When Reading Tastes Evolve

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I started this blog thinking that I’d mostly review young adult and fantasy books since that’s what I was into. So that’s what ended up as a tagline on my blogging business card, “young adult and fantasy reviews.” But now that I think about it, I believe that’s not applicable anymore. I read all sorts of genre fiction now – still yes to YA, fantasy and fairy tale retellings, a little bit of sci-fi, a couple of historical fiction books, some magic realism, a lot of chick lit and contemporary romance and so on. It took a while for me to discover that I loved YA and fantasy because I just read whatever book was handy or I based my choices on recommendations from random friends. It’s funny because I even told a friend that it’s kind of like dating, you “go out” with some books to see if it will work out and eventually you build relationships with those which seem promising. Some of them remain favorites for the rest of your life. Whenever people say that they don’t like reading, I always reply that maybe it’s because they just haven’t found the genre that they like.

Anyway, once I found out my preferences, I thought I’d stick with that. But since I discovered book blogs and found bloggers to trust, those who seem to like the same kind of books that I do, I’ve read books that I normally wouldn’t have encountered if not for reviews in the blogosphere. Whenever a trusted blogger writes a persuasive review or raves about a book that looks really interesting, I feel the urge to read it as soon as I can. I’ve found some hidden gems because of these recommendations and the process has made my reading choices more varied. This doesn’t mean that I’ve loved all of the books that I’ve read because of recommendations, we can’t all like the same books after all. However, I still think it’s a good thing that I’m more willing to try out other genres now than before. I guess it helps that I’m more aware of what’s out there. Some friends have even asked me, “where do you even find out about the books that you read?” Why, the magical world of book blogging, of course. I can definitely say that my reading experience has become richer since I started this blog.

I’m wondering if it’s the same for the rest of you and you don’t have to be a book blogger to answer these questions, I’m curious even if you’re usually just a lurker. Have you guys read books that don’t fall under your comfort genres because they were recommended by someone you trust? How has the blogosphere affected your reading choices in general? I also have questions to those who follow my blog – are you a follower because you feel like we have similar tastes in books? What are the genres that you watch out for in my reviews?

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28 thoughts on “When Reading Tastes Evolve

  1. I follow lots of bloggers with varied reading tastes that only occasionally match my own, and I’ve read SO MANY new books that I would not have tried previously. And have found some new favorite authors that I would have previously ignored.

    • Yep, it’s amazing how much you can discover by just following book blogs. I like being aware of what’s out there and I feel like reviews help me decide whether I should purchase a book or not. Like I said, I think it’s great that I’ve discovered books and authors that I normally wouldn’t have known about if not for the blogosphere.

  2. I like to follow your blog because we have similar tastes in the books we share, but you also introduce me to new books and authors. It gets repetitive to sometimes see the same titles covered over and over so I like to shake it up by following bloggers with a different perspective.
    I’m definitely open to try new books, authors, or genres via a trusted bloggers recommendation.
    Great discussion post!

    • I know what you mean. That’s why I enjoy featuring older titles because sometimes, it seems like only new releases are reviewed in most book blogs. I like promoting well-written under-the-radar books because I feel bad when they don’t get the attention that they deserve.

      Thanks for participating!

  3. Oh my reading taste definitely evolved. If I remember it correctly, I started with middle grade series books (Sweet Valley), then a bit of Sci-fi (Animorphs), then I read a bit more literary fiction (and I was unbearably slow with it). Then I went for strictly Christian fiction which was kind of hard since there aren’t a lot of that here. I even spent some time reading only non-fiction/self-help. Then I finally discovered YA, but first I was more on contemporary and almost no fantasy. If it wasn’t for my fantasy challenge last year, I don’t think I would have discovered a lot of good fantasy books.

    Now like you, my reading taste is so varied. I’m pretty much willing to try anything that other people I know and trust say it’s good, even if it’s not really the type I would pick out by myself. And yes, I don’t always like it, but there are some that has left me pleasantly surprised. It helps to be open in reading because you never know what you’ll find with the millions of books out there. πŸ™‚

    • I think most girls our age went through the Sweet Valley-Babysitters Club stage. πŸ˜› I read literary fiction when I was in college too and was really slow with it. I read a couple of fantasy books in our school library when I was in grade school and I discovered Narnia, LOTR and Harry Potter in high school. But it wasn’t until I started working and Fully Booked opened its branches that I really got into fantasy.

