Once upon time, I was a straight-out, epic fantasy girl. I’d take the occasional vampire story but my recreational books needed to fall strictly within a certain category – fantasy. Give me magic users and dragons and the chosen one and I would lose myself in the incredible world building.
And all of that is great, by the way? I still love fantasy with all my heart and soul and I read it so often. But I have grown as a reader over the last several years. I read more things, and in different ways….
1.) I read contemporary.
One of my biggest struggles when getting out of my fantasy forever groove was trying to read more contemporary novels. The reason for this was purely escapism – if I’m reading to indulge in a world I find more interesting than our own, how could reading a book set exclusively in the real world help with that?
Largely, I think my expectations for contemporary books was that their content would be something between Hallmark movies and reality TV. And, yes, while that is sometimes the case, it is not always true. I’ve found many wonderful contemporaries over the last couple years since I’ve started including them in my repertoire, and they are amazing for helping me get out of reading slumps and diversifying my library.
2.) I read more audiobooks than regular books.
More and more lately, I find that I am busy. Whether it is packing up my house (ugh, twice this year) or working overtime or even just feeling exhausted and wanting to rest my eyes… I have had a really difficult time picking up physical books.
My love affair with audiobooks started with The Hunger Games in 2014 and I’ve been hooked ever since. But what I’m finding this year in particular is that I am reaching for audiobooks more often than I’ll pick up a physical novel. I absolutely love the multitasking ability this gives me, because I always feel like I’m stretched for time.
3.) I’ve accepted I sometimes must read ebooks.
I’m still not a fan of ebooks?
I appreciate the ability they give to own dozens of wonderful books and I love that they are an option. I love that they give the ability to adjust the size of text to make the works more accessible to other readers. And I do honestly love the fact that you can carry a library in your pocket. But for myself, they are still not my medium of choice.
That said, they are the best way to get ARCs, and I accept that I will read them if I want a specific ARC.
While the formatting is often a nightmare (I have an ARC right now that’s formatted so badly that instead of ( ) spaces there are (#) hashtags), they are the easiest method of distribution for the publishing houses. And it’s also a bit nice not to have to figure out what I can legally do with the copy once I’ve read it, especially if it’s not a hyped book and if I didn’t particularly enjoy it.
4.) I have less patience for long series.
When I was in high school, I’d gobble up long series like nobody’s business. I think a lot of that had to do with how little I had read in comparison to the present. Series like Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and the Dark Tower – all 7 to 8 books long – were my love.
These days, it takes me forever to get to the sequel. I have so so so much I want to read, so I don’t allow myself to binge read even the series I’m liking. For books I love, the anticipation of the sequel is still there, but I don’t ride the hype train like I used to.
There’s also so many spinoff series these days within same worlds and while yes I really enjoy that those exist, sometimes it just feels like too much. Sometimes I wonder… would I have gotten through these older (and now beloved) series if they were just coming out now?
5.) Not all romance is bad.
Historically, so many of my reviews and even some of my more themed blog posts complain about romance. It’s been such a thorn in my side as a reader and I have always been annoyed by the big sweeping love stories.
More recently, I’ve been thinking about that stance, and it’s not true. I don’t have a thing against romance per se. There are some incredible books out there that I really enjoy that are hugely and notoriously romantic. Yes, The Princess Bride, I’m looking at you.
More recently, my stance has been that romance is fine. But romance that overrides an action plot is not okay. I think I just get a bit frustrated when there are battle scenes and the lovers get into something. Or if something is marketed as a thrilling adventure, but then one of the characters gives up all their power and potential for a brooding hero (hate brooding heroes).
And honestly, some of this has been marketing, I think. But there are also times where romance sticks out like a sore thumb.
I’ll have a whole post on my issues about this someday. XD
6.) I no longer “buddy read” with my husband (and I miss it).
When we moved up north in 2016, our work commute got a lot longer. For me, audiobooks were really a saving grace in both keeping me awake on the long daily commute, and keeping me sane. On the days my husband was in the office as well, we’d have a buddy read going on.
I loved this. It allowed me to share many of my favorite books with my favorite person.
Since moving back closer to work earlier this year, our commute has decreased by about 80%. Which is awesome. I feel so much more alive at the end of the day. But I do miss sharing these books with him. The long drive forced him past the hump that has him quitting a lot of books I recommend (I still often point out how he ended up really liking The Golden Compass). I’d like to figure out a way we can do this together again – maybe for a long journey sometime. But I do miss the regular feature.
7.) The allure of “special” books has worn off.
In my early years of book boxes and specifically OwlCrate, I loved the special edition covers. I think the first one I received was The Hearts We Sold and that subtle change on the artwork made it feel so special. I was already aware that there were beautiful cover alternatives out there for different language editions of books, different printings, and hardback vs. paperback.
But I think it’s getting a little ridiculous.
I’ve seen about six versions of the UK cover of The Starless Sea. Five book boxes will come out with five different covers of a popular book. There there are all the expensive dust jackets printed to size for certain editions so that the spines create a continuous image.
It’s extra and I guess I’m happy for y’all who enjoy having many many editions of the same book.. but my library isn’t Pokémon and I don’t feel the need to catch them all.
How has your approach to books and reading changed over the years? I almost feel like each of my seven items could be a blog post in themselves! I’d love to hear about your evolving habits – tell me all about them in the comments!