Friday, September 3, 2010

Tastes in Reading

I’ve been reflecting lately on how my reading tastes have changed over the years. I loved mystery books as a kid. Probably from growing up watching things like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boy Mysteries and even some Scooby Doo cartoons! Rut roh!

As a young pre-teen I read piles and piles of those Silhouette First Romance books for young adults. Gosh I loved those! Then when I started out reading real adult romance it was pure historical romance for me (these included American westerns, Southern bells, European Gothic and of course those naughty pirate books!). Remember those Zebra romance book covers? They always put a spark in my eye!

I had no interest in contemporary love stories at all. I was swept away with the romance of the hero riding off into the sunset with the heroine after a daring rescue. All the damsel in distress stories used to make my heart race.
I bought every historical romance book I could find by authors like Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsay, Shannon Drake/Heather Graham, Jude Deveraux, Mary Kay Simmons, Norah Hess and many more.

Then when I had finished all those and needed my next “fix” by those authors I broke down and bought some of their (namely Jude Deveraux and Heather Graham) contemporary romance books and found I loved those too! So I began diving into contemporary romance by assorted authors for the next few years.

Then some of Heather Graham’s contemporary books became thriller/crime/romance stories and I found I liked those too! Great! I began reading more and more of these type books and found myself addicted to Nora Roberts. This was a wonderful find for me because she had so many back books for me to dive into AND (best of all) she writes ALL SORTS of books with romance in them! Then of course there’s the fact that the woman writes like a dozen books a year so I’ve nearly always got a Nora Roberts book to read. Thank you dear Nora!

Next I was rediscovering the YA books of today- which are much different from the 1970’s and 1980’s when I had last read them. The old books were full of sweet first love romance, but almost never nookie (with the memorable exception of Judy Blume’s “Forever”-which is still sitting on my bookshelf). Today’s YA can have all the same sex as an adult romance but in a less graphic way. You know what the characters did, but you didn’t read the details (usually).

About the same time I was rediscovering YA I was for the first time discovering that I actually enjoyed more fantasy fiction than I ever had in my life. As a kid I actually strongly disliked fantasy fiction. Hated books like Narnia, The Witch & the Wardrobe, The Wizard of Oz… and others. I would have preferred a trip to the dentist than having to read those books. Truly I couldn’t stand them. Now I find I love fantasy fiction mixed with some romance, much more than other genres. YA combined romance and fantasy for me in a way that I truly enjoyed and it opened me up to reading adult fantasy fiction which I find I absolutely love. Currently I’d say this is my favorite genre.

While I still have a special nostalgic place in my heart for those old historical romances they don’t dominate the type of reading I do any more. I am much more open to assorted books than I used to be. My reading keeps evolving and I wonder where I’ll be five or ten years from now.

How about you? How has your reading changed over the years? What did you start out with and where are you at now?


Artemis said...

Oh yes, my reading tastes have changed over the years. I really didn't start reading until junior high and HS (many, many moons ago), but it took off big time. I fell in love with Greek Mythology and all it entailed. I was in heaven!

Once out of HS though, time for reading was sparse. When I did read, it would usually be some type of historical fiction. Two favorite authors were John Jakes Larry McMurtry.

At one point, I went through a comic book phase. Still have them too. Of course, all superheroes. Wolverine being my favorite.

I also found myself reading non-fiction US History, from the founding of the USA, the Civil War Era, Prohibition Years. Doc Holliday and the Wild West are still favorite subjects.

Vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc., always fascinated me. Hey, I grew up watching those movies! So, when I discovered Interview With The Vampire...there was no looking back. Still, I didn't have spare reading time (family, work).

It wasn't until about three/four years ago that everything changed. I am no longer working and have some time to read! I started reading Charlaine Harris and needed another vampire series. I latched on to DARK LOVER by J.R. Ward and was hooked for life!

I had never read a romance novel in my life. Now, I'm addicted to hot alpha males: paranormal, romantic suspense, erotica, m/m, historical, some contemporary. No sappy love stories for me.

Today, even though the bulk of my reading consists of romance, you will find a few other non-fiction on my bookshelf.

BTW, love your picture of Jon Paul.

ElaineG said...

I had pretty much the same reading pattern as you did.....though I had a true-crime phase...which didn't last long cause I would be so stressed out by the end, even knowing it would always end badly.

I got hooked on Suzanne Brockmann contemporary/action/romance (she is amazing), then found Sherrilynn Kenyan and Karen Marie Moning oh my!

Now? I pretty much stick with those three when I am not devouring m/m. This genre provides me with a new look into romance, and I adore it. I have found so many amazing authors: Amy Lane, Carol Lynne, Sean Michael, TA Chase, Stormy Glenn and TC Blue among some of my favorites. I love so many sub-genres in m/m: contemporary, historical, paranormal, you name it, I have it.

I love reading, and hope to always be able to escape into a book. It is my one joy outside of my son and husband.

Dr J said...

I was absolutely taken with your comments. I have no doubt that my tastes have not only changed but my acceptance of many literary styles has changed. There was a time when I wouldn't even go near a "first person" narrative in a fictional tale. Always preferred the "third person" kind of narrative. Now, it just doesn't seem to be that important if it is a really good story. And how I resonate with the old Harlequin romances that I received every month--piles and piles--but they were what got my daughters started reading, so they were worth the small expense. Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy the blog.

Lea said...

Hey Ms. M!

Another great post today.

Oh, my reading tastes have really changed over the years. I started with sneaking my Mother's Harlequin's.

Then I read spy thrillers inbetween the fiction and biographical stuff my father forced down my throat.

Then it was historical romance / contemp / erotic and so on and so on. Then I returned to pure fiction with very little romance / and the spy thriller / thriller.

Now, well, you've read my blog.. lol But it is ever evolving!

Thanks Ms. M.!

MsM (Elizabeth Jules Mason) said...

Thanks everyone for sharing you reading journeys!

Do you ever wonder what you'll be reading 10 years from now?

I feel like I've "tried it all" yet I know my reading will continue to evolve and I will no doubt have another favorite genre in the years to come.

Thanks again for stopping by and sharing!



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