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Has your Taste in Books changed over the Years?

(30 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Sun 16-Feb-14 22:03:46

I'm 44 and have become aware that the books I'm drawn to these days are very very different to the ones I read in my 20s and even 30s.

Back then I would read the likes of Milan Kundera, Nabokov, Ian McEwan, quite literary fare?

And the books I would have sniffed at, crime, thrillers, I'm really enjoying now.

Have I dumbed down in my mid-life literary crisis or am I now just less of a book snob?

Currently reading a Mark Haddon, which apparently, according to a writer friend, falls into the "accessible literature" category.

DuchessofMalfi Mon 17-Feb-14 08:27:42

Interesting thought, Bacon. I used to read a lot of classics as a teenager and into my 20s, interspersed with Agatha Christie and the such like. Then drifted into more chick-lit type books blush.

Now, in my 40s I'm becoming more focussed on reading better books, and slowly getting back into reading classics as well. I read an Ian McEwan novel for the first time last year, loved it, and am slowly working through his novels. But I'm also interspersing with crime novels/thrillers (my favourite genre smile)

My problem, I find, is I have become distracted by the bestseller lists, and novels that are sold cheaply in the supermarkets. I need to wean myself off them and get back into searching for quality books.

Aliama Mon 17-Feb-14 08:39:18

Yep, I used to love fantasy, but recently have been turning more to crime fiction. I still look at that section in libraries, but just find that nothing really appeals. Not sure if that's because my tastes have changed, or if its because publishing has changed, and they aren't publishing the same epic fantasy that they used to.

But then I have had the first book in the new Robin Hobb series on my kindle for ages (at least 2 years) and haven't started it yet, so I suspect it is me.

I'm also much more likely to give up on a book if I'm not enjoying it.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 17-Feb-14 11:27:35

I think my tastes have stayed fairly similar. I've always loved Victorian literature, not just reading the novels but also studying the subject as a whole (and did this for part of my degree). I still read a lot of fiction from that time, and of course many of these are re-reads - unfortunately Thomas Hardy, George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell aren't going to produce any more titles!

I also read a lot of more modern fiction, and try to explore new authors - at the moment I'm reading The Poisonwood Bible (see my thread smile as well as authors I've enjoyed in the past.

I don't feel the same compulsion to finish a book if I'm not enjoying it, and don't bother with things I know I'm unlikely to get anything from. However, a friend recently came up with the idea that every seventh book you read should be out of your comfort zone so perhaps I might even try a fantasy novel at some point....

GypsyJo Mon 17-Feb-14 14:38:45

As a teenager I read lots of horror - Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koonz etc.
Then in my 20s I got into classics, particularly Thomas Hardy.
Now I'm really into psychological contempory mystery stuff. It's funny how things change.

I have got even fussier, and much more impatient with bad writing. I read a lot more non-fiction than fiction now - and my tolerance for books by/about women has reduced substantially, for some reason. I've decided I like quite 'manly' books best, I guess - Captain Scott, manly expeditions into the unknown, battles etc.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Mon 17-Feb-14 16:40:37

Remus I agree. I used to be able to pick up something trashy for a train journey or whatever, but now find it impossible to read badly written rubbish.

NotCitrus Mon 17-Feb-14 17:07:26

I've found myself reading a lot more non-fiction since ds was born. Somehow I can cope with reading grim stuff if it really happened but can't stand stories with any emotional content at all. So I watch lots of documentaries and quiz shows and very little drama, see a film about once a year, and read lots of biographies and science books and some old-fashioned school stories and SF.

Some thrillers are ok but didn't like Reacher as it's basically gun porn and some torture scenes.

hackmum Mon 17-Feb-14 19:29:23

I read far more non-fiction than I used to - biographies, history books, that kind of thing.

And I rarely have "comfort reads" any more - there used to be half a dozen or so books I'd come back to time and time again, which I never do now. I feel quite sad about that, but these days I always have a long list of books I really want to read, and comfort reads would get in the way of that. It must be a sense of time running out. <gloomy>

I still read comfort books. Sometimes it's nice to know I'll enjoy something, when there's so much garbage out there!

misscph1973 Mon 17-Feb-14 20:15:25

Massively! I have a degree in literature, and I was very into contemporary poetry as well as fairly "difficult" novels.

I really can't be bothered to keep up with what's happening in current literature anymore. I feel like I have done my share. And I am not interested in older literature that I didn't manage to read at university.

These days I read mainly non-fiction (health, diet and parent's self help) and the odd crime novel. I am very disappointed by the selection at my local library, it's all "airport literature".

In the last 5 years only 2 novels really caught me:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exception-Christian-Jungersen/dp/0753821672/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392667982&sr=1-3&keywords=christian+jungersen

and Siri Hustvedts What I Loved. I can recommend both.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 20:19:02

My taste in books definitely got increasingly literary over the years. I'm reading much more non-fiction these days, probably because of Remus who got me reading This Thing Of Darkness smile

I used to read a lot of Stephen King, thrillers, and sci-fi. I still read sci-fi but select only the best wink

BaconAndAvocado Mon 17-Feb-14 20:23:00

Really interesting stuff.

The more I think about it, during my teens, I did used to read more trashy books: Jackie Collin, Virginia Andrews, Danielle Steele.

Although I'm not reading the high brow books these days, I don't think I could go back to La Collins et al.

Maybe in my dotage when my braincells are evaporating....

I live for the day that a box of previously undiscovered Jane Austen manuscripts is...erm...discovered.

I must re-read, 'This Thing of Darkness' Cote.

And King has a new one out in June, iirc. smile

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 20:34:04

You and me both, Remus. As soon as I'm don't with all the books already in my Kindle which might easily be never, at the rate I keep adding to them.

maillotjaune Mon 17-Feb-14 20:34:14

Always preferred modern literary fiction but no longer have the patience for magical stuff - I think back to all the Ben Okri and Garcia Marquez and wonder why I loved it, although I should probably try rereading something.

When I had babies I read a lot of crime - after DS3 coincided with the brilliant Swedish Wallander series I got into Scandi crime fiction but I haven't read any for a couple of years.I've also started reading more classics since having children. Still can't abide Dickens though however often I try but discovered a love of Henry James and Thackeray that surprised me having given up English after O level for fear of being forced to read that sort of thing grin

So it seems I have become a more nostalgic realist than when I was 20 which is about right I guess.

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 20:35:07

What will SK's new book be about?

I have his Under The Dome in my Kindle, too, snapped up one day when it was 99p. Just haven't managed to get interested in the improbable premise yet.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Mon 17-Feb-14 20:35:30

I was a big sci fi/fantasy fan in my youth, moorcock, Bradbury, Aldiss Azimov. Grew up, went onto modern classics, then hard boiled crime, now all sorts.

Here you go, Cote. Mr Mercedes

I liked, 'Under The Dome' a lot - apart from the really stupid 'revelation' at the end.

What hard boiled crime is good, other than Chandler (who is brilliant)?

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 20:40:29

That looks interesting! Thanks, Remus.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Mon 17-Feb-14 20:50:31

try these Look out for the Serpents Tail and No Exit imprints in second hand and charity shops. They might be on kindle etc too.

Brilliant - thank you. smile

CoteDAzur Mon 17-Feb-14 20:53:01

Does "hard boiled" in a literary context mean "written at least 50 years ago", then?

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