My reading tastes have really changed. Or maybe the publishing tastes have really changed...

Of the books I have left (and there are many, many books left), I'm only keeping the ones I've read in the past year. All others, except for about a dozen*, are going to be sold.

And most of the ones I'm keeping are mysteries.

Not fantasies. And I write fantasy, almost exclusively.

There are two reasons for this, I think. The first, and the most shocking (at least to me) is that among the fantasy books I've bought in the last five years, I've only reread a handful, and kept even less than that. As far as I can tell, there are no "new" fantasy authors on my shelves; no great finds; no up-and-coming people to watch. (Except one: Sarah Hoyt. But I didn't buy her book; Vicki loaned it to me and I just haven't sent it back to her yet.)

That's scary.

The second is that I can go to the mystery shelves at any given time and find a book I'd like to read again. It will more than likely be in a series, so I'll have that to look forward to as well. My escape reading these days is somewhere near 85% mysteries--authors like Deborah Crombie, M.C. Beaton, Susan Conant, Lilian Jackson Braun, Sharyn McCrumb, Jonathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, Ed McBain, and anyone else I can get my hands on. (Okay some of those could be classified as thrillers.)

The last new fantasy book I read (new to me, at least) was Nadya by Pat Murphy. When I bought that one, I also picked up a bunch of Nelson DeMille. Nadya will be a keeper. I've already read it three times. Before that, iirc, it was The Onion Girl by Charles DeLint, and that was at Christmas.

When I go to the bookstore anymore, I glance through the fantasy section and see nothing. The last paperback fantasy I bought was The Truth by Terry Pratchett, and I found the hardback a month later for $2.00.

I used to buy books all the time. (Just ask my parents.) I'd go into B&N and come out $75 poorer. I'd buy from the Edward R. Hamilton catalogue and from Amazon. Heck, Amazon used to send me Christmas presents. Not to mention that I also worked at a library, and read voraciously from that selection as well. I used to have a list of about 20 fantasy/horror authors, and I'd buy their new books automatically.

I'm kind of shocked to say this, but that list is now about down to four. And even then, I might wait to get the new book on the discount rack.

I'm not sure what happened.

Either my tastes have really changed, or the books have. And, from looking at the science fiction/fantasy section at B&N the other day, I'm leaning towards the books.

After all, I do like a good urban fantasy. I don't really care for high fantasy anymore, but I like humorous fantasy quite a bit. I love Dark Fantasy as well. But I'm more likely to find something I'd reread in the mystery section, and that's the ultimate reason why I buy books, after all.

So why aren't fantasy authors writing books I want to reread? Why aren't fantasy publishers publishing books I'd want to reread? I'm not that picky, really. Honest. I just like good books. What's the deal?!?

*Like, for example, The Book Dragon, The Neverending Story, The Ink Drinker and it's sequel (I can't remember the name offhand) both in French... and a handful of others that I haven't read in a while but don't want to sell.


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