It’s an overpopulation post.
When I was growing up there were way less of them. Fantasy and Sci-fi books that is. The bookstore had two racks. The library had a single row. With diligence you could work your way through the whole oeuvre.
You read the garbage. The ones where the ideas are recycled from other ideas. Or that are just lacking in ideas altogether. Eventually you find yourself reading an L. Ron Hubbard book and asking yourself, “Why?”
You read the good stuff. Sometimes you read books that are beyond you and you don’t get it. The language or the concepts are beyond. And you find yourself reaching and maybe growing.
You stumble across the classics. They are always out of print at the bookstore, but they would be in the library. Shelved right beside everything else and with horrible covers. They didn’t need good covers because the publisher thought the name would sell it. Everyone knew it. Except for the kid looking for the next thing. He didn’t know anything. I didn’t know. So you’d just stumble across them.
And you’d find the ones that you loved. They might be from the garbage pile, the good pile or the classic pile. What distinguished them was that you loved them.
But there was a limited number and you could read them all.
I think that they release as many new sci-fi and fantasy books in a year now as everything I ever saw as a child. How do you find the good books and the classics? There are two whole rows of these books at the Chapters. That is more than the library. And sometimes they are hidden in the literature section.
You couldn’t read your way through everything and come across the classics. You might find that your love pile is made up only of the crap. You might miss all the good stuff.
There are hints. The giant book displays. Media hyping some book or the other. And the Internet is filled with the ‘greatest book ever’ lists. Heck, I’ve posted one or two myself. But. But, it isn’t you discovering them. That is someone else telling you.
It is different. Not the way I experienced it. I’m biased. I like the way I found books.
But listening to my opinion is probably better for you. If in doubt try that out. 🙂
(Note – The Hobbit, LotR and Foundation all came out of my parents collection. So that was a pre-chosen list there.)