We can’t expect them to.
I still would, personally, like to think that every book could bring something new to the conversation. It doesn’t have to be HUGE! I just want to pick up a book and not feel like I’ve read it before. Maybe this is too much of me to ask?! Maybe I’ve just read too much? WHO WOULD KNOW. But I believe every book needs its own little pineapple sparkle of uniqueness.