If you head on over to The OF Blog, you’ll find this post containing links to over a dozen “Best of 2012” lists. Larry wants us to look at them and take note of the commonalities and the differences. Some of those lists are varied, unique, and fascinating; I found a lot of new reads through them. Others? Let’s just say that Larry is right to identify a lot of similarities.
What many of these lists show is a serious lack of depth in reading interest. Whether that is an intentional choice — i.e., that someone does not want to read outside of their comfort zone — or otherwise is impossible to say. But when you look over the lists, you’ll find the same novels repeating over and over. I don’t doubt that these works are good (some of them are my favorites this year); the problem seems to be that they are themselves repetitions. Epic fantasy, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, big name science fiction novel, and so on. Many of them are painfully safe, too. Where is the variety? Where are the challenging works?
Maybe I’ve simply become a pretentious genre reader, but I really thought there would be more variety in terms of content among these lists. It makes me wonder whether I’ve simply been blind to all of this over the years, or if something has changed with the way I view literature. Am I more willing to challenge myself as a reader? Or do I find books in different ways from others?
What do you think?