Book shopping

I took a break a little while ago and did some book shopping. I picked up two more Jack McDevitt books. Based on what I’ve read of Chindi so far, I figured it was worth it to buy a few more of his books. I bought Omega and The Engines of God. I also picked up Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air while I will read sometime next year as research for a new short story.

I always skim the new fiction section of a bookstore because I do, from time to time, read fiction other than science fiction. I’ve noticed an annoying trend lately. The latest fad, in mainstream fiction, seems to be to write books about “clubs”. Here are some “club”-related titles which I have come across recently:

  • The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
  • The Camel Club by David Baldacci
  • Man of the Month Club by Jackie Clune
  • The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
  • The Second Wives Club by Jane Moore
  • The Jane Austin Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

I’m really not sure why this bothers me. At least one of my favorite writers wrote a whole series of short mysteries that took place at the Black Widowers Club. So what’s my objection? This is an instance where I am judging a book by its title, which is perhaps not an appropriate thing to do. But there is a definite trend here and it doesn’t seem to be going away (like movies being made from video games). A quick check of upcoming releases on Amazon reveals this:

  • The Truth Club by Grace Wynne-Jones
  • The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey
  • Date Night Club by Saxon Bennett
  • The Alibi Club by Francine Mathews
  • The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club by Jessica Morrison
  • Wish Club by Kim Strickland
  • The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan
  • Invasion of the Widows Club by Joyce Livingston

And these are from just the first two pages of search results for “fiction and literature” and “club” on Amazon’s forthcoming list.

I suppose that a club provides a kind of comforting or familiar setting from which to tell a story and perhaps that makes the writers job somewhat easier, but I really don’t see how. Honestly I think it’s because some of these books have sold well and so authors interested in selling more books are writing to fill a demand rather than what they think is interesting. Probably no way to avoid that, but it still bothers me.