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?

5 Responses to Phases

  1. Joelle says:

    When I was first trying to get over that hump of “almost but not quite” with my writing, I set about reading only YA (and some MG) for almost three years. It was great, but over the last couple of years, I’ve expanded a lot and now probably half my reading is adult – both fiction and nonfiction. Lately, as I’ve been struggling a bit with book number five (really number ten, but the first five don’t count!), I’m wondering if maybe I should drop some of this adult reading for a while and go back to only YA. But honestly, so much of the YA out there doens’t interest me now…at least what’s on my library shelves (tons of fantasy, paranormal, and gritty), so I guess that’s what’s pushed me toward adult, too.

    Like you do with books, I do with food…I eat the same snack every day until I can’t stand the thought of it and then move on to a different one!

    I know you’re looking for something besides contemporary YA, but have you read THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST? It’s so good!

    For a totally different recommendation from YA, have you tried Canadaian writer Louise Penny? She writes a literary mystery series. I’ve only read the first one, but many Canadians have read the whole series and can’t wait for the next.

  2. D. C. DaCosta says:

    If you read a lot of the same genre in a short period of time, doesn’t it all become formulaic?

    It seems to me that one would become increasingly critical of the underlying structure of the story and the cliches and conventions of the genre.

  3. chat says:

    enjoyed watching this funny video with asdas

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