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Booking Thru Thursday, On Friday: Reading Trends

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Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

Being a spontaneous and eccentric person that I am, other than my daily routine dictated by work, I do not abide any patterns. The purpose of my reading, when I was a little boy, rooted in the need for killing time, since my asthma confined me indoor. Story books, children’s magazines, and eventually encyclopedia on Japanese trains dominated my spare time. I began to read for knowledge and information, broadening the narrow scope of a failing education system that forced students to learn by rote memorization. Between high school and college I made that significant transition from non-fiction to fiction and literature. I began to dig the classics: Dostoevsky, Dickens, E.M. Forster, Baldwin, Eliot. I could be on a roll of an author or a subject if I’m piqued. A few years ago I read nothing but Tibet for the entire summer, including Dalai Lama’s writings and Seven Years in Tibet, the true story of Heinrich Harrer. Friends who entertain the public image of my being a literary buff and snob think I’m going out of my mind reading The Devil Wears Prada. Words spread out to as far as the department office that I was reading it! So no trends but I do have my inventory of favorite books and authors to which I am loyal and which I frequently re-read. I do have a penchant for historical fiction and novels with a lot of prose. Look for my all-time favorites on the left side-bar of this blog. Recently I haven’t read anything of my own choosing. I’ve taken up books recommended to me by bloggers, friends, and cafe regulars. They all seem to be reliable sources of reading ideas. Straight off the bat I do not read science fiction and romance, or anything new age and metaphysical.

9 Responses

  1. Honestly I still have not found a book that could make me weep the way that Toni Morrison’s books can. I was a Junior in high school when I first read Song of Solomon and now at 33 still hold this as the all time best. Beloved a running second. Her words are just sooo rich. After I read your blog I thought we might have the same reading interests. I am not fond of romance, science fiction, new age or metaphysical either, but then I checked out your list and I have only read A Separate Peace. I read it in the 10 or 11 grade and remember it as pretty good. The books I would recommend that I have read this year are: The Glass Castle, Emma & Me, and The Shipping News. Maybe I’ll try Anna Karrenina next.

  2. I don’t know……I think there may be some trends in your reading list…..

    I looked back at the reading list I kept while in high school, 25 years ago, and found that I read far more classic literature than I’d remembered.

    I’ve tagged you at

    http://readywhenyouarecb.blogspot.com/2008/06/tag-im-it-favorite-authors.html

    Please feel free to skip it if you do not like tags

  3. I seem to be liking the darker stuff–and I seem to be revisiting books that I read as a student, especially those which had their darker moments–or other books by those authors which were explored in required course work. My instructors then opined that the great classics and the great writers should be revisited as one goes through the various stages of life, that in one’s maturity, one’s view of the classics read in the time of youth would deepen and be tinged by experience. I have to affirm that this has certainly been true for me, plus now I’m just reading for my own purposes and not in view of questions which are likely be asked on exams, though of course, those had a legitimate purpose. I might not have finished the work in some cases without that stick being brandished to keep me at task and responsible for content. Those were very important experiences for me, and while I found myself struggling, puzzled and even resentful at times, I now very much treasure the legacy which was passed to me and which I came, over time, to love.

  4. Interesting post. I’m Late this week but the topic prompted a reflective account on the issues

  5. booklovr:
    All three of your recommendations are added to my list. 😉 I didn’t read A Separate Peace until I was in college, and I didn’t read it for a class. It was one of my favorite reads. A note of interest is that the review of A Separate Peace is the most viewed post of my blog! Search of the book in major search engines direct to my review. It’s very cool!

  6. C.B. James:
    I have read a lot of classics literature until I finished college and began to read modern authors. I’m making some progress in achieving the balance between non0living and living authors. 😉

    I’ll get to the meme tomorrow. Thanks for tagging me.

  7. Greg S:
    I maintain a list of classics and favorite novels (could be the ones with great style and prose, could be ones that transform me at various walks of my life) that I would re-read every year. Classics carry a heavy weight on this list. What makes them classics are their inspiring power, breathing new meanings and nuances toward my outlook in life.

  8. John:
    I was just wondering where your entry was to this question! 😉

  9. C.B. James:
    I just realized I had done this meme on June 4. I attach the link on your post. 🙂

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