I used to really love reading. Don’t get me wrong, I still do, but these days I struggle to turn off my writer part and just enjoy a story. I’m always thinking about better ways to phrase a sentence, always catching the bits that speak directly to the reader rather than the characters. Does one character really need to specify that a certain person lives next door, when the person they’re talking to already knows that? No. That is information only for the reader, and not necessary. To me, it clutteres the story and makes it difficult to focus on what’s actually happening.
I’m sure all of that is a personal preference. I’m sure some people enjoy that kind of world-building. I like a different kind of world-building. I like to feel the dirt and see the colors and be swept away – not given minute details that all of the characters already know. Let me figure that out on my own, or if it’s really important find another way to tell me. Think Robin Hobb, and you’ll have an idea of what I mean.
But I think the world-building I like is in the minority and the more I read the more I’m disappointed. Where are the stellar books that I used to read? Are the reviews really reading about this book that keeps cluttering itself? Is it just me, or are most books these days poorly crafted, no matter how intriguing the story?
Obviously there have got to be books out there that meet my standards (which are, I suppose, ridiculously high), but sifting through the other books is exhausting and, quite frankly, disheartening.
Reading has become a struggle for me, and I don’t know how to fix it.
Have you had similar experiences? What are your thoughts on the state of books today?