Do you ever get confused?

Photo taken by Ian Villar.

A friend asked me before if I ever get confused with the worlds, characters and details of the books that I read and I said no. There are times when I pause while reading because something in there reminds me of past books that I’ve read. When the similarities are worth mentioning, I say something in my reviews (e.g. “recommended for fans of X and Y” or “if you liked A then you’ll probably like this” or “similar to B’s premise but better execution”). I think that while reading a certain book, I really dive into the story and when the worldbuilding is good, I can focus on that setting instead of recalling what was described in other books. I also like mixing up the genres that I read – after I finish reading a contemporary YA novel, I’ll pick up a fantasy or historical fiction novel next. It all depends on what I feel like reading at the moment but I try not to read books from the same genre consecutively because I have a feeling I’d get burned out that way. This way, I feel like the previous fantasy world that I read will fade in my mind before I start on a new one.

What about the rest of you, does reading a lot of fiction books, especially fantasy ones which are set in different worlds, ever confuse you as a reader? Do you mix up the genres that you read so you won’t get confused?

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25 thoughts on “Do you ever get confused?

  1. I don’t think I ever really get confused, but I have to admit that I do get burnout if I read one genre all the time. I need brain breaks to keep fresh so I like reading a little of everything.

    I think that I’ve tended to read series that are pretty unique overall so I don’t tend to mix them up. That’s a good question though. I wonder if other people do. I will be interested to see what people say.

    • Brain breaks! Exactly. I want to feel like I’m reading all sorts of things even though I mostly stick to the same genres – fantasy (both epic and urban), chick lit and YA.

      Me too, most of the books that I read were recommended by someone else so I feel like they’ve been filtered already. I don’t pick up books when they don’t get good feedback from bloggers.

  2. I read so many books with similar concepts but different worlds, I’m bound to get confused. Last year, I fallen in love with fantasy and paranormal (especially series). My preferences for books went from “little or no fantasy” to “fantasy, supernatural, and paranormal galore”.
    Originality is an illusion; I can only hope they change it up, improve, reinvent! I admire authors that can distance their works from other stories in the same genre with the same folklore.

    So far, it hasn’t gotten that bad. I get confused from time to time, but I always find a way to “unconfuse” myself (like checking other books in the series or asking online).
    I would mix up the genres I read but when I feel like reading a certain book I will just read it regardless of the fact that it’s wildly similar to the book I’ve just read.

    • Hmm I don’t read a lot of YA urban fantasy (I think they’re also called YA paranormal) because I had a lukewarm reaction to most of the ones that I’ve read. The setting in those are very similar, I think.

      When you read books in a series, I think there’s less of a confusion because you’re immersed in that setting for quite a while.

      • You’d think that it’d be less confusing if it’s a series right?
        Not exactly.

        Like when I read (devoured actually), Black Dagger Brotherhood, Breed series and Carpathians series one after the other (reading ones I acquire as I go along).

        All vampire series, similarities abound.
        Like Breed and Brothers are warrior types fighting for their people. Breed and Carpathians fight against their own brethren who are consumed with bloodlust. The list goes on.

        There was a lot of “Oh I forgot they need to draink from people of the opposite sex”, “They can’t live on humans??? But I thought..oh yeah that was the other series” and “But why did the blood bond not work that way..oh yeah, other series again.”
        Oh my LOL, I shall me more mindful of what I read in rapid succession.

  3. I think I don’t really get confused, although I do forget a lot of the details in a book.:D

    Mixing up of genres depends entirely on my mood. Usually I have reading phases where I read books from the same genre until I just get tired of them and then try something totally different. The length of the reading phases varies greatly though – that’s why I like having books from different genres readily available.:)

    • Same here – I have to write reviews right after I read books because otherwise, I’d forget the details. So it’s a good thing that I put up reviews so I can review them when I want to refresh my memory about certain books.

      Me too! The genres that I read really depend on my mood. When I love a book, I want to read more from the same genre and then when I finish several, I want to try something different to sort of cleanse the palate.

  4. LOL ~ such a funny little topic.

    I’ve never gotten confused. Or even thought of it as a possibility. I think I just get caught up in each books individual world as I am reading it.

    but I have gotten burnt out. In fact, the last 5 books I’ve read are adult fiction and I am really enjoying the break from YA 🙂 (sorry, off topic comment)

    • Nomes, LOL it is a funny topic but I’m really curious. Me too, I try to sink into the book that I’m currently reading so I don’t really get confused.

      Do you review the adult fiction books that you’ve read on your blog? I try to review all of the books that I read so I have a somewhat eclectic mix here on the blog.

  5. Great topic! 🙂
    I don’t think I have ever gotten confused. Sometimes in a historical fiction books where there are a lot of characters, it might be hard to keep track initially but then I usually overcome that. Since I read a lot of genres, I do usually alternate between different genres.

    • Oh I know what you mean, I think the names in some fantasy books are confusing as well when you’re new to the world. I get confused when there are a lot of characters but I’m okay once I’m in the thick of things.

  6. I think the fantasy worlds that I mix up would be the ones that didn’t make such an impact on me. I don’t think I would have any difficulty with the ones that I do enjoy. 🙂

    I make it a point to mix what I’m reading but not because I get confused. I guess I just like variety; at times I won’t even force myself to stick to one book and finish it in one reading. I would often start something else so that when I’m in the mood for something different, I would have an option. Is that too strange?

