This past year has been quite a change of pace for me, reading-wise. I’ve always enjoyed reading; trips to the library are one of my fondest memories of the period before my parents’ divorce, before we moved half way across the country and blah, blah, blah. Long story short this caused a lot of changes, but reading remained central to my life.
I’ve written about this before, but in my teens I decided at some point that I would read only classics or books that were award/best of the year-worthy. While this sounds great and like I would be a very well-read person, after 14-ish years of sticking to those principles I became very tired of restricting myself to certain sections of the bookstore, and reading nothing but what amounted to literary fiction for more than half my life.
This past year I started branching out in what I would read, meaning I read books that were published this year (which I hardly ever did before), I read fantasy, I read YA, and I even read a graphic novel or two. I discovered that I actually enjoy fantasy and graphic novels, though I am very torn on the whole YA thing, both in its quality (very hit-or-miss) and in its designation. I mean, what is it, even, why do some things get called YA (Uprooted) and others don’t (All the Light We Cannot See) even though they both have teenaged main characters? However, I don’t think that any other genre is any more or less hit-or-miss when it comes to quality, so perhaps my inner book snob is just making excuses for why I wouldn’t make a blanket statement of approval for the genre.
While I’ve been branching out in what I read I am still retaining a sense that my time is limited, that I should stick to the style of books that I have always loved. In fact, I recently found myself thinking that I should re-read The House of Mirth because I feel that I need to remind myself of what I love, of what incredibly beautiful writing looks like. I’ve never thought this before, but I feel like it will reset my reading, set me back at zero in a way. A palate cleanser.
Has anyone else felt that way?
It’s not that Edith Wharton is objective or neutral or anything like that, but in returning to one of my top five favorite books of all time, I will be reminding myself of who I am as a reader and perhaps stop myself from wandering down some path of “oh shiny book!” and wasting my time with books that I never would have even considered reading 5 years ago.
Clearly I am on break from school now because this sort of thing should not take that much thought.
I have read a total of 68 books this year (at the time of this writing – I’d love to make it a round number but I only have a couple of days left in the year). My goal was 50, which was raised a few times from something like 30. Evidently, my habits changed and I surprised myself this year. I don’t see my momentum slowing down any time soon so I think I am going to set my goal pretty high for 2016, participate in Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge, and probably have to buy more bookshelves.
I’ll be making some posts about 2016 reading plans soon, but in the meantime I was curious – has anyone else suddenly found their reading habits and tastes have changed after feeling like they were established?