So I will admit it. There are times when I take life way too seriously and occasionally that means a diversion is in order and when I think diversions, it usually involves a book. To me for a book to be a diversion, it has to be fiction and here’s where I usually run into trouble. You see I am the kind of reader who finds a favorite writer, reads everything they write and then move on to find someone else. I’m at that point right now. I am a huge Michael Crichton fan, but of course, Crichton passed away several years ago and I have read his entire collection. I needed to find a new author and I kind of still do.
You see the issue for me is the issue of darkness. I do not like explicit darkness in the books that I read. I had heard great things about a major author most of you have heard of. I had read one of his books years ago and thought it was pretty good. I especially appreciated his extremely short chapters which make it easy for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of reading time. This year I went to our local library’s book sale and picked up a whole collection of the author’s work and started to read the first book in the series. It was so dark and explicitly dark, giving brutal gory details of sinister crimes. I could not finish it and didn’t even attempt the other books. What a waste and what’s worse is I can’t really justify donating them to anywhere else because I don’t want to pass the darkness along.
I’m reading a new book by a pretty prolific younger author and I have to admit I am getting pretty hooked. It’s the same kind of book Crichton wrote, a thriller that dances on the edge of sci-fi with enough science to make the concept plausible making the reader question could this really happen. Then about 100 pages in, I get this gory scene complete with explicit descriptions of brutality and my question is why. The writer clearly knows how to spin a compelling tale, this thing is a page turner, but I don’t know if I want to finish, and that is what spawned my question? Why all the darkness? I’m not a prude or a pharisee but I have to know, why do we have to do so far. It seems like writers feel like they need to give is either gory brutality (even Crichton hit this at times) or explicit sexuality and frankly, I need neither. It seems to me that a good writer doesn’t need all that. Give me a few details and my mind will connect the dots, I don’t need you to spell it out for me.
Look guys this world is dark enough, when I go to a book, it’s a diversion. I’m not saying it has to be all lollipops and rainbows. As a matter of fact, I love a good thriller, but leave something to the imagination. We don’t need all this darkness.
Our world is dark enough. Write something hopeful, where he good guys win once in a while. Give me a hero who wins and a villain who loses. Let the good guy get the girl and for goodness sake, don’t give me an anti hero. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but in my world good ought to win.