    • Oh hey, good point! When you have a lukewarm reaction to a book, you tend to forget about it after some time. So when someone asks me about a book that I’ve read and I can’t recall much about it, that probably means that I didn’t like it.

      Wow, you read several books at the same time? I don’t do that but not because I’d get confused, more because I’d probably forget the thread of story when I don’t focus on just one.

      • I think Celina and I discussed this habit a long time ago! When reading two/three books at once, I’m actually likelier to forget where I placed one book than forget its story thread. 😛

  7. I don’t get confused. I have, several times, had people say how much they loved a book when they were a child and thought why did I not read that as a child. Then I go to read it and realize part way in I had read it. It just wasn’t so memorable to me. So, in another couple decades the same thing will probably be happening with the books I read only once now.

    I do try to mix up genres so I don’t burnout.

    • LOL I just mentioned something similar in reply to dementedchris’ comment above. Books aren’t memorable when we have lukewarm reactions to them. That has happened to me before, I can’t recall any of the details so when I do a reread, it feels like a new book.

      That happened to me with The Thief! *ducks in shame* I read it when I was a kid but couldn’t remember anything about it when I bought a new copy.

  8. “This way, I feel like the previous fantasy world that I read will fade in my mind before I start on a new one.” That’s true–and I feel that if I read another book that’s too similar, the one I just read won’t have a chance to seep into my mind and take on a life there of its own. So when I read a book I really love, I try to read something different next.

    • Yep, also when you finish reading a book that you really love, you kind of feel that it will be difficult to top so it’s better to read something else from another genre.

  9. I don’t generally get worlds/characters/plots confused, but I do sometimes forget key elements in a world if I go too long in between reading various books in a series.

    The only thing used to mix me up a bit was reading fanfiction. Back in the early HP days, when there was a long wait between one book and the next, I started following a few fanfiction authors (like Cassandra Clare) and I would occasionally feel confused by what was canon and what was well-written fanfiction when I picked up the next book.

    • Yeah, sometimes I need to do a Google search for the storyline to refresh my memory if there’s a big gap in my reading time of the books in a series.

      Oh I don’t read fanfiction because I’m afraid I’ll confuse it with the canon, like you said.

  10. I don’t get confused with most fantasy and sci-fi books, because the world-building is part and parcel with the writing of the book. If I get confused while reading a fantasy book (and no, confused does not include occasionally peeking into the character lists or glossaries included in the book), that usually means (at least for me) that the author didn’t do a good job with the world building.

    I read Diane’s comment about the vampire books and couldn’t help smiling because I feel the same way. I went on a vampire paranormal binge a while back and ended up wanting to whack Christine Feehan’s Carpathians for being too alpha and J.R.Ward’s brothers for using too much home boy slang. Seems out of all the vampire/immortal warrior paranormal romance series I read, the best was Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn (and her spin-off Kyndred series) books. Nice blend of urban fantasy, mystery, and medical drama, and lighter on the fluffy cliched romance lines. Plus it makes use of an ensemble cast rather than just focusing on just one cookie-cutter main couple for each book in the series.

    I do, however, get confused with straight historical romance books, because most of them seem to recycle the same formulas over and over again. It’s a mark of the author’s skill in character development if I can actually recall the hero and heroine’s names a few days after finishing the book… So most of my favorite romance authors tend to be traditional regency romance writers or started out as such (too bad that genre is now pretty much dead because the trend has moved to more and more sex in the long historicals).

    • Yes, exactly. If the worldbuilding is good then there’s no danger of being confused.

      LOL like I said, I’m not really a fan of the vampire paranormal trend. I did try reading the first book in J.R. Ward’s series and was stumped as to why it was so popular. I couldn’t get over the way the characters used slang. When it comes to urban fantasy, the Kate Daniels series is still my favorite. It doesn’t hurt that vampires are portrayed as scary beings that don’t even resemble humans anymore.

      Not really familiar with traditional regency or historical romance either although I do read books that fall under those from time to time like Joanna Bourne and Georgette Heyer.

      • I got started on traditional regency romances because of Georgette Heyer, but ended up collecting the books because of Allan Kass (who was a cover artist for the Signet Regency Romance line). There’s a blog about his book covers here:

        http://allankass.blogspot.com/

        I’ve slogged through a lot of paranormal romances in the past year, but found that I still prefer straight urban fantasies better than PRs (too much focus on the sexual tension between the main couple in those). But then again, J.R. Ward’s books are supposed to be PRs, but long-time fans have complained that the books have started to veer towards urban fantasy territory because there’s less focus on the relationship of the main characters as compared to the first three or four books.

        I’ve had the Kate Daniels and Edge books for a while, though I’m not done reading them. Hehe. Too many books in the TBR pile! I’d strongly recommend that you give the Darkyn and Kyndred books a try even if you’re not into vampire paranormals though. Lynn Viehl also writes a sci-fi medical series (StarDoc) under the name S.L. Viehl, and her Darkyn books reflect a similar style. Of course, the sex scenes that usually make a paranormal romance a paranormal romance are there, but because of the points I mentioned earlier, the series is a lot closer to an urban fantasy mystery compared to other vampire paranormal romance series out there.

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