Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes ! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:
February 8th: Book Trends You’re Tired Of
What are some things you are tired of seeing that are trends in publishing? Maybe something that pops up on a lot of covers these days, or the popularity of certain tropes in a particular genre? Let it out!
Sorry I didn’t post anything for Top 5 Wednesday last week! The topic was current favourites that aren’t books, but since my blog is dedicated to reading, I didn’t think it was necessary to post anything. Furthermore, I’m not sure whether I will do the rest of the February topics. Normally, when I don’t like a topic, I do another one instead, but maybe it’s okay to skip a couple of weeks when I don’t feel like posting.
Anyway, there certainly are book trends I am tired of seeing. There are also some things I am tired of seeing in the book community which I would like to talk about, but I’ll try to stay on topic. Not all of these are trends though, but rather things I’ve noticed about publishing lately. As usual, these are in no particular order.
Romance and heteronormativity
Even when you don’t read romance novels, it is nearly impossible to avoid romance in books. I’m talking about heterosexual relationships here. Even in fantasies, there are love triangles, insta-love, overused tropes, etc. and I am sick of it. Thankfully, I am reading more diverse books this year, so it won’t be as bad anymore. Still, I find it very annoying that almost every author feels the need to add unnecessary romances and angst to their novels. I’m not a fan of romance, so I find it very annoying that it is nearly impossible to find a book without it.
I was so excited when I heard about The Diabolic: finally a fantasy standalone! In the meantime, however, the author has changed her mind and decided to write a trilogy instead. I’m instantly less excited to pick up this book. I understand the (financial) success of trilogies, but especially within the fantasy genre, standalones are actually refreshing. Don’t get me wrong: I love reading series. But almost every book you pick up lately is a part of a series and I can’t keep up anymore.
Marketing and merchandise
Many books which are published by huge publishers, come with pre-order merch, signed copies, special editions, etc. But because I live in Europe, I don’t ever get to enjoy those promotions. They’re always limited to the USA and/or UK, or the shipping costs are insanely high.
As someone who is also active on Bookstagram, buying books isn’t enough anymore. You have to buy tons of merchandise in order to ‘fit in’ with the rest of the community. Furthermore, it takes away from the actual content of the book. As long as the packaging is pretty, people are going to hype it up. Who cares about the content of the book, right?
Where’s the diversity?
Obviously, there is a lack of diversity in novels. But even if a novel is diverse, it is often-times not advertised well enough. I’ve read multiple books I didn’t know e.g. included LGBTQ representation, because the blurb didn’t tell me, nor other reviewers. Do you have any idea how much more likely I am to read a book if I know it includes representation? I don’t understand why everyone is so mysterious about it.
However, I am absolutely not talk about headcanons here. As great as those can be, headcanons are not the same as representation on the page. Sometimes, people will say things like “read this book because character X is bisexual”, but when that representation isn’t explicitly included in the novel, you are misleading people. They might buy it because they think they are represented, when in fact it is only a headcanon.
Furthermore, I don’t think there is anything wrong with telling readers whether or not a book is own voices or not. In my opinion, you sometimes have to do a lot of research in order to find out something about the author. No, I absolutely do not think authors have to out themselves in order for their book to receive recognision, but when they are openly a part of the LGBTQ community, I think it’s okay to add that to a blurb when necessary.
My ‘favourite characters’ list rarely grows. So many characters I read are carbon copies of each other. The love interest is a mysterious, sarcastic bad boy, who at first is the villain of the story. As the book or series goes on, however, he and the main character, who were enemies at first, fall in love and it turns out he wasn’t bad at all. The female main character is “not like other girls”: she has boring brown long hair, big lips, is thin, but still has the necessary curves… Obviously (*sarcasm*), she is unattractive and bland. All I’m trying to say is that these characters are hard to distinguish from; they all seem the same.
Actually, it was very hard to limit this to merely five trends I am tired of seeing! I’m looking forward to reading other bloggers’ post, so feel free to leave a link to yours in the comments! (scheduled on 29 January 2017)