Is anyone else having a hard time finding the type of books they want to read?
I don’t mean that it’s hard to get book recommendations or even to find books to read period since we now have digital books readers allowing us to have a single physical device containing hundreds of books some of them free as great literary classics.
The problem is, and I think it’s a major one is the question of what to read?
Well let me explain it a bit.
Say you have someone who isn’t an avid reader and decided to start reading the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire, more popularly known by the first title in the series Game of Thrones. They’re a fan of the show and they want to get more details. Okay that person will read the first book, maybe go on to read the remaining four; the problem is once you’ve had your fill of that particular style, what do you read next?
And that’s the problem right there. You don’t know, more accurately, you don’t even know where to look.
Now for video games, movies, comics, there’s web sites I know of or I can search for easily. But books? I don’t know why but I don’t have a solid resource for this sort of thing.
And I have a resource for anything.
If you have a website for book reviews that’s great but more and more people I talk to, especially in science fiction and fantasy genres, mostly get their recommendations from friends rather than a website or a store clerk.
Though to be fair, with the way Indigo’s going these days you’ll be lucky if they even sell books anymore.
Even friends are a dice roll on occasion. For example, I have a friend who’s an avid book reader (much like the rest of us) and he was looking for a fantasy book but one without a lot of magic in it or at least where the magic was not prevalent or served as the first response to most problems. Someone recommended to him that he read the Mistborn novel. Now don’t misunderstand, it’s a perfectly great book with a wonderful, innovative story but the system of magic used in it is incredibly prevalent.
And no matter what anyone tells you, there is nothing quite the same as reading a book, or enjoying any other entertainment media, and it provides you with the approximate themes or action you were expecting. It’s something a lot of Hollywood movies don’t oft recognize.
Now normally this wouldn’t be a problem except for a single issue, the turnover for books is high. I would say almost insanely high. That makes a fair deal of sense considering how little it takes to make a book compared to a film or even a comic. As a result we have an entire continuum of books that at their time were best sellers but didn’t become true indoctrinated classics. Never mind titles that were critically praised but never read. Sure you probably know a literature purist of some kind who could point to you what sort of books you might like. But if you go off the beaten track on it you start rolling dice about which books to pick up.
For example NPR (no I don’t know what it stands for; I’d never heard of them prior) recently released a list of the top 100 reader recommended science fiction and fantasy books. Appropriately enough, SF Signal released a flow chart to help people navigate through the titles to determine which one they wanted to read.
Good luck! We’re all counting on you!
I had only two problems with this, one I think the pool of readers who recommended titles was a bit limited but you can’t avoid that. Especially if everything I’ve outlined before happens to be completely accurate. Two, it occurred to me that there was an entire continuum of novels from the 80s and 90s that were being forgotten. Things like Thieves’ World, Last Dragonlord, and Elvenbane. Yes these are all books on my shelf but they were all million copy releases in their time and firm international best sellers. Hell I’m surprised The Skystone isn’t on there. Or anything by David Gemmell! The man was one of the last surviving great bastions of heroic fantasy when everyone else was trying to perpetually—ad nauseam I would say—reinvent heroes in fantasy.
I think there needs to be a great, or at the very least, well marketed book review site. Something we all universally refer to for beginning research even if we don’t credit it with quality like IGN or IMDB. I think that’s why physical book sales are declining, it isn’t so much that the digital novels are accessible, that only explains why the digital medium is on the rise. I think books suffer, ironically enough, from a lack of knowledge about them and there needs to be a collaboration, a real effort made to push literature onto the masses.
At the very least, book lovers would be informed about a title they didn’t previously know.
And so too does this work exist.