Change Is Beautiful

It’s a funny thing how I can await a certain book’s release, eager for months to read it, drool over the premise and the delicious cover art, watch as it is plastered all over Instagram and Facebook . . . and when the day comes and it is in my hands and the first chapters are read, it simply falls flat. I never know – is it my anticipation that is too great, and no book can stand up to it? Perhaps my tastes are changing and my brain hasn’t caught on yet? Or maybe it’s simply that, as a writer, I have come to expect more out of stories than sugar-sweet fantasy and contrived superficial drama.

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On the other hand, I can’t count the number of times I have chosen a book at random from the library shelf, its spine stiff with disuse but its copyright date telling me it has been on this shelf for quite some time. Something about it might call to me in a strange or unique way, and when I get it home and curl up with it in bed or on the couch, I barely come up for air. These are books I’ve never heard of before I spot them. They aren’t on display as exciting new releases in genres that are popular to read, let alone have I seen even a hint of them on social media. Some of them are by authors I never knew existed.

Whatever the case, I’m sure the answer lies within me. I change, as does all of creation. My body, my mind, my expectations, my depth of understanding, my desires. If that’s life, why should it be any different with books?

All of this makes me want to rethink how I go about compiling my colossal TBR list. Books are more than just pretty faces and exciting action. Something I’ve always known, yes, but something, too, that I’ve become much more grumpily stubborn about. I want characters with depth, not stereotypes. I want action with meaning, not just for its own sake. And I want deeply flawed people who change in some way . . . for better, for worse, it doesn’t really matter; either way, I want to be changed by watching these characters change.

Pretty demanding, I suppose. But I expect no less from myself as a writer.

How have your tastes changed as a reader over the years? How do you choose the next book you’ll read?

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