On Reading: I’m Bored, Alot

Last night, when I was looking for something new to read, I flipped through paranormal after paranormal, not finding anything I wanted to read. Since I usually love paranormal, especially badass heroines with lusty male sidekicks or rivals, this bothered me. A lot. (It bothered me, Alot. What’s your advice? — Allie Brosh is still my spirit animal)

I’m sure there are dozens of great paranormal romance-ish novels that I haven’t read. There are books in series that I genuinely love that I theoretically want to read. But I’m bored, Alot. Honestly, my eyes glaze over when I scan cover after cover of hot-chick-in-black-leather (and the new variant, babe-in-Victorian-gown-with-parasol). I find myself ignoring what might be a really interesting and well-written story in favor of Anything that Looks Different. Or Mysteries Set Somewhere Neat.

Granted, I’ve read some really great stuff lately because it Looks Different or is Set Somewhere Neat. Meljean Brooks’s Iron Seas aren’t That Different, but the people aren’t all white at least, and they’ve been set in a compelling non-cookie-cutter steampunk world. Craig Johnson’s Longmire novels are delicious because the place–Absaroka County–is real enough to visit and strange enough to inspire. David Fulmer’s Storyville mysteries in 1907ff New Orleans soothe the wanderlust of the soul. N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms gave me a story I hadn’t read a thousand times. Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo & Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road gave me mythology that was tantalizingly familiar and brand-new at once. But these are pretty few and far between, or at least I seem to be working really hard to find them.

For a writer, that’s a challenge, or maybe The Challenge. To write something that’s familiar enough to entice and different enough to capture. In my case, I guess it’s also Write What You Want to Read. Problem is, I’m not sure What I Want to Read. I feel a little Potter Stewart about it. “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Maybe I’ll spend a few blog posts thinking about What I Want to Read. It can’t stall my writing anymore than it’s stalled already. And maybe it’ll even kickstart.