In 2014 I read almost entirely genre fiction, and I blame the Kindle.
Not there’s anything wrong with genre fiction. When it’s well-written, it is the purest kind of reading pleasure; story-telling with no other purpose than to entertain.
It’s a bit like Hollywood blockbusters; a well-made blockbuster is in some ways the apotheosis of cinema. Brash, glossy, sensational entertainment may not be the most interesting or important thing that cinema can do, but it’s something cinema does uniquely well. All too often, though, I find myself sitting in the cinema watching silly, incoherent, predictable twaddle and promising myself that next time, I won’t be suckered in by the marketing, and I’ll go and see some the interesting Eastern European movie or the documentary instead.
Or the kind of junk food you think will be a self-indulgent treat, but you actually regret ordering even before you finish eating it.
And the Kindle just makes it too easy to keep buying more junk food. There’s always something heavily discounted; you can impulse buy and be reading in seconds; and the books don’t even clutter up your house.
And of course, there’s Amazon’s recommendations; they’re always telling you that if you liked X you might enjoy Y. But that doesn’t really work, for me. Because it’s the quality of the writing which matters more than the specific genre. And believe me, it doesn’t matter how much you like Georgette Heyer, other writers of historical romance are almost always disappointing. And just because you enjoy Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, it doesn’t mean you should keep buying random books that Amazon classifies as ‘Space Opera’.
So I’ve made a bit of a New Years resolution: more proper books.