Thursday, June 05, 2008


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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?

My first impulse was to say yes, my tastes have changed considerably over the years, but then my eyes fell on a book that I checked out from the public library over the weekend--Charlotte Bacon's Split Estate, which has a gorgeous photo of a grey horse on the front cover--and now I'm not so sure if I'm anything more than a grown-up version of the child-reader I once was.

I lived and breathed horse books throughout my childhood, preferred the Trixie Beldens to the Nancy Drews because the characters were much more fully developed and enjoyable all the while knowing I didn't really care one way or the other about the actual solving of mysteries, and, although I wasn't exposed to more than a handful of classics before I was a teenager, took to the type of book studied in English class like a duck to water. I took an intro to fiction class my freshman year of college that focused on contemporary literary fiction (the Anne Tyler and Margaret Drabble I read there still count as all-time favorites) and contemporary literary fiction has remained my default setting ever since.

Ways I've changed: I read a lot of Zane Grey, Alistair MacLean, Emilie Loring and Grace Livingstone Hill when I was an early adolescent because that was what the relatives foisted onto me; other than an interest in reading the Zane Grey that's set in Torey, Utah, at some point, I can't see ever returning to these authors. I read a lot of science fiction when I was right out of college; I have no interest in returning to the planet of Pern although I did give dragons a try a couple years back with Naomi Novik and I read far more Animorphs books with S. than I ought to admit to, so I haven't completely turned my back on that type of thing. I was slow to warm to Jane Austen--I thought those characters lived awfully tedious little lives the first few times I tried them--and now I like her quite a bit.

Booking Through Thursday


  1. Anonymous9:23 AM

    I chuckled when you mentioned your horsemania as a young reader. I had that too, and now my daughter -- still at the read-aloud stage -- does too. So I'm revisiting that territory.

    Lots of familiar names here, and some new ones. Thanks for the response.

  2. Neither of my kids went through a horse stage. I don't understand how that happened.

  3. Anonymous1:37 PM

    I went through a weird CLUE book phase. Then a sneak-into-my-moms-collection phase. I discovered the Earth Children's series by Jean Auel. Still one of my all-time favorites.

  4. I had the same sort of experience with Jane Austen. When I read P&P in high school, Lizzie and Mr. Darcy bored me to tears. But recently I've become a real Austen enthusiast. I guess I just needed to grow up a little.

  5. I remember seeing rows and rows of well-worn books by Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill at the library...are they romance, or what?

  6. Romance. Very mild little romances. I don't remember much about them except for preferring the Loring to the Hill--not near as Christian-y.

  7. My trends are still forming! Still, I return to old trends, including re-reading those childhood favorites.

    Just wondering about The Philosopher's Apprentice. Did you finish? Did you enjoy it? I've about decided I'm never going to just doesn't call me back for that last little section. I really enjoyed the first part, but then I found myself less and less interested.

  8. Sorry, Jenclair, I'm so behind in my reviews.

    I read it fast and enjoyed it as a quick read, but for a book supposedly about philosophy, it was slick and shallow. Don't worry about not finishing it. (Do read his The Last Witchfinder if you haven't already--it's heads and shoulders better than this one.)

  9. Thanks for helping me avoid the guilt of abandonment! I knew I wasn't going to spare any more time on this one, but had a little guilt hangover.

    Reviews are much less fun than reading, aren't they?


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