Random Musings: Reader Fatigue

To be clear…

If you wish to read a book, any book, then you should read it. If you enjoy reading a certain genre – and genre is simply a means of classification – then you should read it. No reader should be shamed for their choices. Sometimes it is good to switch off from life’s stresses by indulging in easy entertainment.

As for me…

I like to read an eclectic mix of books. As a book blogger I am fortunate in being sent a generous quantity of books to review. Other than romance, which I am unlikely to enjoy, I accept most genres.

Over the past few years this has resulted in me reading a large number of crime and thriller novels. Recently I have become aware of them merging. The means by which they grab my attention, maintain the tension, throw out a few red herrings, offer a twist at the denouement, has appeared uniform. I believe I am suffering reader fatigue with these popular genres.

There are, of course, exceptions. Authors such as Sarah Hilary, Mick Herron, AA Dhand, Adam Hamdy, Paul E. Hardisty and Ragnar Jónasson have produced books in the last year that have sufficient depth and character development to stand out – and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

What I have become aware of though is that I am seeking out more literary fiction. I crave the variety of structure, the experimentation, the lyricism. Beautifully crafted prose delights me more than clever plot twists. I seek characters who challenge my preconceptions.


I find the books I currently enjoy reading bubbling up from the small presses. It is not that I wish to fall off the radar of the bigger publishing houses who still produce much fine work – Gather the Daughters and Tin Man come to mind as recent reads I would not have wanted to miss.

Still though, the market feels crowded and I am not simply after the next big thing. For me, a standout read must do more than mimic. Rather than the next, I seek the original.



10 comments on “Random Musings: Reader Fatigue

  1. The Quiet Knitter says:

    A very interesting post, I quite agree with you about crime thrillers, reading them often I find they don’t grab me the way they should anymore so I do mix up my reading to make sure I can come back to them and still enjoy them.

  2. Jen Lucas says:

    I know what you mean exactly. I am finding myself throwing in more random style of books than ever, quirky, even Rom Com reads, as I’m struggling to find that killer (no pun intended) hook in crime fiction at the moment. I read 90% Crime and I sometimes wonder that if in the quest to keep banging out titles, publishers aren’t guilty of releasing books to early or just releasing the same book over and over as the formula works. There are exceptions and I’d add Block 46 to the list you’ve given, but it’s hard to be truly surprised by books anymore.

  3. Anne-Lie says:

    I totally agree with you!
    I read more literary crime fiction and get more and more selective.
    Have you read Michel Bussi’s Black Water Lilies or Fred Vargas books?
    They are both French and I find that crime fiction from other countries around the world gives me a different view of crime.

  4. Jackie I agree. I’m looking at my tbr pile closely thinking which will really grab me!!!!! Sometimes feel I’m just going through the motions…

  5. I am a mixer-upper too 😆 I enjoy reviewing bigger releases but I find self-published and smaller publishers more enjoyable to work with over all. Great post 😆

  6. I find myself being drawn to ‘quirky’ reads for want of a better phrase as they are hard to put into any specific genre. While I have my genre references some do start to become formulaic or predictable and I don’t need shock tactics to mix things things up just something more engaging.

  7. Great post. Maybe it’s just more difficult to be original in the crime thriller genre. Literary fiction by its nature comes in many guises, more likely to surprise or involve experimentation perhaps. I’ve always been eclectic in my taste but blogging has made me even more so. I’m more likely to give something a try just because I’ve been exposed to so many more books, books I’d have never come across otherwise.

  8. The thriller market does seem saturated at the moment. I wonder if they all merge into one at some point!

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