Hey everyone! So I guess I missed this one last week, which is ironic considering it was actually one that I wanted to do. But I’m not sure how it works for a “Top Ten” list as I can’t really say I have ten changes or even necessarily five. But this is something worth talking about. So let’s chart some of my reading territory!
Beware, though: Here be dragons. (I’m sorry, I had to.)
Top Changes To My Reading Habits
Let’s start this story around 2004 because I totally explains why I am the way I am.
#1) Picture me as a dorky 7th grader. My school library contained just as many adult books as children’s books, from classics to current fiction. I was told from the time I was in elementary school that I had an advanced reading level and I needed to push myself. (Anyone else do AR in school? Hey-o.)
For that reason, I actually started a lot of my reading career with three authors: Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, and V.C. Andrews.
Oh yeah. At 13, I’m reading about dudes murdering people and cutting up their bodies to hide them in freezers or mothers who are so twisted they pretend the female twin is actually the male twin and freak out when she acts like a girl. Those are actual plots of two of the books I remember.
Kind of explains a lot, doesn’t it? It was even worse, looking back, when I did a book report to the class on Flowers in the Attic while every other kid was doing something like Redwall.
Let’s jump ahead a few years.
#2) The year is now 2009. I’m a senior in high school and it’s common knowledge between my friends, classmates, and teachers, that I’m going to be reading a different book in two days. I got through them really fast. And I loved books that were bizarre and had shock value with their covers. (Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi) It was an easy conversation starter, if someone saw my cover. I was more than happy to talk to them about the book, but I was still awkward and had trouble with small talk with people I didn’t know well.
My tastes at this time were decidedly YA. I’m not sure when that became the case, but I slowly eased away from the murder mysteries I’d grown up with. (And V.C. Andrews eventually became just too weird. I have not regretted walking away from that.)
I actually started Goodreads in the summer of 2008, so I can actually track what I was reading from that point forward. In 2009, my favorite books involved Fae, fairytales, magic, and LOTS of vampires. OMG, so many vampires. (It was the age of Vampire Academy, Twilight, and Evernight, to name a few.) I do still enjoy the occasional vampire story, but I’m also not exactly mad that craze is over.
Let’s bounce ahead another say, 3-4 years.
#3) In 2013, I was two years into this blog. (I know, right? Holy Toledo, Batman, it’s been almost 9 years as of right now!) Around this time, I was starting to get my first author requests to read indie books. It was an exciting time, but since I said “yes” to pretty much everything that came my way, I ended up finding out very quickly which ones I should start saying “no” to. The vampire craze was over by this time and yet I was still saying yes to vampire books. And they were pretty creepy by this point as they tried to stay unique.
At this point, zombies and spirits were in high demand. I loved ghost love stories like Hereafter and zombie love stories like Die For Me. But I was also branching out a little more toward YA contemporary romance. Not that I hadn’t read them before, but they were starting to become a little more prevalent. I was near the end of my college career at this point with a boyfriend, so my reading time was limited. And yeah, the whole “boyfriend” thing may have played a role into how many love stories I was reading.
#4) In 2015, I read the most books I’ve ever read in a single year at 174. And that’s not counting rereads, which Goodreads didn’t track at the time. I was also at the end of my first year of teaching/beginning my second during this year and I think I read so much to retain my sanity. I didn’t know what I was doing as a teacher yet, but reading? I knew how to do that–and do it well.
I was still reading a lot of YA love stories, like anything by Kasie West or Sarah Ockler, but this was also the year I discovered Outlander. Yes, I read every single one of the Outlander books that year and still managed to read 174 books overall. I literally don’t know how I did it, except that I read those Outlander books in about 3-4 days each because I couldn’t put them down.
And with that, there is a shift beginning. I started discovering a love for historical romances around this time. Sarah MacLean was my gateway author there.
#5) Now, getting up to 2018-2019, I’m noticing a lot of higher-concept books. They have to have an interesting plot, not just be whatever’s popular to get me to read them. Like This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes, about a girl dealing with the aftermath of a car crash that put her in a coma and killed her boyfriend. Or The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand, a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol with a twist.
But I’m also still reading a lot of historical romances. I find I’m drawn to that genre for the same reasons I like YA: it’s a genre predominately written by women with delightful female heroines going through realistic issues. I’m at the point right now where I can only stand to watch the news maybe twice a week. But romances make me happy. They’re fun but real and don’t get the recognition they deserve as a genre. Rarely do I find a poorly written historical romance.
So when I go a little while without posting a new review, it’s probably that I’m reading a historical romance rather than YA. I try to alternate them because there are still so many YA books I want to read and it’s still my home-base, but there’s an excitement now to fully explore this other genre too.
I think that about covers it! So maybe it does kind of work as a list. Who knew? Though admittedly it’s more like a timeline, but I think that makes it better.