Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor
I read a lot of books. This probably isn’t a surprise, given that I’m CC2K’s Book Editor, but I devour books at a pace that most people would find mind-boggling. So far in 2011, I’ve read 92 books. I suspect the number would be higher if I hadn’t started a new job that’s been keeping me quite busy.
But sometimes, a thought crosses my mind: is it too much? I don’t remember the characters or plots of 3/4ths of the books I’ve read this year. No longer do I have that amazing sensation of discovery when I read something for the first time.
Once upon a time, it was amazing. When I first discover a genre, there’s this thrill of something new, something different, something wonderful. When I started reading urban fantasy, it was spectacular, thrilling and exciting, that mix of paranormal and action and adventure, with kick-ass heroines and sexy alpha males and gritty pseudo-realistic worlds. It was awesome, and I had never seen anything like it.
But now…broody vampires? Dominant werewolves? Been there, done that. For that reason, I’ve been reading less urban fantasy and paranormal romance this year than last. I still love paranormal, but I now have a seen-it-all, done-it-all feeling about it.
Except every so often, I’ll see a book or a series that, despite the number of books I’ve read, really stands out to me. At the end of last year, it was Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Then it was Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series. I thought these were amazing books, with amazing characters and exciting plots. I started talking about them all the time, recommending them to people every chance I had. It wasn’t that I had never seen anything like them before; Moning’s series is about the world of the fae, and Kane’s is about—not surprisingly—ghosts, both of which have been written about many times before. But there was something that made them linger in my mind, long after I read them.
Although I mourn the loss of that sense of novelty, I feel like I’ve gained something. Books are my medium, and I know them well. I have spent years reading all kinds of books, from classics to contemporary. I’ve read commercial fiction, I’ve read genre, and I’ve read literary. I pick up books because I think I’ll like them, and every once in awhile I’ll find a book I love—and when I do, it’s like being swept up in a book for the first time all over again.
What I love about books is that, no matter how many I read, there will always be more. There are always more books being written, always past books I haven’t read. Each one has the potential to sweep you up into a new world or a new place or a new time. No matter how many books I read, I still want more.
Every so often, I’ll hear doomsday prophesies about how the publishing industry is dying, how books are disappearing, etc. I don’t believe it. With the way e-books and readers have grown in popularity, it’s clear that people are finding new ways to read, new books to discover.
I love books. As great as novelty can be, I think I’m a better reader and a better critic because I read so much. I know my medium, and its stories, well enough to better recognize excellent. As much as I read, I still find something once a month or so that makes me think, “This is really awesome! I’ve got to tell all my friends!” And I do.
It doesn’t matter, in the end. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t cut back on my book consumption if I wanted to.
I’m addicted. I’ll admit it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.