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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How have your reading tastes changed over the years?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (35262points) 1 month ago

I read a lot. I honestly don’t know how many books a year. I’m sure there are people who read much more.

I am a reading snob. I cannot tolerate pulp. I refuse to spend my time on poorly written books for the mass market. I think it comes from my degrees, one of which is in classics.

I’ve read a lot of classical Greek literature and philosophy and tons of what are commonly known as the classics of English literature. I actually read Shakespeare for fun. I’ve cheated on that though. I’ve acted in many of the plays, so I’ve grown used to the language over the years.

About five years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop reading literature with straight storylines. Now, I read only LGBTQ literature: novels, memoirs, history, poetry, romance, etc. I simply decided I’d read enough of your stories, and it’s time I read about me.

What about you? Have your reading habits changed over the years? Have you made a conscious decision to read certain types of books? Please tell us.

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16 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I am all over the map on my tastes in books. I tend to read in, for lack of a better term, wave types. I’ll read masses of quality science fiction (not a fantasy fan) for months at a time, then suddenly develop a taste for WW2 women’s fiction about non-combatant participators, then I’ll binge silly food mysteries with recipes, then on to another genre. At the moment I have a bunch of books in my TBR pile with the word “Paris” in the title. I have vowed to read all my Paris books by the end of 2022.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

That sounds genuinely delightful.

Demosthenes's avatar

I read about 50 books a year. My usual pattern is to read one fiction and one non-fiction at the same time. This averages out to around 4 books a month. The main thing that has changed is simply that I read more than I used to. I never disliked reading, but even as late as college, with all the assigned reading I had (non-fiction, in my case, as I studied linguistics) I only read for pleasure 1 or 2 books a month, if that. Now I keep track of everything on Goodreads and add books to my to-read list regularly (I read book reviews and watch BookTube videos on YouTube to get ideas as well). My tastes don’t seem to have changed much: My preferred non-fiction is history and cultural criticism, though I’ll read anything if it seems interesting. As for fiction, one thing I have been doing differently is trying to read more fiction in translation. I’ve been reading a lot of Latin American authors lately, like Roberto Bolano, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ve also been trying to expand beyond Murakami in Japanese literature (recently been reading works by Yukio Mishima, who was homosexual and wrote a coming-of-age story about a young homosexual in pre-war Japan that I’m intending to read next).

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Demosthenes Mishima wrote a number of books with gay themes. Enjoy! I have a book on my shelf that is all about gay love before Japan opened its doors to the outside world. I haven’t read it yet. I’m struggling to remember the title. I think it’s The Great Mirror of Male Love. I’ll check tonight when I get home. If that’s wrong, I’ll post it later.

Forever_Free's avatar

I too am an avid reader and consume about 30–40 books a year. This does not count poetry and short stories. My tastes have changed over the years towards more non-fiction vs fiction.
I won’t read pulp either. Most reads are Non-Fiction, Classics. I absolutely love a good Rockumentary. I will also re-read one or two past favorites per year.
I do miss having a few favorite Fiction Authors that are active. I miss authors like Anne Rice, Michael Crichton, John Le Carre. When I get my Sunday NYTimes, the first section I read is the Book Review looking for new fodder for reading.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Forever_Free I read so much John LeCarre many years ago. I have no idea if I read everything. I loved his books.

janbb's avatar

Not really changed. I still love most of the 19th century English authors, character driven novels and children’s classics like The Secret Garden. I rarely read non-fiction. I probably read more mysteries than I used to but still not many. I’ve always liked good time travel novels like Time and Again by Jack Finney.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@janbb I would say the majority of what I read is fiction, but I do enjoy really good memoirs. Derek Jacobi’s memoir of life in the theatre was a lot of fun. I don’t have it yet, but I want to get Harvey Fierstein’s new memoir. I’ve had to stop reading the coming out memoirs that dominate the genre in LGBTQ literature. They are just too depressing. I lived that. I don’t need to be reminded of it over the course of hours of reading. I’ve got one now that I will finish, but then no more.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I read two to four Sy Fi books a month 55 years ago, last time I read a book 3 three years ago.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I’m sorry you’ve fallen out of the habit.

eyesoreu's avatar

I no longer exclusively look at the pictures or point at words as I read them.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

For years my cycle has been:

1) Lots of popular fiction like John le Carre
2) Lots of non-fiction like Mary Beard
3) Lots of aimlessly browsing the web
4) Return to #1

Each section can last years.

raum's avatar

As a kid, I read everything in sight indiscriminately. Usually with a dictionary in hand.

In college, I leaned towards contemporary and Spanish fiction with a dash of poetry. With original and English translation, side by side.

These days it’s mostly kids books. And often the same one on request repeatedly. It’s like a literary version of Groundhog’s Day.

seawulf575's avatar

I started really reading for pleasure when I was 12. I went to sleep with the radio on. This particular radio station would do radio theater once a week. That evening I woke up half way through Dracula. I had, of course, heard of the story but never read it. After listening for a while I decided to read the book. That opened up a whole new chapter of my life (pun intended). I read some of the classic horror stories, moved into modern horror stories (Stephen King, Dean Koontz), Sci-fi (Piers Anthony, Heinlein, Moorcock, Asimov), into some action books (Ludlum), into some philosophical books (Richard Bach), Historical fiction (Clavell) and on and on. Please note the authors listed are examples and not a complete list.
I tend to stick to fiction as I generally read for the entertainment, though I have read non-fictions on occasion as I am looking for information or a better understanding of something.

jca2's avatar

When I was little, I was reading all the time. All. The. Time. As a young adult, I really got into Stephen King.

Now, lately, I am just as likely to read a magazine (the New Yorker is my fave) because they don’t require such a commitment. As far as books go, I’ve enjoyed some non-fiction, like Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

I’m in a book group, which I joined about ten years ago when I read “The Help” and coincidentally, that was the book the group was discussing that month, so I attended and have been attending religiously since, so I do read at least one book a month. I know that’s not a lot but sometimes it’s a chore, because it’s not always a book that I like. This month, the book is “Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby. I love it so far, and I really liked another book that we read in the group, “Blacktop Wasteland.” Both of these books are really suspenseful and enjoyable to read. Blacktop Wasteland is supposed to be made into a movie, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

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