I Don't Like Anything. Why? How?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by DragonOfTheAerie, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    Not *literally* anything, but close...

    I'm talking about the literary world here, fantasy mostly, since that's a good bit of what I read. Guys, I am in despair.

    What can you do when just no book satisfies you anymore? On Goodreads, I find myself rating books higher than they deserve, simply because I have nothing to compare them to. I've been working my way through all the dragon books I can muster a remote interest in. So i've tried Temeraire, i've tried Pern, ive tried Eragon...et cetera et cetera. I was stunned at how much the latter two sucked, given how wildly popular they are, and Temeraire is pretty good but it's nothing great. I rated the ones i've read so far pretty high and yet they still seem to fall really short. I have no idea what i'm comparing them to, I don't have anything, but i don't understand why everything is so utterly unsatisfying. I just want some good solid reading about some goddamn dragons.

    I still enjoy reading, but i have a creeping feeling that the reason I find it so hard to motivate myself to read is that a book hasn't really captured me in forever. I've found plenty fun to dive into, but nothing that insists to be read. I miss so much the feeling of not being able to put down a book and yet almost everything makes me wither a little inside as I read because it just doesn't seem like enough. Satisfying enough, captivating enough.

    It's hard for me to find a book that interests me in the first place. I look at all the most popular fantasy novels and...idk guys. Wizards, kings vying for thrones, more wizards, thinly veiled D&D campaigns. Fantasy is a genre where you can do LITERALLY ANYTHING. LITERALLY. ANYTHING. You can write about space beings living in colonies in the rings of a toxic planet, communicating telepathically with the stars. You can set your fantasy world entirely on the abyssal plain of an ocean, with cities built in the interiors of sunken warships and the bones of fallen giants. But every other book is more wizards, more D&D creatures, more elves, more kings vying for thrones, set in a vaguely European pseudo-medieval land, with generally similar types of themes. The Dragons list on Goodreads is mostly either this or shifter romance. (???) People that deviate are harder to find. Maybe i should *make* myself read the books that seem really boring to me. But shouldn't there be books that I...I don't know...naturally want to read??

    And i know. I know. Genre conventions, based on what people like to read, what people can be relied upon to read...except that apparently some readers are getting glossed over. Why does everything seem so bland? Do I just have fundamentally different tastes than everyone in the world?

    I've been reading weird fiction lately and I guess I like most of it? Also steampunk. It's more creative and closer to what I care for than everything else i've been trying, but...I don't know, guys. I don't know. It seems like people aren't writing things like I'd want to read.

    That is, not a lot of books out there are very good, and not a lot of them are very interesting to me.

    I remember when i first read Harry Potter when i was little and how captivating that was. And I *miss* that.
     
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  2. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    I think it is a point of diminishing returns. When things are new, they are new, and all that undiscovered stuff seems fresh and fun and interesting, but as we encounter more of it, it takes more than just what we have already consumed to satisfy. Sooner or later you reach that point where the first 80% was consumed with a lot of enjoyment, but the same enjoyment cannot be had without spending a lot more effort and energy. You discriminate more, and that makes the pile of stuff that will take you further on smaller and smaller, and soon, very few can measure up.

    What can you do? Cling to things that brought you here and keep holding out for those diamonds in the sand. Or hope to create what you are missing yourself, which is not as easy as it sounds.

    I don't know what to suggest. For myself, I have found I have enjoyed the classic books much more than I thought I would, and have not enjoyed the stuff that people make movies of and everyone talks about much at all. I wonder...maybe it is just me. I recognize I don't share the same sensibilities as the media would have me believe most people have, and I am really hard to please. Sometimes I wish I could, I wish I could like Harry Potter, and things like the Marvel Movies, but really, I don't. I follow them to stay in the conversation, but what am I to do?

    Just keep looking for those rare finds and enjoy the crap out of them when they appear.

    I think the classic work because they have stood somewhat the test of time. But man, give me a good story, that comes if six or seven parts, and a good buddy to enjoy it with, and I am set.

    (And I hate to say it, but I think its time Star Wars and I had that talk...)


    Ah, one thing I do, is talk to others, and try to find their diamonds. If someone else really liked something, I open to seeing if I will as well. Sometimes it pays off, sometime....well, there is that whole not really sharing sensibilities thing.
     
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    That sounds pretty rough.

    I don't read nearly as much these days as I used to, but I'm trying to get back into it. I sort of feel you on how everything seems the same though. I go into Waterstones and I look in the fantasy section and there's so much that should catch my interest, but doesn't.

    At the moment I'm trying to pick up recommendation from people I like, and I try to read stories written by people I know. Some of it I enjoy, and some of it I don't. I also try real hard not to get too hung up on having to finish a story just because I started it. That's getting easier, but it's still a big shift in mindset for me. It's been a sense of pride to finish any book I start, and I'm trying to let that go. There are too many better things to do than waste my time reading books I don't enjoy.

    I also find I'm drawn to shorter books instead of massive tomes, but I don't have a problem with series.

    One recommendation I have - although it doesn't feature dragons - is this one: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson
     
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  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    It’s possible you are growing out of a genre you once loved. You are looking for the same feeling you had as a kid, so keep hunting down similar books.... but it is not the books, it is you. You are not the same person anymore. Your tastes have changed. They have become more sophisticated. You are seeking something new, something to satisfy the new level of curiosity....

    The books I loved at 15 changed by 25 and changed again by 35. The stuff I wrote ten years ago is different than what I wrote 5 years ago, and then changed again.
     