      It’s funny how we switched – I didn’t read a lot of contemporary YA before and mostly focused on fantasy but now I like mixing it up. I agree with what you said – it really helps to be more open about reading books from other genres because you never know what you might discover.

  4. Yes, definitely! I read anything I could my hands on as a kid, then when I got into my teens I read a lot of classics. In college, I found fantasy and started reading a lot of that. That was just about all I read when I started my blog.

    Then I started blogging and discovered a lot of blogs that read some fantasy but also a lot of YA fantasy and science fiction. Now I’ve found I also love those genres as well as some urban fantasy. Book blogs have definitely gotten me to branch out more on the types of books I read!

    • I had a classics phase when I was in my teens too! Maybe because those books were readily available and I had no idea what else was out there.

      I love that you have more varied reading choices now but they’re still fantasy, it’s fitting for the name of your blog. πŸ™‚ You’re right though, there are so many subgenres under fantasy and I like exploring all of them. I used to think I only liked YA epic fantasy – I wasn’t a fan of urban fantasy until I found out about the Kate Daniels series through the blogs that I follow. Now I’m more curious about the genre.

  5. here, here! I think mine is worse than you. πŸ™‚ I used to read only Anne Rice’s books but soon got tired of them so I stopped reading (except for book report purposes and HP books). Then found my way to books again with YA. And recently, I’ve been reading classics which I did not like before. Not because they’re boring but because I was afraid I’d pick up a book that I wouldn’t really like. πŸ™‚

    • I remember reading Anne Rice’s books back when it was really popular but I wasn’t really a fan. You shouldn’t be afraid about not liking some of the books that you read, I think that’s just normal. Even if they’re classics and so many people have loved them. Like I said, it’s just a matter of finding the right book or genre for you.

  6. I absolutely agree. Tastes do evolve over time.
    I used to not like supernatural/fantasy/paranormal books, but once I got into it (thanks to twilight) it has become my go-to genre.
    If a book was recommended by someone I trust I would definitely give it a try even if it was in an unfamiliar genre. I would also “date” books of other genres if the subject matter or the summary piques my interest.
    I follow you for YA recs because I don’t get a lot of YA recs from my friends.

    • I’ve always been a fan of fantasy but the more books I read under that genre, the more I found out about what works for me and what doesn’t. I still love epic fantasy and I think that will never change but I try to stay away from YA paranormal romance.

      Thanks for answering my question! I have a feeling that majority of my followers read my reviews looking for YA recs because it’s such a popular genre nowadays.

  7. I feel like my interests have widened and I’ve become less judgmental about books since following other bloggers. I also really enjoy being around people that are passionate about reading so the blogosphere really fulfills that for me. I for one, really enjoy just talking to you about anything and everything. I have been so lax about reading blogs for the entire year due to some life changes, but I hope to get back to reading your blog on a regular basis. We still need to talk about Magic Slays! I don’t know if I’ll review it or not. I haven’t been reviewing on my blog. Have just been making an effort to get back into reading at this point.

    Keep up the wonderful work on your blog. You are one of the most awesome bloggers out there!

    • Carin, I remember you said before that you don’t like reading YA books and I think you even had a discussion post for it? And then we realized that we have different definitions for YA – Ender’s Game is YA for most people but you said that you didn’t think that’s true. I know what you mean about being around passionate readers, that’s one of the reasons why bloggers are so persuasive – you can really see how much they love a book based on what they say about it.

      Yay, I’m delighted that you want to go back to blogging and following other bloggers although I’m not requiring you to read or comment on my posts. I’m just grateful when you do. πŸ™‚ We can talk about what you thought of Magic Slays on Twitter or Goodreads if you’re not planning to post a review.

  8. Hi Chachic! Contemporary (YA, romance) and chick-lits, women’s fiction….these are some genres that I don’t normally go for. I remember my teenage cousin asking (more like forcing) me to read a contemporary YA book of hers as I wrinkled my nose at it. She said “You’re not gonna die!” and she’s right, I’m not gonna die πŸ˜› In fact, I’ve just made a post about how I decided to do some contemporary reads and was surprised in a good way, at the book I picked/read. Sometimes it’s really worth it to try genres you’re not normally accustomed to, they just might surprise you.

    Yes, a lot of my reading choices are influenced by the blogs I read and I am a fan of your blog because you do come up with great posts like this one and you are also a fantasy fan. Although lately you’ve been doing more contemporary. But as I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been easing my way into that genre and have taken note of Marchetta, Moriarty..right?

