I am mad at books…all of the books. All of the books that have come my way in the past couple of months, at the very least. I’m sick of the recycling of plots and surprise! graphic rape scenes and surprise! mom deaths and surprise! the villain is a crazed homosexual even though this book was published in 2008 and maybe we could get over that trope and straight authors who include gay characters getting more attention for their books than gay authors who write about gay people.
It’s March third and I’ve only been able to finish fourteen books, an absurdly low-number for someone who has read over or nearly 200 books every year since 2008. Every book I read in January was incredibly disappointing. Every book I read in February, all three of them, were “safe” books for me: one re-read, one by an acclaimed historian, and one queer theory book. I can’t bear the idea of picking up yet another book only to be disappointed by its inability to capture my interest or avoid some basic rules of decency or its eagerness to assail my community in the name of “political incorrectness” or “cutting-edge criticism.”
I’m sick of bad or mediocre young adult books getting overwhelming amounts of praise just because they include a trans character, even if they do it in a way that dehumanizes a real group of people, characters who are a lot like my friends, people that I love. I’m sick of not being able to go to the bookstore and easily find a love story that bears any resemblance to either my actual love life or my dreamed of love life. Why is it that even gay or lesbian romance novels are so often tragic? Where’s my escape?
I love books, and I know that there are many books out there that I will love once I find them, but sometimes it’s hard to feel so passionately about something that refuses to acknowledge the existence of people like me.