Some of you who follow me on Twitter might know that I'm really into happy books right now. Heartwarming books where no one dies, where every page isn't full of angst, where the chances of me crying are slim. (But not zero, because I can cry at pretty much anything if I'm in a mood.) This typically means contemporaries. And not contemporaries about super serious topics.
And these books? They typically have happy endings. AND I LOVE THAT.
I hate when a series ends super open-ended. I hate when characters die and IT DOESN'T EVEN SERVE A PURPOSE. At least one that I can see. And I get it - everything in life doesn't get wrapped up in a neat and pretty bow. An unarmed man waiting for his child gets shot and just no longer exists. That's reality.
But I don't read books for reality, is the thing. Sure, I get annoyed when certain things aren't realistic, even in fantasy - the author has to write in a convincing matter. And I do like certain things to be open-ended. If the main character's mom or dad left her when she was little, I don't except them to be a family again by the end of the book. I don't think every detail needs closure. But most of them? Yes. That's what I like. I can see the other side, I get it. I just don't feel that way. If it's too open-ended, I just feel like there was no point, like I've wasted my time.
But more importantly: character death.
Yeah, I get it. Characters die because that's the reality of war, characters die to show you the stakes are high, characters die to protect others, etc. I understand. I respect people who still enjoy a book after a good character dies, who feel that it's a necessary evil. I don't always get it, but I respect it, and I know that I can never expect every book I want to read not to have death in it. (Or every TV show, because let's be honest, TV shows are 100 times guiltier of killing off anyone and everyone senselessly than books are.)
But here's the thing: I am tired of living in constant fear of books. Constant fear on every page that one of my favorite characters is going to die. That worry and all the death and angst drove me away from fantasy. Obviously, I still read some of it. Heidi Heilig's The Girl From Everywhere is one of my absolute favorites, though I'm pretty scared to read the sequel. Like many, I adore Six of Crows. There are TONS of upcoming fantasies I'm excited for, like Hunted by Meagan Spooner, The Valiant by Lesley Livingston, and so many more. But I haven't gotten to know those characters, I haven't connected with them, so the idea of somebody dying doesn't bring any emotions. (Plus, they sound REALLY AWESOME.)
But when a character I liked dies, I usually cry. And then I'll feel awful for the rest of the day/night and all of my thoughts will be sad ones and basically what I'm saying is I read happier books with happy endings and minimal death because it's better for me, mentally. Sometimes I don't like that - I know people love books that make them feel so much, and I'm missing out on a lot of that emotion that can tie you to a book forever. I don't always think the fluffier contemporaries I've been reading have the same effect on me that something like Six of Crows does.
But you know what? They make me smile. They make me feel cozy and happy when I'm surrounded by misery and stress. And for people to toss that aside and say it's childish and ridiculous to avoid death or seek spoilers about who dies or to expect your books to have happy endings? That's not okay. Like I said earlier: I'm not saying books should never have death. I recognize some books need it. I'm just saying that I'm exhausted with it and am choosing to read significantly less of them. You don't get to talk down to people who want to read fluffy books with happy endings. There's nothing wrong with wanting to find a little happiness in books when it's currently so rare everywhere else in your life.
tl;dr: I don't want my books to be like Game of Thrones. I don't want them to even TOUCH Game of Thrones. I'm going to continue living in my idealistic fiction world where books close on happy, heartwarming notes and don't tear my heart apart by killing someone I love.