    • Hey, you’re right! πŸ˜› I looked back on my reviews and noticed that I’ve mostly been posting about contemporary reads lately. I usually try to mix up the genres that I read so I won’t get fed up when I stick to just one but there are also times when I want to stay immersed in one genre for a while. I think that happened with the women’s fiction books that I’ve been reading.

      I’m glad you’re more open to reading contemporary YA nowadays. I used to be like you until I read Jellicoe Road and Going Too Far last year. After that, I realized that there are so many wonderful contemporary YA reads out there. Yes to both Marchetta and Moriarty. πŸ™‚ You might want to take note of Stephanie Perkins, John Green and Hannah Harrington as well.

  9. i love this post chachic

    my tastes have evolved too. now that i am finding books i love, i have noticed that books i used to think were good are not very good for me any more. (well, i think i liked them, but, now, comparatively, they are not as good. if you get what i mean πŸ˜‰

    also, since blogging, i find i am reading a lot more YA. i used to read pretty much 50/50 YA to adult.

    i am also coming out of my comfort zone a lot more and trying books in genres i didn’t used to read. so far, it’s working out great πŸ˜€

    • I get what you mean about not liking books that you used to love. I haven’t had the chance to reread some of my favorites because of the huge TBR pile but I’ve taken out some books from my list of favorites because I can’t remember the details about them anymore. So I agree with what you said.

      Oh wow, really? I think I started following your blog because I noticed that you review a lot of YA books. I didn’t realize that you weren’t a big YA reader before. I know you’re also trying out fantasy since you don’t read a lot of books in that genre and I hope it works out for you. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see what you think of The Queen of Attolia.

  10. Since joining Goodreads (which lead me onto blogs which lead me to even more books…) I’ve read so many more books then I would have. I’m a pretty stubborn reader and although I wouldn’t say I was ever limited in the kinds of books I read (Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Crime, Literary here and there) it just took me so long to reach for the next branch on the tree. Now I’m tree-hopping like a chimpanzee.

    What I love about the online book world is that it’s global. In real life – offline life, whatever you wanna call it – you’re so limited usually to your own social circle. Or even if you join an in-person book group it’s still just a small circle. Online you can talk to, and read the opinions of people from all walks of life and from all around the globe. It brings hundreds and thousands of readers to one place – and makes reading a social thing, which it often isn’t seen as. Personally, reading is the most social thing you can do because it teaches you about life, and living and people and places and it does help people socially. Readers are much more socially aware because we have opened our minds. And when you experience book blogs and other forms of social media centred around books, your experience of this is just ten fold.

    You know I love this subject of how book blogs and the internet in general helps expand our horizons and bring people together.

    The only downside actually to all this is that I used to read a lot of YA as well as other fiction… but nowadays my YA consumption has gone right down. Not because I’ve gone of it, but because there’s just so many other books to read out there as well. There is just so many. My physical TBR has doubled in size (and it was pretty hefty to begin with) and I’m reading a wider variety of books then I ever would.

    Many books have always been on the back burner – you know classics – and then suddenly I’m reading more of them. The online book community has really fired up my passion for reading more then anything else. It’s brought me to new books, made me less of a coward and opened up so many new doors. I’ve met some fantastic people and I’ve learnt so much more about what is out there.

    Sometimes books aren’t always available easily in the UK – maybe they’re not published over here yet so otherwise I’d never have heard of them. One example is just recently – I read The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. I’d never have read that without recommendation from an American friend as it isn’t available in the UK.

    My book buying has changed a lot too. Now when I’m in a book shop all these titles and authors pop out at me like never before. Instead of aimlessly looking around I see familiar titles, familiar authors on every shelf. I find myself hunting down recommendations and having a more informed – then purely whimsical – choice of books.

    Before, if I bought a book online it was because I had seen it in a bookshop it was an author I’d already read and couldn’t find the rest in the shop… now I have this whole list of books and authors in my head to look up and consider. I can check out better reviews whereas before I relied on Amazon reviewers.

    Anyway, where was I… Carin brought me over to your blog. And she’ll tell you that I’m an Olympian rambler when it comes to getting distracted with my own replies. I just love thinking about how my book tastes have evolved and all the people that I’ve met online who have been part of this.

