T10T: Changes In My Reading Life

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Changes In My Reading Life.

Maybe you like different genres or topics, maybe you read faster than you used to, maybe you only like standalones now.

This is a topic I’ve talked about a little in various posts, which I’ll be linking where relevant.

I’m Reading Less Fantasy

29774026This is probably the main one. I’ve talked more in-depth about it in my post “Am I Falling Out of Love With Fantasy?“, but the TL;DR is that I’ve probably read too much of it, especially in the YA section, and that it’s really hard to surprise me at the moment. However, I’m still really liking contemporary fantasy, weird speculative fiction with fantasy elements, and urban fantasy a lot. It’s just high/second-world fantasy I’m struggling with, as I went from reading almost only that (in 2016) to reading not a lot of it this year and not loving most of what I read.

I’m of course all for recommendations if you think there’s something really unique out there that I’m ignoring – like I’m ignoring The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon when I probably really shouldn’t, it sounds exactly like the kind of book I’d love, length aside. (Please don’t recommend me Brandon Sanderson.) I want to go back to loving this genre.

My favorite fantasy books are basically everything in the Grishaverse (except King of Scars because I haven’t read it yet), Uprooted, Strange the Dreamer, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Red Sister (only the first book).

Adult Sci-fi Might Be My Favorite Genre

2016 me would think this was a joke. I thought I hated sci-fi, and the only book I liked in that genre was Illuminae, because of the format and not because of the actual story, which if told like a normal novel would have been just ok. Then I tried adult sci-fi, and  discovered that everything I thought about sci-fi as a whole was wrong. It has so much potential and it’s often as weird and unnecessarily complicated as I like it.

Is it weird to have a favorite genre you almost never reach for? Because most of the time, I don’t have the energy to keep up with this kind of books – but when I do, I love them so much that since 2017, they always end up taking up the first spots in my lists of favorite books of the year, without exceptions.

My favorite adult sci-fi books are Ninefox Gambit (my favorite book), A Memory Called Empire, Ancestral Night, The Stars Are Legion and Ancillary Justice.

I’m Less and More Picky at the Same Time

As my reading taste evolve, so does the way I review; I once might have minded not having a well-defined magic system, but as of now, if a fantasy story (especially a contemporary fantasy story) doesn’t need one, I probably won’t care. For example, the worldbuilding and magic system in The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh was messy and not well-explained, but the story mattered to me for completely other reasons, so I gave it five stars anyway. I’m also less annoyed by predictable stories if I liked the direction they went in, didn’t completely rely on the twist, and if everything in the story was interesting anyway.

At the same time, I’m far more likely to find a story completely uninteresting because I’ve seen it all already and it was better before, and I’m far more likely to notice if a book doesn’t seem to know where it’s going; I have higher standards for the writing as well. I also have a lot less patience for badly written straight romances and I DNF easily.

I’ve talked a little more about how the way I see and review books has changed during the years in my post On Ratings and Being Critical.

I Don’t Mind Popularly Hated Tropes

26837046When I started reviewing, in 2015, love triangles were everywhere in YA, and pretty much everyone hated them and also acted like that somehow was an unpopular opinion. I hated them too; I thought that love triangles and the “instalove trope” and the chosen one had to be a sign of bad writing if everyone hated them… right?

I understood nothing, but I was also 15.

I’ve since discovered that just because YA overused the “straight white girl falls in love with two boys who hate each other” version of the love triangle, it doesn’t mean that this trope is dead; it has so much potential, and I love when I find same-gender love triangles (The Stars Are Legion, A Line in the Dark), all-PoC love triangles (The Beautiful), love triangles that end in polyamory (Strange Grace) and all kind of unusual configurations (Three Sides of a Heart); and they’re usually there for a reason that isn’t “it’s popular in YA right now”.

About the chosen one trope, I don’t mind it, especially diverse takes on it, and about instalove, I don’t think it’s a trope at all; it’s not a trope if people can’t even agree if it’s actually there. Most of the time, the reviewer just didn’t connect with the romance. I talk more about it in “What I Think of Instalove as a Trope“.

I’m a Slower Reader Than Before

I’m not in high school anymore and it shows.

