The Sunday Salon: Burnout

As I mentioned in my last challenge post for Narnia Week, I am burnt out on fantasy. I don’t know if it’s because it’s finals for me (two exams, three papers–one of which is three times the size as the others) or if it’s because I ignored the Cardinal Rule, reading the same genre twice in a row–or eight times in a row, if you’re counting The Chronicles of Narnia individually. It feels… weird.

As I’ve mentioned, I am a huge fantasy fan–I was reared on The Lord of the Rings, The Legend of Zelda, and Warcraft. (I watched my brother play both, a habit of my childhood; we have this hilarious home video where I, a wee potato-shaped baby in a little bouncy walker, keep bouncing into my brother while he’s playing Street Fighter II.) It’s my favorite genre, not only because fantasy encompasses so much and can be so inventive, but also because I feel it’s a genre that can’t be pretentious, such as the utterly fictional genre of “literary fiction” (that’s redundant!). There’s a sweet, knowing wink to that suspense of disbelief, a wink that the sort of people who say “It’s just a book!” miss. (Of course, there’s already so much wrong with the “it’s just a book!” argument, but I figure I’m preaching to the choir at this point.) Fantasy is, quite simply, literary home for me.

So being burnt out on it feels all kinds of wrong–the idea that I’m not restraining myself from gorging my fantasy but actively wanting to read other genres takes a bit getting used to (not to say that I don’t enjoy my non-fantasy reads!). I don’t think I’ll be burnt out for long (after all, it is home), but now I’m actively seeking out nonfiction to clear out my head–currently, I’m reading The Lost City of Z by David Grann, and I’ve got Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends on my desk, although it’s due on Tuesday and I head home on Friday. (And did I mention the 25 pages I have to write by then?) It’s such a novel feeling that I kind of want to revel in it–I foresee very little fantasy in my library holds at home. All this being said, I’ll probably bounce back in a week. Story of my life.

As I’ve said, this is a busy week for me–finals, going back home for the holidays, and reading. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish up The Lost City of Z before I head home, and then I can start on library books at my library back home–which I will most likely acquire praying patrons don’t grab them before my volunteer shift is over. If I finish The Lost City of Z very early, I might go pick up The Magician’s Book from the library (that’s nonfiction! Hush!) here, since it’s not available in my hometown. But I probably won’t be able to.

Don’t forget to comment to enter to win my Chronicle Books haul! It’ll close on Friday. Tor/Forge’s Blog is giving away a ridiculous bundle of 25 fantasy books and an equally ridiculous bundle of 25 science fiction books until tomorrow, a steampunk prize package until next Sunday, a science fiction set for you and your local library, The Wheel of Time books for you and your library and a set of Patrick Taylor’s books and audiobooks until December 16th–you must register to receive their newsletter to enter all of these US only giveaways. The Ranting Dragon is giving away a December fantasy release (list at the link!) until tomorrow., a Brandon Sanderson fansite, is giving away Elantris, Warbreaker, and the Mistborn trilogy until Tuesday. TJ at Dreams and Speculation is giving away the first season of Space: 1999 in BluRay until December 17th. The BBC America Shop is giving away pairs of gift cards ($500, $250, $100) until December 19th. HarperCollins is giving away a copy of the 60th Anniversary Edition of The Chronicles of Narnia until January 1st. You can currently view the first season of BBC’s Sherlock for free on PBS’s website (US only). The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!

Have you ever been burnt out on a genre? How did you deal?

5 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Burnout

  1. I so love what you said about fantasy feeling like home to you. I’m the same way, but I did find myself craving it a bit less than usual this year. I’m not sure if I’m burned out or if I’m just busy with what are, at the moment, newer and shinier reading interests (like golden age mysteries or Persephone books or whatever). Whatever the cause, though, I do know I’ll eventually return home.

    On a side note, watching my brother play videogames was totally one of my favourite things to do when I was little 😀

    • And that’s the best part–no matter where we roam, it’s waiting for us. Isn’t that just a warm and fuzzy thought?

      Ha! I ran out of the room during the final boss fight of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; which is hilarious in hindsight, since I love Ganondorf and all his piggy craziness now.

  2. I’ve heard The Lost City of Z is quite good! Looking forward to your review. I just requested The Magician’s Book from the library for when I finally make it through The Chronicles of Narnia.

    Good luck with all your end of semester stuff. I hope it’s as painless as possible 🙂

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