Evolving Tastes in Reading Material

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Evolving Tastes in Reading Material

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Jul 29, 2011, 7:54 am

Have you noticed that your taste in reading material has evolved a lot since you were in high school? or even since you first began reading for pleasure?

I can answer both yes and no. I've preferred thrillers/mysteries as far back as I can remember, even before I began the Nancy Drew books, and I still love thrillers/mysteries. But I can remember for years that's pretty much all I would read. My mother took us to the library every other week, and I would walk directly to the juvenile mystery shelves. I probably read all of them. :-) Probably when I was 12 or so I started reading more than that.

When I was s teenager a lot of the books I read were about girls my age and their boyfriends. I hate that type of book now and any type of romance novel.

Jul 29, 2011, 11:18 am

I find myself suspended between long time fiction genre preferences and a desire to explore the boundless literary and scientific world around me. I find cues not only in the NY Times Sunday Book Review section, the Washington Post Outlook, various publishers' newsletters, Scientific American Mind, Seed, etc., etc. as well as fruitful explorations in every part of my local libraries and bookstores.

Set 15, 2011, 1:33 pm

I have also always been a mystery, historical novel type reader but yes lately I'm peeking into science fiction and fantasy more

Set 16, 2011, 2:47 am

I have been predominantly a science fiction reader since around the age of 10. We had few books at home and when I had to bike to a new junior school I joined the public library (Hellesdon, Norwich, UK) which was on my school route. After the nice librarian gave me a ticket for the main library, not the children's one, I started reading Gollancz's (the publisher) yellow-backed SF. From these I found other SF publishers and started an author list from blurbs on books listing other authors (which is now on LT on my profile).

I have read more than my fair share of contemporary fiction and the classics but I still like SF best - as my LT page will show :-)

Editado: Out 2, 2011, 10:27 am

I find that the overall types of books that I like haven't changed that much. Science Fiction, Age of Sail (history/fiction), Naval (history/ fiction), memoirs and autobiographies an occasional western and classic literature fling. What has changed is the mix. Over the years the mix has gone from 40/60 (fiction to non-fiction) to 80/20 or 90/10. Oh! in my 20's I use to read books about the existential angst of the gods , never understood any of it, was trying to impress the girls,( and no it didn't work )
Anyway! I think that the overall quality of the books I read as far as writing and depth of story and characters has improved. (I hope).

Out 3, 2011, 10:01 pm

I'll read pretty much any kind of fiction except westerns and politcal/lawyer thrillers. As a teen I read a lot of historical fiction, (Victoria Holt, Norah Lofts); in college and early adulthood, I discovered fantasy and sci/fi (Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey). Lately, it seems to be urban fantasy, but that interest seems to be waning. Not sure what's on the horizon. But I really will read almost any genre.

Out 5, 2011, 1:42 am

I find that I am quite interested now in reading older authors, who I would have passed by twenty years ago. I recently read Bleak House (1850s) and the House of Mirth (1910) and found it very interesting to compare attitudes from those periods with the modern day.

Out 20, 2011, 6:15 pm

I have sort of drifted from one genre to another. When I was in high school I devoured historical fiction. Through college and early adulthood I read SciFi. Now my favorites are medieval and other historical fiction. I find myself reading classics and nonfiction occasionally to keep my mind fit and catch up on stuff that I've missed that no one should miss.

Out 20, 2011, 8:16 pm


You may be interested in the Neglected books page if you are looking for overlooked books of the past.


Out 22, 2011, 2:32 pm

(6) theexiledlibrarian, I used to feel that way about westerns. Then I read a book by Louis L'Amour that was not technically a western, and I got hooked.

Some of his books are better than others (I love Connagher, which they made into a movie), but I've enjoyed almost every one I've read. They're stories, about people and situations, not like I had envisioned before I started reading them.

Try L'Amour, you might like him.

Out 22, 2011, 2:51 pm

Have my tastes in books changed? Oh, yes.

As a child, I read animal books almost exclusively: The Jungle Books, Silver Chief, Big Red, Misty of Chincoteague, and The Black Stallion books, just to name a few. I devoured any book that had animals in it, even those books that were supposedly too hard for me to read (I was reading Jack London at age 9).

Then I made the switch to SciFi/Fantasy, starting with the Narnia series, continuing with Middle Earth, and then reading almost anything on the shelves of the library. I read all the books by Katherine Kurtz on the 'Deryni'.

As a 20 something, I went back and read the classics I'd not read before, such as books by Dickens.

By my 30s, I was big into fantasy books and comics, reading almost every book written by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey. That's when I also discovered C J Cherryh and Andre Norton.

It was also during this decade that I discovered Louis L'Amour, and read almost every western he wrote (about 100).

But about ten years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of non-fiction, and began to read all sorts of tomes about just about any subject. I became interested in the Bible, and proceeded to not only read it, but to read books about it, commentaries and the like.

And then, I discovered mysteries a couple years ago, reading the first dozen of Lillian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who... series, and Kaminsky's books about police detectives in the Soviet Union. I burned through that series as well.

