In a recent post entitled The Double Take: Too Many Books on the Dracula Myth To Count, the lovely Katiebabs (KB) from Babbling About Books, And More! asked the question:
Is too many books on one topic released at the same time too much of a good thing?And that got me to thinking. See, I was in a bookstore on the weekend with a family member, hunting for a suitable book. (FYI - this family member is moderately intellectually disabled and since I'm not quite sure what is and isn't an appropriate book for her we were looking in the children's/YA section.) Anyway...the more I looked the more I realized that all the books looked the same...and sounded the same. It was like endless variations of the Twilight franchise. Which is all very well and good if you like that kind of thing...but if you don't? *shrugs* (Urban fantasy/fantasy really isn't said family member's cup of tea - I introduced her to Harry Potter, but according to her that series just didn't cut the mustard :) But (and this is a serious question), what else is out there? Because, honestly, it seems like very little. And I will concede that the bookstore I was in wasn't huge, so the selection was...restrained. But...isn't variety the spice of life? The books even look the same, so not a one stood out from the others. And it isn't just the YA genre. Urban fantasy, historical romance...they all seem to be converging, not diverging...
So, what did we end up purchasing? Said family member bought and read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) earlier this year, which she enjoyed, so she decided on Roald Dahl again - The Witches and Matilda. But KB's question and my experience on the weekend got me to thinking about variety... Is variety the spice of life or do we find a good thing and stick to it? (I know I do that with food :) And am I just musing on this because I'm not interested in the latest 'fad'? (Yes, fad is the wrong word but the right one is hiding and won't come out where I can see it.) And...how feasible is it for 'something different' to appear when the market is so focused on what feels like one theme?
Edited to add: I thought that was the end of the post, but on the way home I got to thinking about what the word 'appropriate' means in terms of books...and how does one decide what is and isn't appropriate? I drift towards children's/YA books for the aforementioned family member because I know she doesn't like scary books and...they are more likely to hold her interest. But then, I'm just guessing. No one gave me an instruction manual. But the final choice of book is always hers.