Recently Amanda commented internally that she used to read a ton of historicals, but that she hadn’t reached for or even considered one for awhile.
This got me thinking about genres that I used to adore and read like I was starving and had an unlimited supply of those chocolate covered fruit snacks from Brookside.
Figuring out what I used to read isn’t difficult; I’m packing up most of my possessions and donating at least a third of them. Parting with some paperbacks is much, much easier than parting with others, especially when I ask myself, “Is it worth it to pay a company to move this for you, or would it be better to say goodbye now?” Clearly, the books that are easy to let go of are books I’m not as attached to, and for me, they fell into one of two genres, mostly: angsty historical, and paranormal, some angst.
Why? That’s harder to pinpoint. I think my step away from angsty historical matches my disinterest in any book in any romance sub-genre that is described with the words “heart wrenching,” “twist of fate,” “devastating,” “poignant,” “touching,” “tragic,” “moving,” or “heartbreaking” in the cover copy. I’m mentally exhausted and don’t have extra feelings to spare or energy to devote to the deep reactions I have to strongly emotional fiction. Damn you, authors are your ability to make readers have feels! (I mean, really and truly, good job, and I’m sorry I can’t pick up those books.)
But paranormal, I think I burned out by reading too much. For me, a very powerful combination of catnip or an author who is persistently excellent are about the only things that vaults me past my initial, “Oh, yeah, I’m kind of tired of that” reaction to vampires, were-shifters, and demons. I read so many, for so long, and so quickly that I kind of exhausted myself on that particular type of story. The descriptions I have read all seem too familiar and overdone most of the time.
My exception: dragons. Because dragons.
A | BN | K | G | AB | Au | Scribd ), for example, and Guards! Guards! I also have some of the Anne McCaffery Pern books (see above re: DRAGONS.) I’m very eager to read more fantasy with nuanced and absorbing world building – once my brain isn’t exhausted from remembering and doing 9,365,199 tasks that are currently on the to-do list.
Yet paranormal, not so much. Which is unfortunate because it’s not like I want the genre to disappear or anything.
I think there’s a difference between “I’m burned out on this sub-genre,” and “My reading tastes have changed and this no longer appeals.” Paranormal is, for me, an example of the first, while angsty fiction is more the second, because I don’t see myself gravitating towards emotionally wrenching fiction any time soon.
As noted above, I cannot get into a historical romance for the life of me. I’ve read my fair share – Lisa Kleypas, Julie Garwood, Courtney Milan, etc. But I’d say within the last few years, I haven’t been interested. My closest guess might be burnout since I read a lot of them in a little amount of time, but who the hell knows.
I see my fellow Bitches reading them and enjoying them and it’s hard not to think “WHY NOT ME?!” I want to get excited about the new Sarah MacLean or the new Mary Balogh. But I read the book descriptions and just shrug my shoulders. I recently picked up Meredith Duran’s Lady Be Good and gave it a lukewarm 3 out of 5 on Goodreads. I firmly believe the problem lies with me and my reading tastes rather than with any of these authors or the genre as a whole. There are also so many historical romances getting published in a given month that it’s rather overwhelming on decided where to dip my toe in again.
But there are tropes that I love that show up in historical romances all the time, like class differences, and I still can’t seem to be swayed very much. For me, I think my avoidance of historical romances is a little of both the reasons Sarah mentioned earlier: changing tastes combined with burnout.
What about you? Do you have sub-genres that you’ve burnt out on, or that no longer appeal? Do you know why? Which ones?