Evolving Tastes in Reading Material
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I can answer both yes and no. I've preferred thrillers/mysteries as far back as I can remember, even before I began the Nancy Drew books, and I still love thrillers/mysteries. But I can remember for years that's pretty much all I would read. My mother took us to the library every other week, and I would walk directly to the juvenile mystery shelves. I probably read all of them. :-) Probably when I was 12 or so I started reading more than that.
When I was s teenager a lot of the books I read were about girls my age and their boyfriends. I hate that type of book now and any type of romance novel.
I have been predominantly a science fiction reader since around the age of 10. We had few books at home and when I had to bike to a new junior school I joined the public library (Hellesdon, Norwich, UK) which was on my school route. After the nice librarian gave me a ticket for the main library, not the children's one, I started reading Gollancz's (the publisher) yellow-backed SF. From these I found other SF publishers and started an author list from blurbs on books listing other authors (which is now on LT on my profile).
I have read more than my fair share of contemporary fiction and the classics but I still like SF best - as my LT page will show :-)
Anyway! I think that the overall quality of the books I read as far as writing and depth of story and characters has improved. (I hope).
You may be interested in the Neglected books page if you are looking for overlooked books of the past.
Some of his books are better than others (I love Connagher, which they made into a movie), but I've enjoyed almost every one I've read. They're stories, about people and situations, not like I had envisioned before I started reading them.
Try L'Amour, you might like him.
As a child, I read animal books almost exclusively: The Jungle Books, Silver Chief, Big Red, Misty of Chincoteague, and The Black Stallion books, just to name a few. I devoured any book that had animals in it, even those books that were supposedly too hard for me to read (I was reading Jack London at age 9).
Then I made the switch to SciFi/Fantasy, starting with the Narnia series, continuing with Middle Earth, and then reading almost anything on the shelves of the library. I read all the books by Katherine Kurtz on the 'Deryni'.
As a 20 something, I went back and read the classics I'd not read before, such as books by Dickens.
By my 30s, I was big into fantasy books and comics, reading almost every book written by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey. That's when I also discovered C J Cherryh and Andre Norton.
It was also during this decade that I discovered Louis L'Amour, and read almost every western he wrote (about 100).
But about ten years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of non-fiction, and began to read all sorts of tomes about just about any subject. I became interested in the Bible, and proceeded to not only read it, but to read books about it, commentaries and the like.
And then, I discovered mysteries a couple years ago, reading the first dozen of Lillian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who... series, and Kaminsky's books about police detectives in the Soviet Union. I burned through that series as well.
So, at the ripe age of 51, what do I like and what don't I like?
I'm not much for fantasy anymore, although I'll still dip into McCaffrey and Lackey on occasion. Most of what I read in my youth is really not to my taste anymore. C J Cherryh remains my favorite SciFi/Fantasy author, and I still reread her works every year.
I bought the Silver Chief books earlier this year, and thoroughly enjoyed rereading them. I have a few copies of Jim Kjelgaard's works too, that I have not outgrown.
I have become a Jane Austen fan, and am working through those books of hers that I have not yet read (I also reread the ones I have read!).
I still reread westerns by Louis L'Amour.
And I'm still partial to non-fiction, especially as it concerns Christianity and the Bible.
But many books that I loved in the past just don't do anything for me, anymore. Upon rereading them, I have given up after a chapter or two...the Deryni books by Katherine Kurtz were that way for me.
Oh well, there's still many MANY books waiting to be read...for the first time!
Conagher is probably my favorite too. And Flint. And The Sackett Brand. And...
And for me, it all started with Jubal Sackett...
What appeals to most people (I think) is his easy writing style and the good /bad guys are not so easiy to tell apart somrtimes.
Speaking of Larry McMurtry, I don't like most of his westerns. But I do enjoy his "modern" books; Texasville, The last Picture Show, Moving On, Cadillac Jack, Desert Rose etc.
I was always in the public library as a child, but I was terrible about returning the books on time. One year I went to summer camp and forgot about my library books. My mother wrote to me to ask "Where are your library books?" Ha!
I re-read Brave New World last year and wondered why I ever thought it so profound; at 57 I was more than a little unimpressed with his writing style - if he had one. I just re-read Willa Cather's "Alexander's Bridge," savoring every word and gaining a deeper appreciation for her work. An old friend introduced me to Sue Grafton, and I have read her Kinsey Milhone series up to " V is for Vengeance." I was driving from LA to SF 2 or 3 times a month and found that books on tape, mainly mysteries, kept me alert, so my reading wandered over in the mystery section. I've exhausted Tony Hillerman and have found no-one else writing that type of fiction to hold my interest, including something about "Grandmother Spider" - stupid and ho hum bor dum. I am loving Michael Connelly, am angry that Brad Geagley has not continued with his writing and I am still dabbling in Egyptian historical fiction detective stories - but not finding much that I really like so far. Sermons in Stone was an answered prayer to learn about my native New England stone walls. I am reading mostly fiction, I love mysteries especially of Los Angeles. I love Henry Nouwen's writing, I read AA recovery books on occasion, a little actual American history and sometimes I'll read a howtobeabettersalesman book. I am much more open to reading books that I would never have read when I was younger AND I am much more apt to not finish a book today if it is boring my barnacles off; as in "Forgotten Patriots" - it started out so promising and then there was page two. Also, I've noticed that I am always reading a book; I love that part. In fact, I wander around LT looking for people's reviews about books to expand my reading into other areas.
ETA - I love hearing about how other readers have developed their reading styles! :)