Recently, I’ve been thinking of all the books I’ve read in my life … not that I can actually remember them all—or even a third. Specifically, I’ve thought of different categories of books and when I read them. While waiting for my first son to be born I read the likes of Updike, Angelou, and Bradbury. By the time my second son was born, less than two years after the first, I used my reading time mostly to escape with Holt, du Maurier, and Clark.
Fast forward a few years and two more sons. As I recall, at that time, my tastes in reading seemed to fall mainly in two categories: horror and humor. Hello, King and Bombeck. This probably makes perfect sense to any mothers reading this.
By that time, I was also heavily involved in the church and that’s when non-fiction began to outweigh fiction. For the next 20+ years, I read far less fiction. Oddly—or maybe not—my fiction choices during that time were almost exclusively horror. I ended that period with two large bookcases, one filled with religious books and the other with King, Straub, Rice, Harris, and non-fiction books on the supernatural.
Then, my sons were grown and I rediscovered fiction. I eased in with Auel, Binchy, Gabaldon and then, I discovered my true love—Southern fiction—in the likes of Tyler, Reynolds, Smith, Walker. When one future daughter-in-law recommended I widen my reading scope, I discovered books most of you had probably read when they were on the bestsellers list: Marquez, Russo, Hijuelos, Proulx, McCullers, and short story collections by O’Connor and Munro. The floodgates open, it seems now I discover a new favorite fiction author every week.
How about you? Has your adult reading path meandered or or been straight and sure?
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19 thoughts on “How I read from there to here!”
Sounds like our reading interest changes just like our TV interest.
I go through phases. I’ll spend an entire year reading historical anything, then I’ll hate it for a year and only read new best sellers. I’m trying to step out of the box these days. I found this Irish author. Maggie O’Farrell, she’s next for me.
I think it’s only natural that our reading tastes fluctuate … not that I’m calling anyone whose doesn’t unnatural. Then again, I’ve been many different people in my life (so to speak) and I’ve just read what appealed to me in the place I was in at the time.
I’ve a few Irish authors on my shelves, Maeve Binchy, of course, Frank and Malachi McCourt, and Roddy Doyle … probably others, but I’m brain-dead tonight.
Our paths sound familair. My foray into the non-fiction world lasted about 10 years, though. The first 20 years of my life I had read hand-me-downs, so I never really came into my own until many years thereafter.
At least by reading others’ choices I got a well-rounded idea of what I really like. Which turns out is everything (except high fantasy and sci-fi).
Tricia, as you know, I don’t read those two either. But you’re currently much more widely read than I am. Now, I don’t want to read anything I wouldn’t want to write. I don’t care if it’s a book that’s been on the bestseller list for twenty years and everyone else in the world has read it. If it’s “not my thing”, I just can’t spare the time.
I love this post and seeing the pictures of your sons–then and now. One of the writers at Vermont College gave a lecture in January where he went through his whole reading life just like this. It was wonderful too. I’m going to have to sit down and try to remember mine. Your post will spur me on. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, wow, that makes me feel positively educated to know you heard a lecture similar to this at Vermont College. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and will probably revisit this with more insight in the future. I want to understand why I went from writing horror to literary, is it because my reading tastes changed or vice versa?
Btw, the second photo is not “now” … hence the “they’ll kill me.” 🙂 *sigh* I’m so old. 😦
I’ve read several of the books you’ve listed. I’m kind of weird though. I don’t particularly know how to analyze my reading habits. I know I do love many of the classics. I like to read books which are on the library book discussion group list. I like to read books that other readers mention. Mostly I like fiction, in fact primarily. I don’t like to read junk. I tend to read books which I sense have something
worthwhile to offer.
Presently, I’m listening to the audiobook, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, while I drive. I picked up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows today at the library. I just put down Tristram Shandy by Sterne after reading about a third of it. I decided the gems I was digging for were too few and far between to warrant the sore eyes from shoveling.
Pardon this rambling comment. It’s a mess but then that’s the way my brain is functioning today.
Your family is beautiful. Plop me in the middle of the four boys and you’ll have a pretty good idea of my growing up years.
Hey, Shaddy. I’ve seen your comments on other blogs and visit your blog from time to time. At this point in my life, there’s just not time to read anything I don’t enjoy. I have no qualms about putting down a book that doesn’t grab me. That’s usually why I check out a book from the library before I decide to buy it. I hate not to read a book, if I’ve paid good money for it.
I’m a little envious. I have no brothers and always felt I was at a disadvantage because of it.