So, at the ripe age of 51, what do I like and what don't I like?

I'm not much for fantasy anymore, although I'll still dip into McCaffrey and Lackey on occasion. Most of what I read in my youth is really not to my taste anymore. C J Cherryh remains my favorite SciFi/Fantasy author, and I still reread her works every year.

I bought the Silver Chief books earlier this year, and thoroughly enjoyed rereading them. I have a few copies of Jim Kjelgaard's works too, that I have not outgrown.

I have become a Jane Austen fan, and am working through those books of hers that I have not yet read (I also reread the ones I have read!).

I still reread westerns by Louis L'Amour.

And I'm still partial to non-fiction, especially as it concerns Christianity and the Bible.

But many books that I loved in the past just don't do anything for me, anymore. Upon rereading them, I have given up after a chapter or two...the Deryni books by Katherine Kurtz were that way for me.

Oh well, there's still many MANY books waiting to be read...for the first time!

Editado: Out 22, 2011, 2:54 pm

fuzzi - I so agree. When I moved to my last school (in ranch country), I found the library had a whole shelf of "Louie-s." I thought I better read one, so I could talk about him with my students. I ended up reading them all. When I retired 20 some odd years later, we had 2 whole shelves of Louie.

Conagher is probably my favorite too. And Flint. And The Sackett Brand. And...

Out 22, 2011, 2:56 pm

(12) LOL!


And for me, it all started with Jubal Sackett...

Out 22, 2011, 5:37 pm

For many years for vaction we went camping. I didn't feel like I was on vaction if I didn't have at least one L"Amour book to read.

Out 23, 2011, 11:15 pm

Maybe I should give L'Amour a try. Ironically, my non-reader husband DID enjoy L'Amour, and at one time had a pretty big collection of them. We got rid of them when we moved a few years ago, with me never having read any of them. I did read Lonesome Dove many years ago; does that count?

Editado: Out 24, 2011, 1:22 am

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is in a whole other class than L'Amour. His (L,Amours) books are more in the vain of the classic western type stories, good guys vrs. bad guys, and good guys win in then end.
What appeals to most people (I think) is his easy writing style and the good /bad guys are not so easiy to tell apart somrtimes.

Speaking of Larry McMurtry, I don't like most of his westerns. But I do enjoy his "modern" books; Texasville, The last Picture Show, Moving On, Cadillac Jack, Desert Rose etc.

Dez 7, 2011, 12:40 am

When I was very young, I had only a few books and wished for more...but money was tight and books were a luxury. About Grade 4, we moved to the "big city" and can you believe I didn't understand the concept of the school library, but I did borrow books from friends...and loaned the precious few I had. At this point I was reading Nancy Drew, and books based on TV series like UFO, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Beverly Hillbillies, etc. We moved again and I had a great teacher who explained libraries in more detail. She also introduced me to Sci-Fi and animal stories. From there I discovered mysteries and Egypt. The biggest problem I had was that I could only sign out one book at a time and was often finished it long before our next library session. Somewhere about this time, I discovered the public library and was thrilled to get my own library card. Such a lot of treasures to discover...but alas...no Nancy Drew! Here, I discovered romances and more adventure stories. Then a neighbor brought over a box of Harlequin romances and just gave them to me! Wonders never cease! A whole box of books to get lost in! My mother was less impressed than I. LOL I'm afraid Harlequins side-tracked me for quite a few years, but I still had school libraries and soon came to realize there were many more interesting books with more interesting storylines than Harlequins could provide. The genres that have had the most staying power have been adventure, Sci-Fi, and romance. Westerns and Horror took a chunk out of my reading life in high school and it was there that a teacher introduced me to books about aviation...flying stories! :) There was a time when if the book had a picture of a plane on it...I bought it! Didn't much matter what genre it was. I think that was a good way of waking up to the fact that there was more out there than what I had already been exposed to. It wasn't until I was working and could afford my own books that I found Fantasy and around the same time discovered used book stores! I've been lost ever since! My interests haven't changed so much as expanded and continue to do so. I've discovered that I enjoy a classic now and then, delve occasionally into chic-lit, and still enjoy a good historical romance just as much as I enjoy historical fiction. I like biographies, non-fiction if the topic interests me, and have even been known to read travel guides! Cookbooks are good for inspiration, and a good thiller can keep me occupied for hours. About the only thing I don't read anymore is Horror. Just don't want to know that stuff anymore. I haven't jumped on the paranormal bandwagon as yet, but do enjoy a time-travel story. What I know now is that there are far to many books...and never enough time. Has anyone found a deserted island I could get stranded on...with a case of books? ;)

Dez 7, 2011, 8:42 am

Thanks, Neverwithoutabook, for my smile this morning. What a heart-warmer.

Dez 7, 2011, 9:43 am

Ditto. That's a well-earned and well-lived love for books you have.

Dez 7, 2011, 1:42 pm

>18 MerryMary: & 19 - Thank you. I'm glad I could give you a smile. :)

Dez 7, 2011, 2:16 pm

Neverwithoutabook, I enjoyed reading your post.

