You can never go home. If there’s one thing that entering your thirties makes you aware of, it is this. Nostalgia has its place and its purpose, but you can never go home, and you should never try. Leave the toys of youth where they belong, packed away. Remember them fondly, but don’t blow off the dust and use them again.
This has been true of writers I once cared for – David Gemmell, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, George R R Martin. I outgrew them. Or grew sideways. Or moved on. However you want to put it, that kind of literature is no longer for me. But I kept going back to it, to see if perhaps I could love those books again. And each time, no. Not for me.
I had this experience with Robin Hobb’s initial trilogy, The Farseer Trilogy, concerning her most beloved characters, the Fitz and the Fool. I went home, and I shouldn’t have. So why, then, in 2016, have I chosen to open up the third trilogy involving these characters, books for which I have no fondness of memory (I have never read them) and which I have no real hope of enjoying?
I don’t know. And thus it was that I read over 700 pages of the second book, all the while wondering why. There’s nothing wrong with the book (oh, it’s boring, nothing happens, it’s ridiculously padded out, there is little action, poor characterisation, bizarre plotting, and workmanlike sentences), but it’s really not for me. I never rolled my eyes (I save that for Goodkind and Jordan), but I was never moved to anything other than boredom. Or perhaps admiration that an individual is able to churn these things out, year after year. That speaks to a certain honing of one’s craft.
The next few books I read were very different, and the jump in quality was so extreme that it kind of makes me think I should intersperse cheesy fantasy novels amongst the serious literature I prefer to read, just to appreciate them even more. But that way lies madness, right?
The Books, Read page contains a list of all of the books I have read over the years.