I’ve come to the conclusion that something may be vaguely wrong with me. I think perhaps that books, or the reading of them (or the completion of such), is an obsession. This thought occurred to me just now because I ordered a copy of Ted Dekker’s latest book from my library system, to be delivered to my local branch.
You wouldn’t think this action would cause such deep thoughts, but here’s why.
I still count Dekker as one of my favorite authors, but I haven’t particularly loved anything he’s written since 2008 (his earlier stuff is awesome, though. Seriously, go read Black this very minute). I don’t dislike his current books, mind, it’s just that I sort of forget what happened after I close reach the final pages. His new books are mostly entertaining while I’m reading them (translation: interesting enough for me to read 300+ pages), but they soon float onto that mental shelf that holds books I am likely to never reference again. But hey, that’s okay, it’s just a few hours distraction. Nothing wrong with a book being like that.
The problem is, ordering Dekker’s newest book reminded me of all the times I’ve stuck with books and series when I actively couldn’t stand them, simply because I started the story and I needed to know how it ended. Even if the characters bored me to tears, the plot was revoltingly predictable, and the writing was excruciating to stumble through. I still felt compelled to finish it.
A certain series sticks in my mind. Each book (and there must have been at least eight or nine of them) was saddled with a plot similar enough to the previous one to raise cries of plagiarism, and a depressingly asinine villain. In fact, the only thing more depressing than the idiocy of the villain was that the main characters were even less bright, because they fell for his tricks every time (or trick, really, since he used the same one in every. single. book.) And yet I plodded through the entire series.
I have no idea. I’ve done it time and time again. I mean, you would think it would be rather obvious. If book 1 could win the Bulwin-Lytton contest, why even pick up book 2?
Well, I am now turning over a new page in my life. I say I shall not be slave to appalling writing simply because a publisher had the temerity to make it available to an unsuspecting public.
My new strategy is twofold:
1.) Avoid series. Only pick up a book with a sequel if I already know the author’s at least tolerable.
2.) Only approach science-fiction and fantasy written before 1995 armed with garlic and a couple sharpened sticks. Be ready to break and run if I haven’t come across any pronounceable names by Chapter 2.
Hopefully this will help. Any other ideas to help a poor bookworm who got lost between the copyright page and author page?
Long days and pleasant nights from the Tale-Weaver (and happy reading).