Bookish Ennui

I am presently hanging out in the reader’s version of when you are noshy and standing in front of the fridge but absolutely nothing is quite right and you don’t have any idea what you want.

I keep picking different things up and putting them back down because nothing is quite hitting the right note for me.  There have been a couple of things I’ve tried that were interesting and not at all bad, but just wasn’t what I wanted.  I’m definitely coming back to Seanan McGuire’s Indexing serial, which I started in audio.  The premise is really intriguing and the worldbuilding is really good.  I just don’t have the attention span for it right now.  It’s part of why I’ve been on a contemporary binge for the last couple of years–I’m so busy with so many things in my brain that I don’t have the mental capacity to keep anything with serious worldbuilding in my head unless I can binge read it.

One incredibly disturbing thing I keep coming across–and I hope to God this isn’t an actual trend–but I’ve picked up three books in the last week where the heroine…just kind of lost her shit with the prospective hero.  And this was not, like, Black Moment justifiable upset.  It was early on in all the stories.  In one, the hero was kind of gruff and taciturn, bordering on rude…which evidently gave the heroine license to be exceptionally rude back in a “Yeah, well…[insert comeback that would be more fitting in the halls of a high school]” kind of way.  The author was obviously trying to set up for that whole enemies to lovers trope and instead of coming off as unwilling attraction being translated into snark, it made the heroine look immature and foolish.  And also made their suddenly getting all handsy and making out on the beach wholly unbelievable (and let’s not even get started with where sand got during that interlude…it was not sexy and all I could think of on behalf of the heroine is OW OW OW OW OW).  In another, the prospective hero is a famous dude, whom the shero doesn’t have any reason to recognize.  When they meet he gives her his actual name (as opposed to the name the media calls him).  And when they run into each other a little bit later and it comes out that he is this famous personage (whom she’s heard of but had never seen), she literally loses her shit and acts like he deliberately lied to her because he was a douchecanoe.  I mean, I get that she’s sensitive to this given her ex-BF turned out to be married and had been lying about it, but her reaction seemed utterly off the rails and she comes off as a total whack job–and not the adorkable kind of a good romantic comedy.  Apparently her definition of lying is not the same as mine.  In her shoes I think I’d have been justifiably embarrassed, but there’d be no reason at all to tell him off.

As a woman–and a rational woman at that–I find this kind of behavior both unrelatable and frankly embarrassing.  It’s the sort of thing that strikes me as a stereotype of the hysterical woman…generally not founded in plot (or reality).  It makes women everywhere look bad.  And it definitely DOES NOT make for adequate or enjoyable conflict in fiction.  I don’t know if this is a Thing or if this was a mark of the skill of the authors in not quite understanding how to support such conflicts or what.  But they definitely migrated to my Did Not Finish shelf.  So, yeah, other than working my way through la Nora’s latest romantic suspense, The Obsession, I’ve been left very unsatisfied on the reading front the last couple of weeks.


One thought on “Bookish Ennui

  1. I feel you. Sometimes there’s just no book that I want to read… I try this and that and nothing is satisfying.
    Normally that’s the time that I try out another (sub)genre and sometimes that helps. Or I come back to my favourite books and read something on paper again, for a change.

    About the thing with heroines loosing their shit – I noticed that in quite some books the author sometimes doesn’t manage to stay on the right side between snarky (which seems to be an important goal for heroines especially in the urban fantasy genre) and annoying or rude.
    I believe it’s just easier to write a stereotype than to try to write a real person, especially when said stereotype makes it easy to have a conflict.

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