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
This 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
When 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
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
I 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?