Reading Habits: Refinement and Change

Posted November 19, 2019 by Maire in meme, Whimsy / 13 Comments

My reading habits have changed so much over the past couple of years. I’m starting to refine my preferred genres and find balance with my writing.

Top Ten Tuesday banner

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blogging prompt hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Gal. Last week we had bookmark show & tell. This week, we’re talking about changes in our reading life.

I used to clean out the library on a regular basis

My family lived approximately two blocks away from the town library when I was a kid. The library at the time was the main floor of the old Post office. It housed both Children’s and Adult books, as well as a small museum in the attic and meeting rooms in the basement.

I used to regularly come home with the limit of 12 books. That didn’t stop when I moved from Children’s books to Adult. Locals learned to watch for the local kid literally walking home with her nose in a book.

Not long after we moved, they built a new library next door and let the museum take over the whole building. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

A rather large collection of JD Robb books from the In Death series.

I don’t borrow books from my Mum anymore. It drastically changed my reading habits.

When it comes to reading, my mother is the epitome of the word ‘voracious’. She buys both new and used books, often on sale. She loves the Kobo we gave her for Yule a few years back.

Mum and I had similar taste in books for a while, but that’s bound to happen when one person is reading at their demographic and the other is reading ahead of their age range. At some point I realized I was reading books that were too mature for me. The adventures weren’t geared to people my age.

It helped that Mum really likes her Kobo. It makes it much more difficult for me to borrow her books when she’d have to physically hand me her eBook. She’s not handing that thing over any time soon 😉

I sometimes feel like my choices are being judged

I have friends who are professional writers, and friends who are aspiring to be professional writers. There are times when, even though we read similar genres, our book choices don’t line up. Sometimes I feel like I’m being judged for not reading diversely enough, or literary enough, or books from the right kind of people

Strangely enough, I think that writing reviews has given me a bit of the buffer I need to deal with that. Whether or not anyone actually gets anything out of them, it at least shows that I’m getting something out of the book or the process.

I went on a serious non-fiction jag. It messed me up.

I was having difficulty getting into the flow of writing. The Husbeast asked what kind of books I’d been reading. I rattled off a good 12 non-fiction titles.

His solution? Read more fiction. Aye aye, Captain.

I read more graphic novels

A couple of years ago we decided we were old enough that we could start buying comics and not be seen as juvenile.

Let that sentence roll around in your head for just a moment.

(Then realize that William Gibson, Chuck Wendig and Seanan McGuire have all written for the graphic media).

I’m making a conscious effort to read diverse books

There aren’t enough people of colour in mainstream science fiction and fantasy. Anything other than heterosexuality is still seen as titillation by some folks. We really need diverse books written by OwnVoices to make these characters more mainstream and give them a place in popular fiction.

I’ve been trying to read more diversely. Part of that process has been to try reading more books written by women. The good news is that a lot of publishers are actively promoting women in various genres other than romance or literary fiction. The men are still being published; there’s just more choice, and I appreciate that.

Library of the Unwritten by AJ Hackwith on the shelves at Chapters

I read how-to-write books for fun

Back in 1997, when I first moved to Calgary, I checked the local library branch for books on how to write and be published. The closest I could get was an outdated publisher’s directory and some old Writer’s Magazines.

Now I have hardcover and paperback editions of writing books by Stephen King, Ursula K. Leguin and Chuck Wendig, among others. Don’t get me started on my digital collection. A lot of good writing books are surprisingly inexpensive.

I get hung up on a book’s story structure

The unfortunate side effect of learning how to write more effectively is that you start to notice when someone else’s novel requires more work. This is both a bonus and a drawback when you’re reviewing, because you run the risk of sounding overly bougie.

And trust me, I am not part of the bourgeoisie. I read cozy knitting mysteries, for crying out loud.

Creative Distractions

Popular books are palate cleansers for me

As I said. Cozy knitting mysteries. Sometimes with Vampires.

Yes, I have Dresden Files novels. I even enjoy them. I read Nora Roberts books in the bathtub. They’re comfort reads. When you’ve been three books deep into literary horror, you kinda need a silly romcom to bring yourself back into balance.

Gift cards really are useful

My reading tastes are becoming more refined, and there’s going to be a time when my family won’t be able to predict what books to get me for Yule or my birthday. They’ve already started giving me gift cards so I can load up my Kobo.

And, my dudes, if you wait for the sales? Twenty bucks goes a long way. No word of a lie.

How have your reading habits changed? Are you reading outside your usual genres? Maybe checking out the Non-Fiction? Leave a comment below!


13 responses to “Reading Habits: Refinement and Change

    • It’s similar. We diverged in our romance reading tastes a few years back, and that’s OK.
      I think it really comes down to having a lot of one type of book in the house. My Dad isn’t as avid a reader as Mum, so her books took up the most space, and were available to read.
      I get my love of SFF from my Dad, and Horror from my Grandfather. My tastes are a real crazy quilt 🙂

    • I think that, on the whole, we can. The issue only rears its ugly head when we start interacting with other people. Because I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, I find my tastes intersect with different pocket fandoms that war with each other. It’s really…confusing. And probably a post in its own right.

    • I’m glad you’ve found some graphic novels that are up your alley! We have an almost alarming amount of books by Alan Moore in our home library 😀

  1. Ack! I’m sorry you’ve gone through moments where you feel like your reading habits/taste/choices have been judged. It’s such a frustrating feeling to struggle with and I can relate to it 100%. Also, I love that you used to be one of those kids who’d walk home from the library with her nose in a book. I relate!

    • I’m pretty sure I traumatized my fair share of local motorists in my youth 😉
      The nice part about reviewing is that it gives me a justification for my reading habits.

  2. Oh yes… I know about my reading AND WRITING genres being judged. My lovely mother absolutely refuses to read a single word I’ve written because it’s science fiction – not even the short stories I’ve had published… And I got awfully fed up in the 1990s at the number of agents and publishers who would add in their submission lists in the Authors and Artists’ Yearbook – ‘erotica and science fiction authors need not submit’.

    I really loved reading about how your reading habits have changed – thank you for sharing:)

    • Thank *you* for stopping by and also for sharing your experience. I hope that the science fiction market has opened up a bit for you. And if not, well, self-pub is becoming more and more viable. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.