BBT ~ Evolving Tastes in Books

June 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Books, Gothic Fiction, Guilty Pleasure, Historical Fiction, LIfe, My Life with Books, Reading | 15 Comments
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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?

Since I started this blog at the beginning of 2007, the biggest change I’ve noticed in my taste has been my almost glutenous love for historical fiction. That discovery has really taken me by surprise. Barnes and Noble featured Philippa Gregory and The Boleyn Inheritence in their book club. On a whim, I ordered the The Other Boleyn Girl and the rest is history (pun only intended if it doesn’t offend). Thinking back on that, I can’t believe that I didn’t look into that earlier on my own. I’ve always loved history and Gone with the Wind is my favorite novel. It would be a no brainer if I had known that there was a historical fiction category.

In general, I’ve always preferred to read books that challenge me and those tend to be on the more serious side. For example, I read Crime and Punishment on my own in college after finding out, much to my disappointment, that it wasn’t a requirement in my college curriculum. Still, I’ve discovered that I enjoy reading memoirs and have come to enjoy reading books I would catergorize as guilty pleasures. I’ve definitely grown in my ability to admit to those guilty pleasures. Sometimes you need to just let your mind play and Janet Evanovich comes in quite handy in that regard.

One thing that hasn’t changed is how much I enjoy Gothic fiction. I might not read it all of the time or have the same compulsion to read it as I do with Historical Fiction, but I immediately feel at home when reading Edgar Allen Poe, Daphne du Maurier, Charlotte Bronte, and Patrick McGrath. When I get the bug to actually write on my own, I find my work to fit in that category. I’ve never been able to write anything else. If I ever do write that novel, I could only hope that my work would be compared to any of those authors.

The great thing about reading is that you are free to evolve in any way your fancy takes you. Where else in your life do you have that freedom?


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  1. have you read the rashi’s daughters series? it’s historical fiction set in france in the middle ages, about a talmudic scholar and his unusually well-educated daughters. it’s really good. πŸ™‚

  2. One thing, I’ve learned that like you with your love of Gothic fiction, I also continue to love mysteries. I think some genres will always stay with us, no matter how old we are.

    My reading blog: Just A (Reading) Fool.

  3. I love gothic fiction, too – “Rebecca” was one of my earliest favorites and I still go back and re-read it from time to time. Also the novels by Joan Aiken, even though they’re really supposed to be for children. Yes, guilty pleasures, indeed. These days, I read practically nothing but “guilty pleasures.”

  4. You’re so right about the freedom to evolve with reading…makes me think I should be branching out more πŸ™‚

    Great post!

  5. I love that you were disappointed about not having to read “Crime and Punishment.” That is hilarious!

  6. Thanks to all who have commented. My daughter graduates from Pre-K tonight. I’ll respond and visit everyone’s sites tonight. Love ya all!

  7. Fun! Have a fantastic time. Tell her congratulations from me!

  8. I haven’t read Rashi’s Daughters series. I’m going to add it to my TBR list for sure. It sounds really interesting. I haven’t read much from the Middle Ages yet. I’ll have to look up Joan Aiken, too.

    One thing I’ve not really ever read before are mysteries. I need to at least try one.

    Can you believe that a curriculum including a Russian Lit elective would not contain Crime and Punishment????? It was sadly the case. That’s one novel I’ll have to reread again soon.

  9. Paranormal fiction is about ghosts, spirits, werewolves, etc etc. Now add lots of sex to it. That is what is paranormal erotic stuff. I read only one book of that genre and was put off forever.

    I am yet to read Crime nd Punsihment. A shame, I think!

  10. I remember staying up late in high school to read “Rebecca”. I couldn’t put it down. I’ve recently acquired “Frenchman’s Creek” (I think that’s the title) but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Do you have a favorite Du Maurier book?

  11. I just discovered your blog and I love it! I will come back to it later today when I have more time, after I hit the local farmers’ market for some fresh veggies.
    I am currently reading Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer. It’s a little tough getting through all the primary source quotes, but worth it.

  12. Welcome, Kathy! I’m so glad you found me. I hope that you continue to enjoy it. Please let me know what you think of Shakespeare’s Wife when you’re finished. It’s on my list.

    gautami, paranormal erotica sounds horrible, almost criminal. Thanks for filling me in on that! I’m almost sorry I even asked.

    keg, I also have Frenchman’s Creek. Maybe we can read that one together? Rebecca is the only other Du Maurier book I’ve read, but it is wonderful.

  13. Have you ever read the Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. I believe she is the mother of the gothic genre. Its awesome. I reviewed on my blog a while back if you’d care to take a look.

  14. Sure πŸ™‚ Lol, also the day after I wrote this I was at a library sale and grabbed two more Du Maurier books… I can’t remember the titles at the moment but I’ll let you know how they are.

  15. Ooh, I’ve got a ton of historicals for you. I really like the genre, too. There are India Edghill’s most excellent two books, of course (Queenmaker and Wisdom’s Daughter). And if you like vamps with your Victorian clothes, Colleen Gleason has written a fantastic series, the Gardella Vampires. And… and…

    I’ll shut up now. Really. There’s a ton out there. Go check it out!

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