A conversation Jim and I were having got me thinking about literary phases: he mentioned how much nonfiction he’d been reading lately, and it made me think how little nonfiction I’ve been reading lately. Last year, my personal reading was all about YA—sure, I read other things, but the list was disproportionately skewed toward realistic fiction for teens. On thinking about this, I’ve realized that I don’t so much have broad personal reading interests, but rotating interests. Thinking back, in college I read every chick lit book there was till I came across one I couldn’t finish, and then I started in on literary Brit lit of the 80s and 90s. But when I went one Amis novel too far, I switched off to lengthy magazine articles and didn’t pick up a book till I came across something impenetrable there. This is apparently my reading personality, and it’s not unlike the way I consume music, television, and movies. (I have a terrible habit of first seeing an actor whose work I enjoy and then watching their entire IMDB page in a short span of time, till I can’t stand to see their face. Let me tell you, there are precious few actors whose output is always worth seeing.) And it’s likewise true of genres, but there’s no call for turning my back (temporarily) every time I’m disappointed. Intellectually I know that my love or hate for one book has no bearing on its competitor, but apparently when it comes to something as ethereal as what I’m in the mood for, an exciting novel or dreary tome dictates what will come next. Now that I realize this, I wonder if I can counterprogram it—try to let that love spill and enthusiasm over into a new genre, or push forward in one in which I’m under-read despite what came before.
So I think I need to get some more narrative nonfiction on my to do read pile, and maybe I should spice things up with a thriller or two. Any suggestions?