Monday, October 8, 2012

Change of Times, Change of Tastes

It’s funny how things change within a lifetime.  No, I’m not talking about my hair color.  Although, my hair colorist does amazing work and I keep her quite busy.  No, what I’m referring to is how I once found certain things important, I no longer value; or what I originally believed to be boring, I actually find exciting.  Sound familiar?  So, I guess it’s more accurate to say my perception of things change over time.
Well, let me start with the example of seasons.  I remember how I loved the summer time.  It was my favorite season of the year.  When I thought about it, I realized my infatuation with summer came from school being out of session.  Now, my favorite season is most definitely, fall.  I despise the heat and humidity from the summer time.  I love the leaves changing colors during the fall season.  Watching football is a plus as well. But the thing I love most about the fall…cooler weather.  I much rather wear layers of clothes and have the luxury of taking something off or putting it back on in case I get too hot or too cold.  When it’s the summer time, you’re pretty much stuck with taking clothes off to a certain point unless you want to get arrested. If you’re a nudist, I guess taking more clothes off isn't a concern for you; however, I am not a nudist and don’t plan to be either.  With that being said, I really don’t want to spend my summer vacation in a nasty jail cell with other hot, sweaty people because I over heated and stripped down.  No, not happening and I’m sure you all are silently thanking me as well. 
Anyway, what I’m trying to convey is how our likes and dislikes change over time.  Our reading tastes may change along with other things in our lives, too.   At one time, inspirational stories bored me to tears.  Yet now, they offer encouragement when I need it most. 

When I was a child, I loved reading Dr. Seuss and Nancy Drew.  As I grew up, my love my books and reading matured along with my reading material.

When I was a young teenager, I remember reading the young teenage romances from Sweet Dreams and First Love from Silhouette lines. I believe those were my first dose of romance.  Later on, I learned to appreciate the classics such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘The Scarlet Letter’, and ‘Dracula’.

During my late teen years and early twenties, I focused more on my social life than any recreational reading.  Sadly, the only time placed on reading was within the academic field.  I put aside any reading for fun and relaxation for almost five years.  Then one day, I picked up Susan Johnson’s, ‘Golden Paradise’.  It sparked a deep desire within me for romance again. 

Now, it seems I read depending on my mood as well as my taste.  For example: During this time of the year, with the cooler weather and earlier sun set, I love reading fantasy, paranormal, and epic tales more than other stories.  When I read stories such as ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, and ‘Black Dagger Brotherhood Series’, they definitely set the stage for me on a dreary fall’s day.

As the time gets closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I tend to reach more for holiday ‘feel good’ romances or general fiction.  One of my favorites is John Grisham’s ‘Skipping Christmas’.  Each time I read it I double over from laughing so hard.  Another favorite is Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

I mentioned earlier about Dr. Seuss and Nancy Drew.  Although they were childhood favorites, at times when I am feeling nostalgic I find myself going back in my collection to read one of those.  That’s one of my favorite aspects about books.  No matter when or where I’ve read it, I have the opportunity to enjoy the story repeatedly if I so desire. 

So how has your reading tastes changed over the years?  Does your mood determine your reading choices?  I love to hear if and when your taste in book genres change. 


  1. My reading tastes did change over the years. I loved Nancy Drew as a child, but at twelve I fell in love historical romances and still have a passion for it. Although I read contemporary romance, I still prefer historicals.

    Mood definately affects what I read. I find it difficult to read something dark when I'm in a happy mood and something cheerful when I'm upset.

    As a teenager I wrote my best stuff when I was angry or upset, but as I got older I found it difficult to write when I was upset or angry. Since starting to write romantic suspense I'm hoping to channel some of the angry energy into my bad guys especially when writing the killing scenes. :-)

    Great post, JD. Got me thinking.

  2. J.D., what a great post and I completely agree. My reading taste has changed over the years and after college I was pretty much strickly reading historical romance novels and that is what I read for recreation through grad school too.

    About a year after finishing grad school, I missed reading classics and fantasy books. I focused my master's degree on YA literature, especially fantasy/fairy tale genres. Now, I am finding that I love to read fantasy again and miss reading classics too. So I have a mix of books in my TBR pile and grab whichever one best fits my mood, which is so nice.

  3. Good post, J.D. My tastes in reading have changed over the years, too, although the one constant throughout has been historicals. I first remember reading Fairy Tales, myths and folk tales from differnt cultures. Of course King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table figured prominenetly there :), as did Greek and Roman myths.

    In school I read most of the normal YA books of the time--Nancy Drew and others. I went through a period of SciFi (Bradbury, Heinlein, Asimov, etc.), mystery, westerns, Gothic, classics, 'modern literature' and, of course, all the stuff required in the English major in college (Faulkner is not on my bedside table.) But even during those other periods, I still read historicals. Straight heavy historicals, as well as historical romances.

    Oh, a story about the mysteries. When I was 12, my uncle married and gave me what I thought were all of his books, including a really great stash of westerns.

    One day, I found a box he'd left at my grandmother's. They were mysteries. Well, never having met I book I didn't like, I called to ask him if I could have them. Long pause before he said, "You'd better ask your Mom." Mom of course didn't know from mysteries, so she said yes. That was my introduction to Mickey Spillane and some of the "spicier" 'noir' books of the time. After I read the first one, I called him back and told him, "Now I know why you didn't want me to read these." It was his and my joke for years.

    Nowadays, those books are weak, indeed, compared to what's available for 12 year olds. But for me, then, they were eye-openers!!

    See what a good post you did? Opened up all kinds of reading memories. Thanks :)

  4. I think my tastes vary depending on what is going on in my life. Sometimes I enjoy poetry, sometimes I want a really steamy romance, while other times I want to expand my spirituality or learn something. I think it's important to be well-rounded in our reading tastes. I, too, enjoyed Nancy Drew growing up and Agatha Christie. Great post, JD!