On writing

Are they the only books out there?

I went to the library today, looking for some holiday reading. I wanted fantasy, good fantasy, that I hadn’t read before.

The back of every book I looked at seemed to have the same plot:

The kingdom of (somewhere) is in trouble. (someone) discovers they have special powers and must use these powers to save the kingdom.

The bookstores had the same. So I went to Amazon to try to buy something different. They had the same, plus some books about boys coming into their powers —Eldest (sequel to Christopher Paolini’s Eragon), and Amulet of Samarkand (Jonathon Stroud), lots of movie spinoffs and some urban fantasy.

I don’t mind any of these books individually when I’m in the mood, but I came away discontented today. Wasn’t there anything different? I wanted something I could pick up and say, “This sounds interesting.”

Worse, I flicked through the start pages of some of these books. They were all very ordinary. There was nothing in the first few pages of any of them that made me want to keep reading.

I think maybe my holiday reading should be writing, instead.

One trend I did notice at the library—there’s a lot more science fiction. A lot of it is reprints too. They had a whole new set of Robert Heinlen in; brand new hardcovers, and lots of newish-looking books with rocket symbols. (Our library categorises their books with stickers. A deerstalker hat for crime fiction, a heart for romance, a dragon for fantasy and a rocket for science fiction.)

Three days later I go back to the library, having finished all the books I had chosen. I picked up ten books I wanted to read in about as many minutes.

I think it’s just the mood you’re in at the time.

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