Thursday, 5 June 2008

Booking Through Thursday

This week's BTT:

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?

There are a few phases in my reading life that I should define and I suspect that, as usual, I am going to take this question a little too seriously!

As a child, I was famed for reading literally anything I could get my hands on. We lived in Tanzania until I was eleven so it was sometimes hard to get hold of books to read and my mother used to buy a stash of second hand books to ration out to me on a regular basis. Birthdays and Christmas gifts were always books - heaps and heaps of them - and even now that I am a proper grown-up, my whole family sigh as they discover all that I really want are more books!

In my teens I had a small degree of financial security, in the form of my quarterly allowance, so could buy my own books. This meant that I read a lot of (groan) Mills and Boon type books which I bought in bulk from a second hand book stall on the market. I also bought plenty of historical novels by Jean Plaidy, Roberta Gellis, Georgette Heyer, Catherine Cookson, etc. I remember that I adored Emma Drummond, Jilly Cooper, MM Kaye and Janet Dailey (again all second hand) so I clearly was a reader of discriminating tastes. The other type of book I bought when I was in my teens (and at least this genre has proved of benefit in later life!) was piles and piles of the "classics" as you could buy them new for £1 each after the launch of the Wordsworth Classics! I didn't read modern fiction at all unless it was something that I borrowed from friends or my parents as I just couldn't afford the investment. I also didn't really know where to start.

Thankfully I then went to university and started to mix with people who read - gasp! - modern books and I got introduced to SFF (Sci-Fi and Fantasy). That's probably when I started to revert to my childhood habit of reading pretty much anything that took my fancy and I could happily read Michael Moorcock and Jane Austen back to back. I also developed a habit of going into bookshops and whimsically deciding that I was going to buy, for example, six books with brown covers or books with flowers in their title. A great way of finding new authors though and I "discovered" some really interesting reads in this way.

These days what I buy is nearly always based on seeing something interesting I've seen on a blog or because I want to read more by an author I have enjoyed in the past. I don't mind what genre a book belongs to and I don't really mind when it was written or what it's about. I'll happily read fiction or non-fiction and I like a book that makes me think! Which, having refreshed my memory of my teenage reading habits, is a clear change for the better!!

EDIT: I just spoke to my mother and asked why she didn't take control of my awful reading tastes in my teens. She says 1) she didn't feel it was right to censor my choice of books and 2) she thought if I read enough trash I'd over-indulge myself and move onto "better" books in later years. She was so right!


Anonymous said...

I hope I have as much wisdom with my kids as your mother had! Thanks for this response.

Maree said...

My mother was similar _ she refused to censor my reading, which was great. :)

Chrisbookarama said...

My reading was similar because of funds in my teens. You could get Harlequins by the bagful at flea markets. I still love Wordsworth Classics!

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

That's funny--I was just wondering on my BTT post why my mother let me read some of the trash that I did! I'll have to ask her if she knew what I was reading!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

I did the same as you did reflective account of how my life affected the books I got access to