Every now and then I go over to Amazon, jump to Science Fiction & Fantasy and then hesitantly click on on Bestsellers. The experience was truly a revelation. The top 25 Science Fiction & Fantasy Bestsellers list contains not a single book I have read and only one I am remotely tempted to read.
Am I reading the wrong books?
I recognize virtually all the authors, including Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer, and Jim Butcher (I have actually read a book by Butcher). That said, I can't dream of reading anything by these authors. Its all just too urban fantasyish for my tastes.
My first rule of book buying is never buy anything with a half dressed person on the cover. This rule eliminates about 90% of the erotic/romance fantasy out there. The only decent series in this category that I have broken the rule for and enjoyed (if you stop at book three) is Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey. That is the exception though, not the rule. Looking at the Amazon list again, 7 of the 25 books there have women in various states of undress. I won't get into the number of hooded characters on the covers, as the post might just degenerate into a rant.
Thank you blogosphere.
Browsing my sidebar instantly provides a list of at least five books I am comfortable reading. I don't really think I am strange or weird for not liking anything on the amazon list. I know that many of you feel the same way, although some of you don't.
Looking at the list, I can't help but think that I am a minority reader within a minority of readers. The fact that Amazon doesn't have an Urban Fantasy subsection within or outside of Science Fiction & Fantasy is somewhat shocking. Aren't they the largest online retailer? Yes, they most definitely are. You would think they could spend some time organizing their books so that people like me don't have to click on the third page of bestsellers to start seeing books I want to read.
Ok, amazon has gotten enough hate lately so I won't go too hard on them. It isn't their fault they hire incompetent list-makers.
What does all this mean?
I'm sad. I though the books I read were widely accepted and read. I guess I was living in a dream where writing ability trumped naked women on covers. I guess I was wrong. As I slink back to my niche within a niche that is the spec fic blogosphere, I invite your reflections on this disturbing topic.
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