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Valar Lord

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    This!
    And it doesn't stop. Books I loved in my 20s and 30s are now looking a little thin in my 50s.
    If I were you I'd pick a completely different genre, maybe not even anything in a "genre" are read there for a while.
    The change may give you a chance to see things anew.
    Recently I've been reading George Orwell's 1984. It is very different from my usual fair [mostly Crime Noire and Pratchett]. Reading a different style of book has stretched my reading muscles and now I'm looking further and wider and enjoying reading a bit more.
     
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  6. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    Writing it myself might truly be the only way. I've thought very often that this is the source of my dissatisfaction...it is really something inside spurring me to write and fill this void.

    I also have the problem of not enjoying the same sorts of things that most people do. ASOIAF doesn't really appeal to me because i'm bored by courts, kings, politics, grimdark and "traditional" fantasy generally.

    That, and the fact that i fear George R. R. Martin will keel over before he finishes the series. If i read it at all, it'll be after he finishes if that ever happens. I'll probably be like 50.
     
  7. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    Ever since I got a goodreads account, I've rarely been able to leave anything unfinished. Gotta mark it as "read!" Doing the reading challenge, ya know. I've had some reading experiences about comparable to taking a cheese grater to my face due to that damn reading challenge...ugh!

    That's funny, because i've been craving massive books. The thing is, a lot of them are just bloated rather than truly substantial.
     
  8. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Wahhhh...I am 50 already!

    You make it sound dreadful.
     
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  9. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    That is possible too. Although, I can't see my basic craving for fantasy (or spec fic, I suppose) disappearing. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places for it. My tastes within the spec-fic framework are definitely very different...I'm a lover of horror elements, and the urban or suburban gothic rather than the traditional fantasy environment. That's probably why Welcome to Night Vale appeals to me so much.

    I seem to have this very palpable idea of the kinds of things I want to read. I really want a long series with thick, meaty installments rich in depth. You mostly find that in the very traditional fantasy though.
     
  10. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    Not dreadful, but a reasonable estimate for how long it will take GRRM to finish that monster series.
     
  11. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I think this idea that you have to finish a book even if you don't enjoy it is really rather dangerous. It sucks the joy out of the reading and turns it into a chore you feel you have to complete for no other reason that it needs to be completed. You don't enjoy it and no one's really going to care or even know if you don't finish it - it's what I'm trying to tell myself. It's not that easy, but I'm warming to it.

    My list of "currently reading" books is growing a lot faster than it's shrinking.

    From a different angle, your post also made me quite happy, for purely selfish reasons. What you're describing about how you feel is pretty much exactly how I envision my target audience: someone who...
    - enjoys fantasy,
    - has read a lot of it
    - is getting tired of the same ol' epic adventures with the entire world hanging in the balance
    - wants something a little different
    - still enjoys the escapism of fantasy.

    I'm aware this is a bit of a sales pitch, but it also really is what I'm trying to do. I'm going to make Emma's Story available for free again toward the end of the month and I'll let you know when it is and you can have a look.
     
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  12. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    1. Harry Potter is a wizard.

    2. GOt isn't for everyone. I despise that series for many reasons. So much so that when my father in-law bought one of the books I tried talking him out of it. He didn't listen.

    3. Lindsey Buroker writes awesome Steampunk, although her series is older now that she has moved on to Sci Fi. I highly recommend her Flash Gold series because it's amazing.

    4. I know many folks still look down on Indie publishing but the truth is that, because Indies don't have gatekeepers, your chances of finding unusual reads are higher within the Indie author community. If you're looking for non-bland then consider stepping outside of your comfort zone of authors. I don't read much fantasy anymore either but I don't think genre is your problem. Do you like Aztec time era? Emily Wibberley's The Last Oracle is a YA fantasy series that is pretty good from what I have heard. I've been meaning to read it because it sounds awesome. Maybe you could give it a shot?

    5. Write the stories that you want to read. You never know what will come out of that as you continue maturing.
     
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  13. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Oh! I wanted to add that I, too, have found nothing but boredom lately when it comes to books. I have been finding old books, typically written in the 70s and 80s, and enjoying those a lot. Just something to consider. They also seem to help my craft immensely.
     
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  14. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    ^^^ I'm back to reading the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and Ann Radcliff again... We all go through phases, I think.
     
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  15. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    thx for the recs! Aztec time period sounds lovely.

    Honestly I would love to dive more into indie books because I feel there might be a good many unusual gems in there.
     
  16. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    I just read my book over and over obsessively... tinkering... until it's finally released, LOL. Otherwise I pretty much read indie stuff. Then my next book over and over and over. I find it hard to make it past the previews in Amazon anymore. Last night I saw a book with lots of great reviews, nice cover, finalist for an indie award, I started reading and after a short time I thought to myself... if they open a sentence with one more adverbial phrase... (bam!) One more and... Bam! Are kidding me? Bam! I closed the book. Now mind you, there were plenty of other factors in their writing, but there was no way I'd make into the story with the writing slapping my face over and over and over. Middle of the book I tolerate things better, but I'm a tight-lipped fish in the hook phase of reading.

    So, I went back to studying marketing and tinkering with book one... Found a typesetting issue in the paperback version too! LOL. It's an illness.

    And you typo'd... pretty sure you meant Harry Potter is a twit.
     
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  17. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    I'm still "currently reading" a bunch of books that have sat idle for a good year or so. O_O too unbearable to finish, yet i don't want to take them down...

    that's awesome about your book! And maybe there are others like me? Anyway, thats true, it does seem like fantasy stories are all about saving the world, and there aren't any stories about...well...life.
     
  18. I've got tons of book suggestions from my own extensive personal library, if you'd like.
     
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  19. A lot of them even involve life instead of saving the world.
     
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  20. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    Bring them on!
     
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