When was the last time you read a really – bad – book? It’s probably not something that happens very often, for various reasons. For starters, we tend to be quite conservative with our book buying habits and stick to one proven genre, like crime or thrillers. Or we get hooked on a really good author and work our way through their entire works.
Opening yourself up to different genres and authors extends the possibility of not liking what you read. Is that necessarily a bad thing? I recently picked two books at random from the ‘top twenty’ best-selling paperback fiction section. Both were, unsurprisingly, psychological thrillers. One was an excruciatingly dull read, and for me epitomises what can go wrong with formulaic thriller writing (over-written, over emotional. The first person narrative ‘thing’ has gone on too long now, please stop. Also got the ‘twist’ on page 56 but had to wait till page 267 to have it proven). I won’t bother telling you the book because it isn’t worth recommending.
However, I also read The Other Couple by Sarah J Naughton, which was gripping, and if I’d harboured a prejudice against psychological thrillers, I would have missed out on a treat. What makes it stand out is that the characters feel very real, warts and all. It also has a cracking location – a luxury beach resort in Vietnam. And each chapter harbours so much suspense. It’s what Naughton seems to be really good with – the jump scare in paper form. I can so see this as a film, keeping you on your toes right till the end. I’d love to write the screenplay version.
There’s a whole sea of books out there from diverse genres waiting for you to jump in! Check out: Minette Walters, The Last Hours (historic fiction), Maja Lunde’s The History of Bees (fiction), Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harrari (non-fiction), Michio Kaku’s The Future of Humanity (non-fiction science). Risk the bad read.