This kind of makes me sad, because I feel like I’m missing out sometimes, but at the same time, it is what it is and I can’t do much to change it. More than anything, I should get better at prioritizing which kinds of books I actually want to read, and I’m not quite there yet.

I Prefer Standalones

40382231._sy475_Is 2016 me laughing? She probably is.

I mostly don’t have the patience for series, and I often don’t feel like books that are series needed to be series at all; most series I’ve liked in the last two years have been companion series. I just… there are very few books for which I care enough to read the sequel, and the sequels of those books often disappoint me (as Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan did, very recently), so what’s the point?

Some sequels on my TBR I’m hesitantly hopeful about are The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee, Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova (companion series are the best), The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore (companions for the win), Stormsong by C.L. Polk (guess what this one is? Yes again) and The Damned by Renée Ahdieh.

I Avoid Anthologies

The more time goes on, the less I’m interested in them. Not because I don’t like them – some anthologies are really important to me and some changed my life – but because I can’t justify buying them to myself when there is so much great free short fiction online already. Then I don’t read that short fiction either because I barely have time to read anymore and I want to spend that time reading books.

I know, it doesn’t really make sense, and this is actually something I’d love to change. I’ll keep being picky about anthologies but I do want to read them.

I Try to Branch Out More

I even have a series of post dedicated to this, “Out of My Comfort Zone“, to make myself read genres (or formats) I wouldn’t otherwise read. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s great.

This way, I discovered that I do like graphic novels (and I reach for them a little more), that I probably don’t care that much for adult contemporary thrillers, and that I can love historical romance if it’s gay.

Some genres I want to try next are memoirs, adult contemporary fiction, and contemporary middle grade, all of which will probably happen next year.

I’m Trying to Read Less ARCs

32970644I don’t know when I will put this one into motion, as I still have overdue ARCs and ARCs coming out in the next few months from before I decided I didn’t want to read so many of them.

It’s just that reading with a deadline can be really unenjoyable, and I don’t want that for me, as I read to have fun, and a lot of books I request as ARCs are books I’m curious about that aren’t actually priorities for me and I don’t even want to prioritize them. (No wonder I end up DNFing so many of them.)

Some ARCs I’m going to read before next year (if everything goes according to plan) are Loveboat, Taipei and Lady Hostpur; I’m really excited about both, even though the second one is really intimidating. Pulp by Robin Talley is one of my overdue ARCs, and I kind of lost interest in this one.

I’m Not Sure What’s To Come

I once thought there was no way my favorite genre could change. Now I know that wasn’t true, and I don’t know how my reading habits will look like in a few years (will I still be reviewing then?)

I’m not sure if I will still be reading YA; that’s probably going to be less and less common as the years go on, but I might be wrong. I’m not sure if I will be still reading primarily SFF; maybe I’ll prefer contemporary fiction, or even nonfiction, which looks absurd to me now, but so was sci-fi a few years ago.

Anyway, I hope I’m able to keep finding many books I love.

Have you had similar experiences?


24 thoughts on “T10T: Changes In My Reading Life

  1. Great list! I’ve only rediscovered my love of high fantasy over the past year or so, so if you feel yourself not reaching for it all I can really say is to embrace it. I’ve had a wonderful time rediscovering the genre now that I’m in the mood for it again, but when I wasn’t in the mood for it I read some amazing books in other genres. 🙂 (The Priory of the Orange Tree is one I still need to get to, though!)

    Have you read Nevernight? I haven’t read it yet myself, but considering it’s about a girl learning to kill for a living you might be into it if you enjoyed Red Sister.

    I really like what you said about popular tropes. I’ve always said I don’t like love triangles, and they really aren’t my favourite thing, but when I think about it pretty much all of the love triangles I’ve read have been between a hetero girl and two hetero boys and it’s boring. I’d love to read some different takes on the trope – especially one that ends in polyamory! I think the only polyamorous relationship I’ve come across is in The Fifth Season (which I would also highly recommend if you haven’t read it!) and it was so refreshing to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really hope I’ll be able to get into this genre again like you did, eventually.