I was always in the public library as a child, but I was terrible about returning the books on time. One year I went to summer camp and forgot about my library books. My mother wrote to me to ask "Where are your library books?" Ha!

Dez 7, 2011, 5:00 pm

>fuzzi - I hear ya! I've had my share of library fines! Believe me! It's so easy to take home more than one can read in the allotted time. I've even had to choose what to read, knowing they both had to go back and there was only time to read one. :( Heartbreaking! A good lesson in learning to use restraint (how I hate that word) when choosing books. I don't use libraries anymore. My Mt. TBR is actually a volcano that has spewed stacks of books all over my home! That's why I need a deserted island....I've got some serious reading to get done!

Dez 7, 2011, 5:59 pm

When I was a young girl in Attleboro Falls, MA, I was introduced to the new library branch above the old fire station. One unique feature was the brass pole to the bottom floor. I was fascinated by Helen Keller, Cleopatra, moving to science fiction, my brief interest in the occult. As a teen drop out, I read many classics, every non fiction book on real murder, Brave New World, Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov and I adored Vonnegut. As a young woman, the real murder interest stayed with me, mostly non fiction. I devoured and subscribed to real estate trade, science and news magazines. As I matured, I found myself at the new book section first and was exposed to many more authors and subjects, such as "The Bonesetter's Daughter," American geography, Willa Cather and "Color Purple". I ventured into reading "Diet for a Small Planet" and other cookbooks; teaching myself tobake bread and cook in my early 30's.

I re-read Brave New World last year and wondered why I ever thought it so profound; at 57 I was more than a little unimpressed with his writing style - if he had one. I just re-read Willa Cather's "Alexander's Bridge," savoring every word and gaining a deeper appreciation for her work. An old friend introduced me to Sue Grafton, and I have read her Kinsey Milhone series up to " V is for Vengeance." I was driving from LA to SF 2 or 3 times a month and found that books on tape, mainly mysteries, kept me alert, so my reading wandered over in the mystery section. I've exhausted Tony Hillerman and have found no-one else writing that type of fiction to hold my interest, including something about "Grandmother Spider" - stupid and ho hum bor dum. I am loving Michael Connelly, am angry that Brad Geagley has not continued with his writing and I am still dabbling in Egyptian historical fiction detective stories - but not finding much that I really like so far. Sermons in Stone was an answered prayer to learn about my native New England stone walls. I am reading mostly fiction, I love mysteries especially of Los Angeles. I love Henry Nouwen's writing, I read AA recovery books on occasion, a little actual American history and sometimes I'll read a howtobeabettersalesman book. I am much more open to reading books that I would never have read when I was younger AND I am much more apt to not finish a book today if it is boring my barnacles off; as in "Forgotten Patriots" - it started out so promising and then there was page two. Also, I've noticed that I am always reading a book; I love that part. In fact, I wander around LT looking for people's reviews about books to expand my reading into other areas.

Dez 7, 2011, 6:43 pm

Wander away. I hope you find something that tickles your curiosity now and then.

Editado: Dez 7, 2011, 6:50 pm

>imsodion - I haven't read any Michael Connelly yet, but he's on my Authors To Be Read List. I do enjoy David Baldacci and Jeffery Deaver very much though. If you haven't tried them, you might enjoy them. Both are sharing "My New Favorite Author" category for me! :)

ETA - I love hearing about how other readers have developed their reading styles! :)

Dez 7, 2011, 7:44 pm

Thank you for the suggestions; I now have Deaver and Baldacci in my sights.

Dez 7, 2011, 8:51 pm

You're very welcome! :)

Dez 12, 2011, 12:15 am

I grew up in a very rural area. My school, which housed grades 1-12 was in one building and had no library. Each teacher did try to keep a few books on their own shelves; but I lived for the Bookmobile, which visited my “road” on a monthly basis. I called this the “book bus.” I took as many books out as they would allow, beginning at age 5. Unfortunately, I had them read in the first week or so. I would often read them again. At an early age I liked fairy tales such as Rumplestiltskin or Rapunzel. I then graduated to The Bobbsey Twins, The Happy Hollisters, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. From then on, it was anything I could my hands on! I think as a teenager I went through a romance period with Danielle Steele. During college I was so busy studying that I did not read for pleasure! I lean very much toward history (being a history teacher) and historical fiction (the “real” stuff—not the romances) such as Michener, etc. Just last month I read Dickens’ “Bleak House.” At first, I can’t say that I liked the book, it seemed to be cumbersome. However, I did feel pleased when I finished it. I then started on some lighter fare (historical fiction) and much to my dismay, I’m comparing it to Dickens and finding it very much lacking. I’m hoping that I have not ruined myself for other books! (I’m sure I’ haven’t). Surprisingly, I’m going back to Dickens after I quickly finish what I’m reading now. Are my tastes evolving even at this late stage in my life? It would appear so……..

Dez 12, 2011, 1:14 am

When we stop learning and growing and changing, we start stagnating and dieing.

Dez 12, 2011, 9:57 pm

>28 Tess_W: - I truly believe that as we continue to read, no matter what we're reading, our taste evolves and grows.