    • Oh wow, Fiona, what a lengthy comment! I think you can make your own blog post with everything that you said. LOL. I love what you said about the online book world being global. So many of my blog friends are based in other countries and even though I’ve never met them in person, I feel like we’ve developed friendships through blog comments, Twitter messages, etc. When I started blogging, a lot of people were surprised to discover that I’m based in the Philippines and that I mostly read and review foreign books. Now, people are more used to the idea since Filipino book bloggers have started popping up here and there.

      Looks like we went through the same thing – mostly reading YA before starting the blog and then expanding our horizons as we discover books to love in other genres. I totally understand what you’re saying when it comes to the TBR pile – it has been my goal this year to lessen the number in mine to less than a hundred but I haven’t been sucessful so far. I’m more careful about the books that I buy though and only get the ones that I can read right away.

      Have you tried ordering books from The Book Depository? I’m sure you have a better selection of books there in the UK than here in the Philippines. That’s why I love that some online bookstores have free international shipping because otherwise, I’d just end up frustrated that I can’t get the books that I want. I can understand where you’re coming from, I’ve read books that are not even available here and found ways to get them (like asking friends coming home from other countries like Australia to buy books for me or ordering books straight from the author).

      Yep, I love how I can just log in to Goodreads and see what my friends are saying about books instead of manually searching and checking out Amazon. Goodreads friends’ opinions are much more reliable too.

  11. Good analogy Chachic with the books and dating. Books and dating are very similar. And I agree with the fact that when people say they don’t like reading, they probably just haven’t found “the one” genre that peaks their interest. And when people say that, we should ask “Don’t like to read what?” Because if you think about it we are reading every minute of the day; emails, letters, books,magazines, comic books, newspapers, ebooks, maps, instructions, etc.

    When I was in high school, I liked to read but I was very pick about what I read. I was in the middle of searching for a genre I liked. The more books I read, the narrower my search got until I finally found the genres and authors I liked. When I got to college, thats where I become a bookaholic. I started off mainly reading lesbian romance novels because I myself am a lesbian. Then I eventually branched out to other genres and authors and finding favorites along the way.

    • You’re absolutely right, we do read everyday. I think most jobs involve reading something on a daily basis. Reading for pleasure is really just a matter of finding what works for you and what doesn’t. That’s why readers need to explore and try out different books before they can decide what they like so yes, I think that most people need to go through the selection process that you described – read and read until your search becomes narrower. Hey, I recently read and reviewed Pink by Lili Wilkinson, I think you might like it. πŸ™‚

  12. Love this post. I agree with everything you said, including how your taste has changed. I feel like mine has changed in almost the exact same way. I guess we just might influence each other and of course there’s this blogger named Angie too that may have something to do with it. πŸ™‚

    • Holly, you’ve definitely influenced my reading the choices for the past year or so. I’ve read so many books that you’ve recommended. And I agree that there’s this girl named Angie who keeps pushing books that I can’t help but read. πŸ˜›

  13. I’ve always been pretty open-minded when it comes to different genres of books. And now, more than ever, I’m paying very close attention as to why bloggers love particular books. And this is where blogs like yours are set apart from the blogger brigade. You’re incredibly articulate when it comes to explaining why you like or dislike certain aspects of a novel. And so after comparing our Goodreads books or seeing what you like and dislike about a particular novel, I can how our interests are similar. I trust you as a reviewer to give me your honest opinion without yelling IT’S AWESOME READ IT all over your blog posts.

    I don’t look out for any particular genres when you write your reviews, either.

    As far as affecting my reading tastes in general, I’m also hypersensitive to the hype monster. I’ve come to have a knee-jerk reaction to the hype monster, and have pared my “trusted bloggers” list down to only a few, because I’ve been left wanting after one too many books have not lived up to their hype.

    • LOL at the “blogger brigade” but I totally understand. I feel the same way, I love bloggers who explain why they loved a book or why it didn’t work out for them without going all LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BUT IT NOW or HATE IT WANT TO BURN THE BOOK. I’m flattered you think that my blog is one of the articulate ones. πŸ™‚

      I’m not a fan of the hype that some books get unless they come highly recommended by my trusted bloggers. Like you, I only have a couple of trusted ones who can really convince me to read books with just one review. Sometimes it’s a good thing that US bloggers get review copies before we do because I have a better knowledge of what I should or shouldn’t read.

Comments are like chocolate. :) Maraming salamat / thank you! I try my best to reply to all the comments on my blog.

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