      I have read both Nevernight and The Fifth Season this year and they didn’t work for me – Nevernight because it was “Italian-inspired” and badly; The Fifth Season because grimdark is really not for me, which is unfortunate seeing how much adult fantasy leans towards that currently. But I did love that there was polyamory in it, as well – for a genre that was full of love triangles, in fantasy there’s surprisingly little representation of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’m more forgiving of predictable stories as well because if you read as much as we do, you’re bound to pick up on certain tropes faster. Also, if you’re reading more diversely, odds are you are seeing tropes in these books that are familiar, but that shouldn’t necessarily detract from the novelty of seeing a character of color star in these types of books. If that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, it makes sense – I think so many of the tropes that are “overused” actually aren’t (or, are only for white people, often allocishet abled white people), and diverse takes on familiar tropes have so much value to them. It’s the kind of story that can feel both familiar and new at the same time.


  3. I really resonated with your point about being less and more picky at the same time… I don’t mind predictability at all as long as I can feel a deep connection… I think I’ve just come to appreciate the authors giving their characters time to breathe and just flesh them out well so that we can feel like we know them well…

    I still haven’t lost my interest in fantasy though… it only seems to increase for me 😜😜 I just want to try more adult fantasy though…
    and just to not miss out, I wanna try Sanderson but I already abandoned one book of his and I don’t know when I’ll continue again..

    I still love my ARCs too.. but I’ve learnt to be less impulsive and request less, and don’t stress myself out too much if I can’t meet the deadline…

    And I’m so happy you included Three Sides of a Heart.. not many have read it and I think it has some great stories… and I love a well written triangle or insta love story 😜😜😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, should I learn to do that with ARCs…
      I tried only one book by Sanderson and wasn’t impressed either. Maybe the others really are better, but there are so many other authors I’d rather read.
      And yes, if there’s a connection – to the characters, to the themes – I can forgive a lot of things as well. I’d rather read a well-fleshed-out predictable story than an unpredictable one that only relies on surprising the reader.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll probably give one more chance to Sanderson and hope I can feel the magic.. but I agree, too many other authors to read…
        And completely agree with your last point… books that rely only on surprises and shocks put me off… I need some foreshadowing…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lately I’m also definitely trying to branch out more, and not limit myself to a certain type of book! And I’m so happy I’m doing that, since I’m finding a lot of books I’m enjoying that I would not have expected!
    Great list!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really interesting! I also find myself having less patience for series, especially when all the books aren’t out yet and I have to wait years in between and forget everything. It’s so much commitment. And I’ve also realized that “cliche” tropes can be made awesome if the author has a unique take on it. Such as a polyamorous end to a love triangle! That sounds amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since I ended up reading a lot of ARCs in these last two years, I often find myself reading the first book more than a year before the sequel’s release, and… yes, by the time the sequel comes out, I’ve lost interest as well.
      And yes, more polyamory! For something that was full of love triangles until a few years ago, we’ve seen so little polyamory in YA.


  6. Such a great, in-depth post! 🥰 I definitely feel myself picking up fewer Arcs. This is mainly a side effect of the Netgalley restrictions, but also because it’s so much more relaxing to only have few Arcs to attend to and not a huge stack – the deadline can really make me stressed. But I’m still really glad that I got an Arc of The Electric Heir, I’m really looking forward to that as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I related with so many of your points! Especially requesting less ARCs. I’m gonna try not to request as many when I’m done with my current stack. You’re right, it’s not as much fun to read with a deadline looming. I also haven’t had time to reread, which is something I miss a lot. Great post!

    Here’s my off-topic TTT!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been meaning to catch up on a lot of your posts and I relate to SO many points in this Top 10 Tuesday: My goal is to get into more adult sci-fi & read more SFF from my TBR. I also agree 100% on the being less/more picky at the same time about books, I’ve been thinking about that more near the end of 2019 setting up my TBR and catching up on my backlist + YES to being a slower reader, that’s SO me and its kind of frustrating b/c there’s so many books I want to read/review while life hasn’t gotten too busy yet! Happy 2020 Acqua 📚✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s so much out there that sounds amazing and new and… constantly feeling like one can’t keep up really does get frustrating. I try to keep my TBR small and that helps a little.
      Happy 2020 too you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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